Talk:Puff, the Magic Dragon

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Mountain in Hawaii[edit]

The land of Honah Lee is Hawaii, Puff the Magic Dragon is in fact a mountain shaped like a sleeping dragon in Hawaii.

03:31, 8 June 2007 (UTC)Raryel

Supply a WP:RS confirming both the fact and that this was the songwriters' intention, and we can put it in. DavidOaks (talk) 21:27, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Copyright infrigement?[edit]

Is it copyright infrigement to post the lyrics here?

Probably not, but we don't generally post lyrics to songs unless we are presenting an analysis of them or something. Don't add them just for the heck of it. :-) Frecklefoot | Talk June 28, 2005 20:39 (UTC)
It is infringement --Tenfour
No, I don't beleive it is, as long as you give credit. There are 1000's of places on the Internet that do it--many commercial--that don't get in trouble for it. It's covered under fair use or some such thing. But as long as you give credit to whoever came up with them, you aren't infringing on their copyright.
Tenfour, please sign your posts. I added your signature above, but you can do it with 3 or 4 tildes (~~~ or ~~~~). The latter is preferred as it also adds a timestamp. Frecklefoot | Talk 14:30, August 15, 2005 (UTC)
It is most certainly copyright infringement to post lyrics. Several music companies have actually began to take action against web sites that post lyrics in recent weeks. ~MDD4696 07:01, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
In fact it is not; posting lyrics for the sake of commentary, analysis, or review is covered under fair use. (talk) 20:33, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Will do, Frecklefoot. Yeah, it's definitely infringement. In the leaflets that come with CDs even, they have to get legal permission to print the lyrics, even though the leaflet is accompanied by the recorded songs. That's why they say "Lyrics reprinted with permission". Tenfour 19:09, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Copy that (oops). The American Musicological Society, which would have as vested interest as anyone in reproducing lyrics, would appear to take exception to the wholesale display of a complete song as 'fair use' unless every part of it were to be explicated in a scholarly fashion. . Inasmuch as doing that in Wikipedia would be a flagrant transgression of the no-original research proscriptions of Wikipedia, the matter should be considered closed. And reproducing such in entirety from primary or secondary sources would overreach 'fair use' and encroach on copyright law itself. JohndanR (talk) 14:51, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

Urban Myth[edit]

Y'all are missing the obvious answer that Peter is not lying about the meaning of the song, but the drug references are simultaneously there. The references are far to obvious to be accidental, and drug usage is a common thing we associate with transitioning from childhood to adulthood and losing our innocence. The drug reference are there, and designed to add another, subliminal, element to his point. Notice that adults identify the references but kids don't? What does that say about the adults and about the kids? Powerful stuff really, from a brilliant lyricist. Obviously he is denying the association because of the legal issues surrounding marijuana usage, but he unequivocally intended for them to be there and be apparent to those people who would understand such references. (talk) 05:42, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

They may be obvious to you, but to many others (such as myself) the "drug references" aren't there. Aside from the words "Puff" and "Paper", you don't have anything to go on. Reading the lyrics of the song they are clearly about childhood, loss, and growing up. Also you start by saying Yarrow is not lying, then finish saying he is lying. Is your point that he unknowingly inserted the references, or that he did it intentionally and then lied about it?James Fryer (talk) 08:24, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
The concept of chasing the dragon is commonly associated with narcotics usage. Moreover, the line "green scales fell like rain" has imagery very evocative of dried and harvested marijuana leaves. The lyrics are quite obviously about growing up and leaving behind the fancy of a childhood imagination for the realities of the world; the drug references only serve, in that interpretation to buttress the main point of the lyrics. So the song isn't meant to be about smoking marijuana, but that idea is meant to be implanted in the reader's meant because drug usage is consistent with the idea of lost innocence. I reread on the history of the song, and since it was written in 1959, before marijuana usage become popular on college campuses, I will concede that it is possible he wasn't intentionally leaving them there. They just seem so strong that they aren't accidental, which I'm sure you understand. You did go to college, right? (talk) 21:35, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
The song does not say anything about "chasing the dragon", which anyway is a term associated with opiates not cannabis. And your reading of the "green scales" line is far-fetched. You are clutching at straws, like the other posters below. James Fryer (talk) 10:03, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
It's most commonly associated with opiates but is applicable to all drug use. Green scales has imagery evocative of dried and harvested marijuana, which you've clearly never seen in person if you don't recognize. Nothing is mentioned explicitly, because they are not meant to be. If you'd read what I'm arguing, you'd understand the nuances of my point. I quote: "The lyrics are quite obviously about growing up and leaving behind the fancy of a childhood imagination for the realities of the world; the drug references only serve, in that interpretation to buttress the main point of the lyrics." The song is not about smoking marijuana, it is about childhood and growing up, as you say. The subtle drug references are there simply because they add the imagery in a knowing listeners mind, imagery that this person will invariably associate with losing their innocence. It makes the song even more emotionally touching for the adults who hear it and contemplate. (talk) 03:47, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

