What Is The Real Meaning Behind “Puff, The Magic Dragon”?

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You probably know the song “Puff, the Magic Dragon” which was made popular by a 1962 recording by Peter, Paul, and Mary. The song was officially released the following year in 1963 and became a huge hit, not only with adults but children as well.

The song was written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow (Yarrow is one of the members of Peter, Paul, and Mary). The song was originally a poem by Lipton that Yarrow took and made into a song. Since then, many people have speculated the actual meaning of the song and you all have, without a doubt, heard the theories.

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Many people look at the storyline of the song. If you read the lyrics, it’s can clearly be understood that it’s about a young boy who really didn’t have any friends, so he made up a dragon and a whole fantasy land where they could play together. However, there are lyrics within the song that may suggest something else, something that only adults could note.

Lines like “frolicked in the autumn mist” have suggested to many that the song is about smoking marijuana and the “land called Honahlee” is just a land that is made up by way of influence from the drug.

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At the end of the day, it really just is a song that has transformed into a kid’s classic and a favorite among families. The lyrics can be interpreted the way that each of us individually deems appropriate, but we might never know the truth about what the meaning behind “Puff, the Magic Dragon” really is.

Check out the lyrics below and decide for yourself.

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Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff oh
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puff’s gigantic tail
Noble kings and princes would bow whene’er they came
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name oh
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar
His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave oh
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Peter, Paul, and Mary

Be sure to SHARE this article with your thoughts of what you think “Puff, the Magic Dragon” is about!

Check out the performance below of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing the classic tune from 1965:

What do you think?

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