The Monster on the Beach

Charli Mills has challenged her fellow bloggers to write about monsters (details here) This is my contribution, based on a child’s holiday.

It was the teeth that caught his attention, black and shiny. He bent and picked it up, looking closer he could see the shape of the jawbone.
His aunt, seated beneath a parasol called out,
“What have you found Ronald?”
He ran across the beach to show her.
“Oh, a fossil. Do you know what it is?”
He knew, had visited the museum and seen the great skeletons, it was an ichthyosaur.
That night as he lay in bed, the jaw dark beside him, a word crept into his mind, Dragon, and a name, a name of fear – Smaug!

At the beginning of the twentieth century J R R Tolkien, then a schoolboy, came on holiday to Lyme Regis in Dorset, long famous for its fossil rich cliffs, and found the jaw of an ichthyosaur. Though he knew perfectly well what it was, he labelled it ‘Dragons Jaw’ and kept it for the rest of his life.



Filed under Historical tales

7 responses to “The Monster on the Beach

  1. Excellent knew you could limit yourself

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One more reason to like Tolkien! I’ve added your summary as an Author’s Note as I think readers will be fascinated to learn what inspired this literary monster. Thanks, Gordon!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ha! Smaug. That is so cool. I know it’s flash fiction but this is a true story, I assume, from your endnote. ? Awesome. 🐲


    • Yes, this is a true story. Apparently Tolkien told it himself in a Christmas lecture he gave for children in the Oxford Natural History museum. Surrounded by skeletons of dinosaurs and other great reptiles he entranced his young audience with his lecture ‘Dragons I have known.’

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A brilliant piece of historical information. I live thirty minutes from Lyme Regis and have never heard this. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Where Monsters Lurk « Carrot Ranch Communications

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