How about adding that this song is popularly believed to be about marijuana? It's a very common association and gained the song quite a bit of notority.

It was in there originally, but got removed somehow. I re-inserted it. Frecklefoot | Talk 15:29, August 29, 2005 (UTC)
original text: Believed by many people to refer to smoking marijuana (a rumor perpetuated by the film Meet the Parents), it became a hippie anthem. But the oringal hippie movement had pretty much died out decades before the movie Meet the Parents was ever written! Ckamaeleon 13:16, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

It's not much of a stretch to point out how easily it can be construed as being a reference to marijuana smoking... Puff the magic ... drag-in, plus this dude Puff lives by the C (cannabis, yes a little bit of a stretch, but not too much), and his friend is little Jackie Paper. You have several elements here that can be pieced together to say, "Of course it's about puffing a little magic stuff". If you're going to write a whimsical song about dragons and such, you should really make sure that it can't be easily misconstrued as an allegory about something else.

My personal take on it is that no matter what PP&M say, you can bet that they are saying it to protect their asses from any sort of legal action or loss of royalties. --Thoric 21:34, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

It has nothing to do with drugs. It's a simple story about a child growing up. Anything can be construed as being about sex or drugs if one tries hard enough. The only reason the rumor got started is because the term "Puff" is in the title. So then people said "Puff the magic dragon.. the magic dragon obviously must mean a joint!" First of all, "magic dragon" is not a term for a joint, a pipe, or any kind of smoking implement i've ever heard of, and its not close to any names of any smoking implements. Second of all, the song is "Puff, the Magic Dragon". Note the comma. The term grammatically translates into "The Magic Dragon whose name was Puff". If "puff" was used as a verb, not a proper noun, then the comma would be grammatically incorrect. Also, on grammatic terms, "Puff the magic drag-in" doesn't make sense. A drag on a cigarette or joint is not called a drag-in, it is a drag. Drag-in sounds grammatically awkward, and magic drag-in where magic is describing the "drag-in" is a real stretch and an awkward statement. Also, if drag-in is another unheard of term for drag, then the sentence still doesn't make sense. "Puff the magic drag." You don't puff a drag. A drag is a pull of smoke from a smoking implement. A puff is a pull of smoke from a smoking implement, usually referring to pipe or cigar smoking.
Puff lives by the sea. He does not live by the C. Anyway, now that we're refering to Puff as a proper noun again (seeing as how he lives by something), I guess the whole idea that puff was being used as a verb can be thrown out. Either way, sea meaning C meaning cannabis is a ginormous stretch, even if the song WAS for some reason about marijuana, which it's not.
Jackie Paper. It's a kid's name. It's a fairy tale name, and it happens to be paper. Paper is used for more than rolling cigarettes. If his name was Rolling Paper or Bugle Paper or XL ZigZag Cherry Flavored Paper, then I'd be suspicious. But it's not.
It isn't easily misconstrued as an allegory about marijuana. None of your conclusions were arrived at easily. They were all forced and shaped to fit a certain viewpoint, and the fact is, they are all stretches which no one would easily come to a conclusion about unless they were trying to.
