New Treasures

There was a buzz of excitement in the dragon’s lair. A large number of humans dressed in puffy white jackets and thick black trousers were gathered around the sleeping dragon. A man in an orange suit, wearing a helmet, and protective goggles, used a long metal rod to poke the silver dragon.

The dragon stirred. Its tail swished from side to side, and the humans surrounding it moved accordingly. The orange-suited man poked the dragon again. This time, the dragon opened its eyes and rose to its full height.

The dragon was large, and its body glittered in the lights the humans had set up. The dragon’s terrible red eyes met the orange-suited man’s gaze.

“Who are you, and why have you awakened me?” it growled.

“We are, dear dragon, the representatives of Microsoft,” said the orange-suited man.

“Microsoft? What of it? Have you come to kill me and take my wealth like those men of yore? If so, then let me warn you, nothing goes past me, nothing. I am the king of ice and snow, and I will freeze you to death if you do such a thing.”

“Dear dragon, the king of ice and snow, you misunderstand us. We aren’t here to take your gold or whatever treasures you possess. On the contrary, we are here to offer you wealth.”

The dragon laughed. And in doing so, a thick fog escaped its mouth.

“You will offer wealth, to me?” it said. “What wealth can you possibly offer, puny human? Here I have treasures from times you do not even know of. What wealth can there be that I do not have? Remember, all your currencies are just legal exchanges of gold. And I have plenty of gold, more than you could ever even dream of. So tell me, you puny humans, why shall I not punish you for your impudence?”

“Dear dragon, there is one thing I would like to ask you if you don’t mind?”

“Go on. But remember that I will allow only this one question.”

“One question would be enough, sir. So, here goes, how long have you been asleep?”

The dragon cocked his head to one side and thought for a while.

“I suppose it has been about fifty years now.”

“Okay, sir. Then let me tell you how the world has changed in these years. There now exist things more valuable than money, more desirable, more precious.”

“More precious than jewels and gold? More precious than ancient scrolls?”

“Yes, sir. More precious than anything.”

“What is it? What is there more precious than my treasures?”

“Information, sir. All of humanity is dying for it. People are afraid that their information might be taken from them, and still, others are bidding like lunatics for it.”

“And you say you can give me that? What for? Do you not value it enough? Why you say it is so very precious and then you give it to me without any struggle?”

“Consider it, kind sir, as a token of our gratitude, for we know you haven’t raided human dwellings for a long time. It is our gift to you.”

“Gifts? From humans? As if I were to accept something like that.”

“I insist, sir,” said the orange-suited man, and the dragon lay down again.

“Very well then, if you wish to squander your treasures like this, I shall not stop you. As it is, you’ve woken me up a hundred years too early. Your gifts would be considered an appropriate token of apology.”

The orange-suited man bowed, and so did the others who surrounded the dragon.

One by one, the men left the lair, went up to a ship and hauled big hauls of black boxes, one by one, using forklifts. Then they produced a wireline that they connected to the ship, which was to be moored there permanently.

Systematically, they assembled the boxes and connected them to the wireline. The boxes then buzzed and hummed in the dragon’s lair. They were heating, so the great dragon of ice and snow put a cooling charm over them. The fans stopped whirring, and the dragon looked pleased with his new treasures.

“We apologise again, sir, for our interference,” the orange-suited man said, and bowed, as did all his troops.

The dragon raised its head, sniffed, and turned to sleep. The men rejoiced, and left the lair, they used a fleet of motorboats moored alongside the ships and drove away. Inside the dragon’s lair, the lights on the black boxes flickered but no buzz escaped the machines.

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