The Girl Who Heard Dragons 1996 UK

The Girl Who Heard Dragons is the first short story that appears in the collection of 15 stories with the same title. The stories were all written by Anne McCaffrey but this is the only one that is set in the Pern universe.

Plot Summary

Prior to the events of the story, Aramina's parents Dowell - a skilled woodsman - and Barla lived in Ruatha, but they fled when Lord Fax of High Reaches invaded, partly due to Dowell's refusal to hold under the usurping Lord Holder, and also because Barla was a relative of the deposed Lord Kale, and Lord Fax coveted her. By the time Fax died - killed in a duel with F'lar - Dowell and Barla were in Keroon, and had had three children, Aramina, Pell and Nexa. Dowell and Barla's plan to return to Ruatha was slowed by the onset of Thread, however, they discovered Aramina had the rare ability to hear dragons, which allowed her to warn them where they would be fighting Thread - and thus which areas would be unsafe.

A number of problems forced them to shelter in the Igen Caverns - home to a large number of Holdless folk - where Aramina's ability to hear dragons was discovered by Lady Holdless Thella, who attempted to recruit her to use the ability for their own nefarious purposes. Unwilling to work with Thella and unable to travel to Ruatha, Aramina's family decided to travel to nearby Lemos, where there are caves they can use for shelter.

When they reach Lemos, one of the wheels on their wagon becomes damaged. While Dowell goes to repair it, Aramina and Pell are sent to find a shelter, since Thread is set to fall. Pell finds a large cave at the top of a slope, but as they return to tell their parents, they discover that the wagon collapsed on Dowell as he attempted to change the wheel, and Barla has been unable to free him. Seeing a bronze dragon flying overhead, Aramina "speaks" to the dragon - Heth - and requests that he and his rider - K'van, still a weyrling - come to her aid, which they do, Heth lifting the wagon off the unconscious Dowell, and K'van helping Aramina fix the wheel.

K'van reveals he saw several runnerbeasts nearby, and Aramina states they are not a part of their group and likely Holdless raiders. K'van leaves to disperse them, while Aramina and her family camouflage their wagon to prevent being found by Lady Holdless Thella. Dowell does not wake, and Barla is unsure of how they will get him to the safety of the cave Pell found.

Not long afterwards, three dragons arrive, and Barla realises that since they now know of Aramina's ability to hear dragons, they will take her away to Benden Weyr. Despite their fears, the dragonriders - T'gellan, Mirrim and K'van - make no mention of Aramina, and instead state they have come to ensure that they reach shelter safely, which they do by flying the unconscious Dowell to the cave, and scaring the dray beasts that pulled the wagon with their dragons so they bolt uphill. The dragonriders then leave to fight Thread - which Aramina and Pell watch from the cave - and Dowell wakes, and Barla tells him she and Aramina rescued him, refraining from telling him about the dragonriders.

The next day, K'van returns with F'lar, F'nor and Lord Asgenar, who reveal that the holdless raiders K'van saw are still in the area, and they plan to deal with them. Despite her fears of being taken from her family, Aramina reveals that the raiders are led by Lady Holdless Thella and are coming after her because of her ability to hear dragons. Lord Asgenar reveals he has been attempting to capture Thella, and sets guards to protect her family, before leaving with F'lar and F'nor so that they won't alert Thella to their presence.

K'van remains with the guards to deliver medicines to Dowell, and helps prepare food for breakfast. Aramina explains to her parents the reason behind his return when they wake - Dowell notes they will need to request formal permission from Lord Asgenar to reside in the cave until he is fully healed. So as not to appear inhospitable to K'van and the guards, Barla sends Aramina to go and harvest food from the surrounding area - K'van and Pell having already left to try and catch a wherry for dinner - and she is accompanied by a guard to a nearby grove.

While harvesting, Aramina wanders to the edge of the grove, where she is captured by Thella and Giron. However, Heth hears her panicked thoughts, and rushes to her rescue, chasing Thella and Giron away, the guards giving chase when Heth can go no further into the bush, and K'van and Pell accompany her back to the cave.

Not long afterwards, Asgenar returns with F'lar and Lessa, and reveals Thella got away, although they captured her raiders. Lessa informs Barla that the hold she and Dowell lies empty in Ruatha, and they are welcome to return to it, save for Aramina, who is to travel with them to Benden Weyr, as there will be a Hatching soon at Benden Weyr, and they need people who can hear dragons. Aramina is hesitant to leave her family, but notes she doesn't really have a choice, and decides to go.


Main article: List of characters in The Girl Who Heard Dragons


  • In The Girl Who Heard Dragons, Thella is said to have used Aramina to recruit people to her band.
  • In The Girl Who Heard Dragons, Asgenar states that Thella's raiders have all been captured.

Preceded By:Nerilka's Story Pern Stories (In Publication Order) Followed By:Dragonsdawn
Preceded By:The White Dragon Pern Stories (In Chronological Order) Followed By:The Renegades of Pern
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