Who Doesn’t Love Puff?

I’m angrier than a cat without catnip over this next one, because I know not everyone will take it to heart and in fact I know someone will mock me for what I’m about to write.  But you know what?  Maybe I’m not angry.  Maybe I’m just touched by music. 

Music has the power to inspire, to entertain, to evoke emotion, doesn’t it?  There’s a little ditty by the name of Puff The Magic Dragon,from 1963.  This song has entertained several generations and it is indeed a beautiful song.

The song is about the loss of childhood innocence and nothing else.  It tells the story of a little boy who has adventures with a mighty dragon by the name of Puff, but one day he puts away childish things, leaving Puff alone and sad.

Puff represents our childhood and Jackie Paper, the child in question in this song, represents us and our childhood innocence.  As children, we have and do childish things, but there comes a time when we must abandon those things and move into our teens and our adulthood.

This whole song is beautiful to me, and it brings tears to my eyes every time, because it brings to mind my childhood.  Whenever I hear it, I remember my childhood teddy bear, named simply Brown Bear, and the adventures we had in my imagination.

One part of the song, though, that always nails me is:

“A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys.”

Wow, right?  Childhood memories do indeed live forever, but little boys (and girls) all grow up and no longer live.  At least that’s what I get out of it.

When I hear this song, I remember sitting in my grandmother’s home, watching the animated Puff the Magic Dragon television special that first aired in 1978.  I watched it in 1984 or so and even at that young age, I felt Puff’s pain when he and Jackie parted.

What a beautiful song.  And while it’s sad to picture such a mighty creature ambling off to his cave and, at first blush, seems to spend the rest of eternity in that cave as he never overcomes the pain over the loss of his “lifelong friend.”

But I have good news. There’s another verse, but it never made it into the song.  That verse was left in a typewriter and to this day has been lost.  That verse was part of a poem that a man wrote.  That poem evolved into the song that we all know and love.

In that verse, it is suggested, but never said outright, that Jackie found another friend.  This artwork emerged and through it, one can infer that Jackie’s daughter became friends with Puff and they went on to have adventures just like Puff and her father did.  That’s a touching end to the story, isn’t it?

There’s not much else that I can say other than if you haven’t heard this song yet, I highly suggest that you do listen to it. Hopefully, the song will touch you in a way that it has touched millions of children and adults all around the world.