Long, long ago, a man and his wife opened their door one day to find a spiny lizard abandoned on their doorstep. Moved to tears, they adopted him as their son, believing that this was the right thing for them to do. They named him Tuatara.
Although Tuatara grew healthy and strong in the security of his parents’ love, the peace that filled his heart was soon to be shattered. Gossip that began as a whisper grew louder, until he overheard someone say it was inappropriate for his parents to be raising him as one of their own. Even the children made fun of him behind his back. At first he tried to keep this to himself, but now and then a tear would slide down his face.
“What’s wrong, sweet pea,” said his mother shortly after he’d started school. “Why are you crying?”
Tuatara sniffled and rested his chin on his scaly forearms. “I’m ugly,” he said. “The other children laugh at me and tease me. I can’t run a three-legged race or kick a ball. I can’t even drink from the mountain spring without getting soaked. I hate myself! If only I’d been born a dragon.”
“Well,” said his mother pensively. “Why would you want to be a dragon?”