Why would PP&M care about legal action or loss of royalties? For singing about marijuana? Even if the song was about marijuana, why would there be legal action or loss of royalties? Songs from the 60s and 70s constantly referenced drugs, in much more real and blatant ways than this song. Listen to some Jefferson Airplane or some Grateful Dead. Listen to some Beatles even. Listen to Lake Shore Drive by Alliota-Haynes-Jeremiah. Listen to Neil Young. I can keep on going. Specifically referencing LSD, marijuana and getting high was commonplace back then. PP&M's song didnt reference any of these things unless you desperately want it to. Hell, even today listen to the stuff played. Drug use is referenced completely blatantly in modern hip-hop and rock and alternative music. It's no secret that people get high, and there isn't legal action or loss of royalties against people who sing about it. PP&M have no reason to lie about Puff, the Magic Dragon, and they AREN'T lying. Because they don't admit to something doesn't mean that they are holding out. They have nothing to admit to.
I'd finally like to say that the problem here is that people are looking at stupid words and phrases that could me forced into a certain interpretation to possibly mean something that may be referencing marijuana. The song as a whole is being ignored. When looking for song meanings, its much better to the try and actually look at the story as a whole and not a handful of words that may or may not be double entrendres on their own. --insertwackynamehere 04:13, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I meant it could be interpreted as, "Puff the magic. Drag in". This would mean for you to "puff the magic" -- meaning that cannabis was magic, and to puff on it, and "drag in" -- meaning to inhale deeply, to get maximum effect. --Thoric 22:58, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I know Lenny and asked him directly. He states that it is not a song about drugs, but rather one about lost innocence and he just wanted to create a really cool story about a dragon. If I remember right he made it up while walking between the library at Cornell and his friend Peter's house. Peter wasn't home, so he let himself in and saw a typewriter sitting on the table and typed it up and left. Michaelbrowne 18:28, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm in a mini-content dispute about the movie reference to marijuana. Apparently, an anon thinks that the scene in question was in Meet the Fockers, not Meet the Parents. I'm pretty sure it was in Meet the Parents, but it's been a while so if anybody wants to confirm which movie the scene they were talking about Puff was in, please do so. UnfriendlyFire 22:00, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

The scene was definitely in Meet the Parents, as I just finished watching that film. Whether or not there was a similar scene in Meet the Fockers, I do not know. (JosephASpadaro 04:58, 20 May 2007 (UTC))

The point that makes me think that there really is more to the lyrics than the public claim is the kid's name: 'Jackie PAPER'. There are PLENTY of other names that fit the rhyming or meter of the song, but they came up with 'Paper'? Come on, just how likely is this to come up as a NAME in a writing session? I can accept all of the others arguments as stretching the point, but... CFLeon (talk) 22:30, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

