About Sea Dragons

Sea dragons are just myths, right? Well, some of them are – and some of them aren’t. This section will explore both.We might even convince Nicker and the others to give us some interviews. The INSIDE story!

This is a carta marina, a map for mariners out sailing in the oceans. It shows the land masses, and way out there in the ocean, where ships would often disappear, there are sea dragons and other creatures drawn in. The sailors of the time would often come back with stories of seeing all sorts of unexplained things.

Maybe you’ve heard that Columbus was a hero because he sailed when everyone thought the Earth was flat. The truth is that few believed the Earth was flat for almost 2000 years before Columbus was even born. In 240 BC, a mathematician named Eratosthenes had even figured out how far it is around the Earth. He wasn’t exactly correct, but … well, YOU try to figure it out just by measuring some shadows.

Columbus and others knew that the world was round. They knew that if they sailed west far enough, they would find the East. What was between … that’s what nobody knew. Writing “We Don’t Know” on a big chunk of empty map didn’t seem like a good idea so … they drew monsters.

Besides, that was good for the sailors, too. Saying that they went to sea and got lost could make them seem silly. A better story was that those brave men were eaten by fierce monsters. After all, nobody knew what was out there, so … why not fierce monsters?

Helping that was sailors who came back with their own stories. Those who stayed on land hadn’t seen the fierce monsters, but the sailors had. At least those who didn’t get eaten could tell.

This was a time when there wasn’t a whole lot to do – other than survive. No television, no movies, no radio. Stories were the main entertainment. Even those sailors who hadn’t actually seen anything weird out there … boring months on the ship were filled with … you guessed it, stories.

Sailors came home with stories, and artists would draw them as “proof.”

This painting was based on reports from French sailors in the waters near Angola.

Sure, the sailors really did see weird things. But, along with no television, there were also few schools, and fewer books. The sailors knew all about masts and sails and ropes. They didn’t know much about the arpicthicus lutus or how it differed from the whipsodoodleus mactans. Then we got SO smart. Those sailors might know about masts and sails and ropes, but WE landlubbers knew the important stuff. WE knew about chickens and cows, and WE knew that of all the fish we caught in the local fishin’ hole, not a one had jaws or teeth that could eat an entire ship. Giant squid? HA!

The sailors were exaggerating, right? There were no giant squid because the biggest ones known were pretty small. Since then, however, squid have been found that are 50 feet long. Deeper in the water, other strange creatures exist. In 1938, a coelacanth (pronounced see-la-kanth) was found. It was thought to be extinct for about 100 million years, yet there it was. It has been called a “living fossil.”

Sightings of sea dragons come from all over the world.
The name means “near lizard” and is one of many sea-going creatures that once really did exist.

In 1977, a Japanese fishing ship caught what could be the carcass of a plesiosaur. There was, and is, no way to know for sure. They didn’t think to preserve what they caught. For them, it was just something unusual – and something in the way. Star Trek said that space is the final frontier. The truth is that we know more about outer space (which isn’t much) than we do of our own oceans. Giant squid are very real, not myth. The coelacanth exists, and not just as a fossil. They are alive. What else might be living in the deeps where we can’t see or go? And so we have Loch Ness from Scotland, Champie from Lake Champlain, Chessie from Chesapeake bay, Bunyip from Australia, Nahuelito from Argentina, Ogopogo from British Columbia … on and on from all over the world.

And then, one night, a young boy resting in his bed in Arizona felt something move. Whatever it was, it was shy. It peaked out with one eye, the way sea dragons are known to do sometimes. In some ways it looked like a snake. Then it talked. Well, we all know that snakes don’t talk. They might hiss and make other noises, but they don’t talk.

“YOU’RE A SEA DRAGON!” Danny said. The name, of course, was (and is) Nicker. You might think that his name comes from the nykur of Iceland. It’s true that the nykur is a water horse. And it’s true that Danny can ride Nicker. They are not the same.

I’ve asked both Danny and Nicker why he is called Nicker. The answer is the same. “That’s my/his name, of course.” I asked Emily. She said, “Because that’s his name.” Simon … well, he just growled a little because he was busy. Arful tried to answer but was swimming away so fast that all I got was, “His name is Nicker because ….” Then Arful was gone.

We know that Nicker might be getting less shy – or perhaps just less careful. He made a mess in the bedroom and when Danny’s Mom came to find out what the noise was all about, all she saw was the mess and Danny. In the grocery store, Nicker snuck in to be near Danny, and to see what was going on. Again he made quite a mess, then hid. Once again Danny was stuck with having to explain, “Well, Mom …. Uh … you see … it was this way.”

Nicker visited Lake Edie a couple years ago. He hid very well from Nana Edie and Danny, but that darned goose thought that Nicker was going to steal a bread crumb. The silly goose chased the sillier Nicker across Lake Edie. Also hiding in the water was Emily, to keep an eye on her boy. That goose learned fast that loud HWONKING might frighten a young sea dragon (or human), but doesn’t much impress an angry Mama sea dragon at all. He also learned how to mow down lake reeds, and learned what it felt like to be launched.

Well … you probably remember that story. The people who live there at Lake Edie sure do.

You also know that Nicker went back to Minneapolis, where he met the Lake Harriet Elf, and that from there he was off to France to visit with our new friend, Pierre, because Nicker loves cotton candy, and Pierre has cotton candy, and Pierre has ducks in a pond, and Nicker doesn’t much like geese, but he likes ducks and …

Somehow he snuck back to Minneapolis and to Lake Harriet. Lisa spotted him.

There’s no telling where Nicker will show up next. It could be in a lake, river or stream near you. Emily or Glicker might be near. Simon’s job is to patrol the waters all over the world. If what you see is moving very fast … hmmm, maybe you just almost saw Arful?

Here’s a secret not many know … but you do.

Sea dragons sometimes don’t need water. Sometimes they even come out onto a desert, like here in Arizona. Or sometimes, they slide in the snow of Michigan. You might find one on a roof at Christmas (we did). Sometimes they visit a cotton candy stand in France. Sometimes … sometimes, as with Danny, you might lift your pillow to find a sea dragon smiling, ready to play.


Welcome to Nicker Stories

Stay informed whenever a new issue is launched each month.
Sign up with your email below and never miss a new story again.

First Name
Email Address

There will be lots of new changes coming to Nicker Stories in the near future. Make sure you don’t miss out on anything.

Powered by WordPress Popup