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Muddy Faces

Published on 21.08.20 in Fire

The story of the Dragon's Sneeze

The origin story of how the Dragon's Sneeze came about.

Actually, we have many different versions of the story - you decide which one is true!

Story 1 - The Grown Ups version

Told by Liz Edwards, founder & director of Muddy Faces.
You'll find a video of Liz telling this story below.

What prompted the design of the Dragons Sneeze?

a fire steel and striker, both with chunky wooden handles, attached by a neon green string

"I had been chatting to a lady with osteoporosis who had struggled to hold a standard fire flint, and this got me thinking. So I designed a system that created two chunky handles that were easy to hold. As Muddy Faces is based in Sheffield, it was ideal for sourcing a fantastic, quality hardened-steel blade for the striker. I sent her my prototype and she said she found it worked really well and was easy to use. I thought if it helped her, surely it would be useful for others. I certainly hadn’t expected how well received it would be.

How did you come up with the name?

graphic of dragon breathing fire, sitting on words 'Dragons Sneeze' all in brown text

"We ran a competition in 2017, asking our customers for suggestions to name our new, innovative designed fire steel and striker. Four people suggested the Dragons Sneeze. We thought the action of a sneeze as quick, powerful and sometimes surprising, was just like the spark created when you strike our steel, and we liked the name! So it was decided and we sent the competition winner a Dragons Sneeze plus some other bits to get their fire started.

Who is the Sneeze for?

"I think it’s really handy for all practitioners to have at least one Dragons Sneeze in their kit. It offers an alternative action to the traditional fire flints and it seems that most people can master it easily, allowing success for each individual in a group.

What exactly is a Dragons Sneeze?

dragons sneeze fire striker sitting on a rock with a fire blazing in semi focus in background

"The fire steels are made from a premium quality ferrous rod manufactured in Europe, and the fire striker has a hardened steel blade made in the UK. Both steel and striker have chunky ergonomic wooden handles making them easier to use, the handles are turned in the UK. They are attached by a brightly coloured lanyard to help locate the flint in a natural setting. The lanyard gives a greater range of movement than conventional fire steel systems."

Story 2 - The video version

Liz tells the Dragons Sneeze story in her own words in this short video. (2 mins 27)

Story 3 - The Kids version

During lockdown Liz's kids created this video - Campfire Stories - the Legend of the Dragons Sneeze.

The story is told in 7 chapters - so it can enjoyed in bite-sized chunks or one epic saga! Grab a hot chocolate, pull up a log, and enjoy!

(total playing time 12 mins)

plush toy dragon with yellow belly and pink skin, placed up high in a tree between two branches

Story 4 - The Forest School practitioner's version

We spotted this tweet from Claire Underwood back in May.

Delilah the dragon was upset after accidentally sneezing and setting fire to the fairy fluff and burning down the whole fairy village 🙈 which explained why our fire-lighter is called a ‘dragon sneeze’ @Muddyfaces

Of course we HAD to ask her more about it - this is what she told us...

"I have been running Forest School sessions for the children of key workers [during lockdown], from nursery to Year 6 in one group. Whatever their age they all loved finding fairies so I had got into the habit of placing little wooden fairies around the site each week.

The children had a go at fire lighting using the Dragon Sneeze and it turned out to be their favourite part of the sessions! They saw the name on the bag and were intrigued as to how it got its name.

I loved that they were also bringing cotton wool balls in from home, eager to have more turns with the dragon sneeze!

So for that week's session, instead of placing fairies around the site, I placed cotton wool balls around, and a dragon soft toy high in the tree.

After we had played our fire circle games I asked them to listen and said I thought I could hear something which sounded like a dragon crying. I then brought the dragon down from the tree and told them the following story..."

pile of cotton wool balls

Delilah the Dragon and the big sneeze!

You have probably seen this Fairy Fluff before, but Delilah the dragon hadn’t. She was gliding through the air when she spotted it, bright white in the sunshine.

She swooped down for a closer look. “Wow it looks so pretty, like a little fluff of cloud” she whispered.

She reached out a scaly talon to gently poke it “mmm soft”.

She tentatively licked it “bleeauuughhh that was not a good idea” and then she leaned her big nostrils close to smell it…when it tickled the end of her nose and “ah ah ah choo!”

Poof! The Fairy Fluff instantly caught on fire!

A spark fell down and "oh no" it landed on to the roof of the fairy houses down below.

The fire spread until all of the fairy village flickered and sparked. The roofs collapsed and the baby fairies wailed!

felt fairy in a white dress holding a snowdrop, which is almost as big as she is

“Oh no” thought Delilah “What have I done? It was only an accident! How shall I ever make it up to the fairies?”

That is why Delilah has come here today to ask for your help to rebuild the fairy homes.

The End.


Written by Claire Underwood
@clairewiththe on Twitter. @clairewiththeredhaireyfs on Instagram.
Credit to Helen Wilson @littlepuddlepeople for the inspiration for this story.

More Dragon's Sneeze Stories

In 2020 we ran a competition, asking people to send in their ideas of how the Dragon's Sneeze got it's name. Follow the link to find all the wonderful stories in words, pictures and video.

Dragons Sneeze stories

If you want a fire or campfire cooking at your outdoor setting or Forest School you'll need a spark! The Dragons' Sneeze is the perfect tool to start you off. But where did the Dragons Sneeze come from? Find out with these origin stories of how the Dragons Sneeze became - as told to us by our amazingly creative customers!

Read More about Dragons Sneeze stories

Dragon's Sneeze in the Muddy Faces shop

Dragons Sneeze

From: £19.99 exVAT

Fire steel and striker with chunky ergonomic wooden handles making them easier to use. The handles are turned in the UK and are attached together by a brightly coloured lanyard to help location in a natural setting.

Buy now

Dragons Sneeze Fire Starter Set

£27.99 exVAT

Dragon Sneeze is a popular fire lighting option, ideal for young to old. It has had particular success with early years and SEN. This amazing tool makes a fantastic present for any outdoor enthusiast or in fact anyone with a log ...

Buy now


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