So he was missing something for a name. He was sitting in front of a typewriter with paper in it. THat is a lot more plausible than the same tired shit that people here can't seem to let go. THe people that wrote it say it wasn't about it. Fucking let it go.
Section title: the reason "allegations of drug references" is preferable to "urban legend about subliminal drug references" is because urban legends are narratives -- this is not; it's merely a claim of dubious accuracy -- i.e., an allegation, which has nothing particularly to do with criminal proceedings, but generally connotes something other than admirable. And even supposing the claims were true, it's not subliminal, in the sense that it goes on below any level at which it can be consciously perceived. Alternative terms could be "occult," (though that carries a lot of associations that don't belong) or the more literary "allegory" and "subtext." DavidOaks (talk) 22:25, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
"speculation about drug references" strikes me as klunky, but maybe that's just me. The slang use of "random" certainly doesn't fit, and I think it should go. DavidOaks (talk) 00:43, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
From the edit summary on the last revert: "there may have been rumors and they came from speculation and caused further speculation. The impact on the culture came from the speculation" -- I'm not following the reasoning here. One might also say there were rumors which led to speculation, and the speculation led to further rumors. What we have here is a definable category of communication and cultural activity. "Rumor" is the more precise term. Not worth an edit war, though. I suggest we leave it to some third party. DavidOaks (talk) 22:21, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Nothing to war about. "Rumor" evokes a world and time in which people were talking actively about this as though it had some import. And a series of inter-connected conversations with people "spreading" the rumor. A rumor not being conveyed to other people is fairly still-born. There were no "rumors" about this song. There were undoubtedly some small pockets of people who might have - in isolation - speculated on it. But it truly wasn't enough of a thing to constitute a rumor. With people spreading it around. Probably because the song became famous many many years before anyone speculated that it might have drug references in it. In other words - the speculation wasn't contemporary to the song's release - and thus there was no immediacy or currency to the speculation. There WERE "rumors" about the Donovan song "Mellow Yellow" being a drug song. The speculation started the week the song was released and the speculation was widespread and current. It turned into rumors. But that simply didn't happen with this song. So I agreed to drop "urban legend" - even though it truly is one. I also agreed to drop "allegations of drug references". But "speculation" is much more accurate in this case than "rumors" Davidpatrick (talk) 07:45, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
You seem to be working with a definition of "rumor" that I'm not familiar with. Similarly "speculation." Could you tell me how you understand the word "rumor" in such a way that it applies to "Mellow Yellow," and doesn't apply to "Puff"? DavidOaks (talk) 15:43, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
There might be a suggestion in a movie that the song was about drugs - but that doesn't prove that it was! Incidentally the article reads: "where there is a conversation that references to its supposed drug message". This is very poor English, and should be corrected. (talk) 02:19, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
On Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour [59:02], internet broadcast on 26 January 2011 WUMB, Peter Yarrow said "Puff" is just about growing up. He also has a book and CD about it for kids.
I hope this ends this inane discussion once and for all:
On a writers' forum, I once made a comment to an author whose story we were discussing: “In all due respect, I beg to disagree with you as to what you intended” followed, of course, by a smile sign. What has Mr. Lipton ever done so as not to be taken at his word?
I’m an amateur writer and wrote a short story that was intended to be “G” rated, or certainly no more than “PG-13”. I had a devil of a time explaining to some people (though not many others) that I most certainly did not intend anything untoward as some people “read into it.” I even got banned from a forum notwithstanding the fact that it was published on one of the most conservative zines going, conservative in terms of what they will accept regarding sexual content and profanity. Thus is the plight of all writers.
When Stephen King was asked, “How do you write what you do?” he retorted, “I have the heart of a ten-year-old boy, and it’s sitting in a jar on my desk.” Case closed!HistoryBuff14 (talk) 14:09, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

The Movie and other slang terms?[edit]

Does anyone have info on the movie? I could post the slang terms associated with this but I'm not sure I want to.

Something must be done[edit]

Hasn't anybody else noticed that this page states that Puff is written by Peter Paul and Mary, only to change it the next line saying that Leonard Lipton wrote it as a poem and Peter Yarrow made it a song? Seems mutually exclusive to me, as a poem/song can only have one author (unless two collaborated, which this page does not even insinuate). Kingerik 23:55, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

==Other sources Lipton explains some more at his blog: . The upshot is that he spent only a short time writing the poem the song is squarely based on, but it still is the achievement people ask about, rather than his successful career is stereoscopy. Rlongman (talk) 03:12, 7 August 2016 (UTC) User talk:Rlongman 23:05 06 August 2016

I'll see what I can do. Lipton wrote the poem, but PP&M made it famous. Frecklefoot | Talk 17:38, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
After looking at it again, I think it's okay as it is. The song was by the "Peter" or Peter, Paul and Mary. The poem the song was based on was written by Lipton. The article states this. In a way, it was a collaberation: each person contributed something. The band contributed by actually recording the song. I think it's okay. Frecklefoot | Talk 17:41, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
The first sentence in the article is "Puff, the Magic Dragon is a song written and popularized by Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1960s." Either they wrote the song or not. If they were the first to record the song, or make it popular, or something other than writing it, the article should state that implicitly. Also, "the 1960s" is kind of vague; we should be able to figure out exactly when the record was released, on what album, etc. Dyfsunctional 03:05, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and BTW, the Peter, Paul and Mary article states that PPM member Peter Yarrow wrote the song in 1958, a year before Lipton. Dyfsunctional 03:09, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Fixed it. Dyfsunctional 03:21, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds[edit]

