The day the dragon met the Beatles

Chinese dragon, Beatles, John and Paul
Xiaolong the dragon meet the Beatles (illustration by Helen Robertshaw, aged 14)

Xiaolong had lived in the Tower of London for nearly 900 years by the start of the 1960s, and he had settled down (don’t forget that 100 human years is only about 18 months to a dragon) and was enjoying life in the City. He had his mouse friends and the ravens, and he was meeting important people. Some were powerful and aristocratic, some were just famous and came for a special visit.

Oh, by the way, did I tell you Xiaolong wrote a pop song? There was this time – 1963, I think? – Xiaolong was in the old chapel, singing to George and some other mice, and Hobbes the kitchen cat. Xiaolong was singing his favourite Chinese dragon song. It was about a dragon called Lu Qi who was famous for his flashing eyes. I can’t remember what it was called, but the chorus went: ‘Lu Qi’s in the skies with diamond eyes’.

Anyway, at the end of the song someone started clapping. All the mice ran away and hid, Hobbs jumped on to a window sill, and Xiaolong looked a bit startled. Four humans appeared, still clapping. They didn’t seem at all surprised that Xiaolong was a dragon.

‘That was fab, la,’ said one. ‘Amazing, in fact. I didn’t know dragons could sing. My name’s John, by the way, and these are my mates, Paul, Ringo and George.’

Xiaolong changed into his blue-eyed human shape, bowed to the four young men and introduced himself.

‘That’s cool, man. What a great outfit,’ said Paul. Xiaolong bowed again.

‘What was that song, mate?’ asked John. ‘Only we’re in a band, you see, and we’d like to sing it. What was it – Lucy in the sky..?’

‘Lu Qi is in the skies with diamond eyes,’ said Xiaolong.

‘Could we sing it?’ said Paul. ‘We’d pay you, like.’

Xiaolong bowed again. ‘I have no use for money. You are most welcome,’  he said. And a few years later a song called ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ was a big hit for the Beatles and not many people understood what the words meant, but that was OK because – as you know – dragons write mysterious poems, but it was a great song anyway.