Dragons are very evident in the Asian cultures, so maybe that is where the legend about their appearance, behavior, and physical abilities came from. Such creatures as the monitor lizard, of which the Komodo Dragon is a member, come to mind.
Loren Coleman, a cryptozoologist, argues
that monitor lizards were the basis of some dragon tales and that the breath of the dragon is the fantastic imagery of the steam from the warm Montane Valley monitors emerging from a body of water into the cold air of some Asian locations.
My son had a very vivid imagination, Purple Tang. He loved his HE-MAN and Star Wars characters, and liked to run around the house wearing a cape and brandishing a little plastic sword. It wasn't until he got about eight or nine that I convinced him that "slaying creatures" wasn't the way to bring peace and prosperity to his world.
Pretty soon, he preferred a camera to his sword because he started to believe it was important to prove that he'd seen a "dragon." He looked and looked, but never did find a real dragon
lurking on the premises to photograph! Finally, as most children do, he became interested in dinosaurs, which somehow convinced him that he had been right all along, that there really were dragons. This phase lasted until he was about twelve. Then, of course, as it usually does, reality won the day as he entered his teenage years.
I did, however, tell my son to never destroy any of the large toadstools we would often find on our walks in the fields below our house. After all, they were the homes of fairies! He says he is passing that "legend" on to his little daughter.