The dragon and old father time (Westernization of A Chinese New Year Myth)
Once, it is said; long, long ago, New years Eve was not a time for celebration or joy but a time of great fear, panic and despair.
That is because, every year upon December the 31st, a giant dragon called Tiamat that, all year long, slept beneath the earth in a fiery pit of Hades, awoke like a mayfly for just one day.
And on that one day, the whole earth quaking and cracking, the monster would burst up from a hole in the ground like a geyser with a deafening roar and then the titanic beast, striding the world with its gigantic clawed feet would attack country after country, sweeping away villages, towns and cities with its collossal tail or burning them to ash with its infernal breath before devouring their inhabitance.
But the people who survived its attacks prayed to the gods for help and so, one year, they sent down Cronus, the old God of time, to do battle with the beast.
At first he arrived as an infant brought and abandoned by a flying stork upon the steps of one of his own temples but, no sooner had one of the priests, seeing a birthmark of olympus upon him, taken him in when he suddenly began to age, growing, in a handful of seconds, from a newborn to a toddler of 3 years old.
Unfortunately, Tiamat, discovering the plans of the gods from the demons that shared her underworld abode sent out 7 of her own python like children to the temple to kill the child.
But by the time the snakes had slithered up the temple steps and into the room where the young Cronus was, he had already become a boy of 10 and, leaping up and pulling down the hour hand and minute hand from a large clock on the temple wall, he used them as swords to kill and cut up each of the 7 hissing pythons into 24 pieces.
But then, placing the dismembered snakes onto his temples own altar he transformed them into a suit of armour, a shield with the moon and sun upon it and a scythe.
Then when, in a final growth spurt, he grew into a tall man with a long beard, he put on the armour and, picking up the scythe and shield, went out to face the giant dragon, Tiamat.
And leaping about like lightning or whirling like a tornado, the god of time was so swift that Tiamat, even with its many mouths and blazing breath couldn't touch him while he easily cut off scores of its heads
Unfortunately, just as with Tiamat's Lernaean cousin, the Hydra, everytime Cronos cut off one of its firebreathing heads with his scythe, three would grow back in its place until the creature had three hundred and sixty five firebreathing heads.
But then, as the hour of 12 was approaching and the people of the world were beginning to give up hope, suddenly old Cronos had an idea and, flying around the world as swiftly as only a god of time can he scattered stone seeds from which giant bell towers grew in an instant and handed out fireworks to everyone he saw, instructing people to ring the bells; let off the fireworks and to cheer and sing with joy as loudly as they could.
And then where ever the dragon turned he was confronted by the loud ringing of bells and the bright explosion of rockets and the sound of people singing and cheering.
And because the monster was a creature of darkness, made out of pure evil, it could not bear the sounds of human joy and so, its 365 heads exploding one by one, it crawled back to sleep within its pit under the Earth.
But following that day, fearing that the beast might someday return; every 31st of December the people of the Earth began to ring bells and let off fireworks, sing and cheer and even today, though the legend of the dragon and old father time are long forgotten, people still ring bells; let of fireworks, sing and cheer to welcome in New Years Day.