It is attested by the Lennon estate that he wrote the song about a picture his child drew (check the page Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - not about an LSD trip. If anybody has another example, add it please - but Lucy in the Sky will go due to disputed accuracy Lochok 08:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Paul McCartney admitted that the song was about LSD in a recent interview, although he does not confirm or deny that it was intentional that the song title has the same initials as LySergic acid Diethylamide. Do you think the Beatles denied the song was about LSD for nearly 40 years for any reason other than to protect themselves? Do you honestly think that others haven't done the same sort of thing? --Thoric 21:44, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Do you honestly think that you can prove they DID? (And even if you could - No Original Research ring a bell?). I find it really weird that so many people honestly feel they HAVE to read drug references into a children's song, though (it's not like the Beatles, who were aiming all of their stuff at teenagers you know, this song was aimed at kids originally). I mean honestly, I know the title is suggestive with the "Puff" in there as the dragon's name, but every time I see arguments "for" it being a drug song, it's always the most ludicrous stretchs of lyrics-bending I've ever seen (see the above "see he lives by the SEA which rhymes with C which is the first letter of Cannabis which is marijuana" argument). Regardless of drug references or no, though, you still make it sound like you care more about whether a 1960s song has drug references than what its more obvious (and intentional) allegory was. :\ In any case, the accusations of it being rumored to have drug references are covered just fine in the article now. I hope no one decides to overdo it with unsourceable material in the future. Runa27 07:00, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Correct name of song[edit]

Is the song actually called "Puff, the Magic Dragon"? The record label just says "Puff". 10:13, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Despite what the label says, it is popularly known as "Puff, the Magic Dragon." And if you look here, you'll see that the song is labelled as "Puff, the Magic Dragon" on their album. — Frecklefoot | Talk 14:41, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I have quite frequently seen it given as "Puff (The Magic Dragon)". M.J.E. (talk) 15:48, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

That already works as a redirect. The title on the image of the 45 rpm record is simply "Puff" which will take the user to the dab page, where it's identified as a character in the song, title as presently given. DavidOaks (talk) 16:02, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Star-Spangled Banner as a drug song??[edit]

Did Peter Yarrow ever explain how "it's easier to interpret The Star-Spangled Banner as a drug song than Puff, the Magic Dragon," as mentioned in this article? The external reference confirms that Yarrow made the assertion, but does not elaborate on his reasoning! Mtford 03:16, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to see that too. :-) — Frecklefoot | Talk 14:41, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I recall him talking about it once, long ago. All I remember is where he brought up the first line "Oh say can you SEE", which rhymes with "C", which stands for Cannibis or Cocaine or whatever. Wahkeenah 12:10, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I do see what you're saying with the second paragraph of that part. The tonality of it is more opinion based, so a simple or more thorough rewrite is needed.Dguenther - DGun (talk) 23:52, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Is it a children's song?[edit]

Currently the article avoids discussing whether or not the song is intended for children - though it is included in the category "children's songs" at the bottom of the page.

The Urban Legends Reference Page link quotes Leonard Lipton saying, "It would be insidious to propagandize about drugs in a song for little kids," and Peter Yarrow saying, "What kind of a meanspirited SOB would write a children's song with a covert drug message?". However, I can't help feeling that it's equally ridiculous to write a song for "little kids" about the loss of childhood innocence! How is an "innocent" child supposed to interpret the song?

These are personal opinions, not encyclopedic facts - but if a discussion of this matter exists elsewhere, it should perhaps be cited. Mtford 03:44, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Peter, Paul & Mary have denied that the song has anything to do with drugs. To paraphrase them, "if we wanted to write a song about drugs, we wouldn't lie about it." Since it was released in the drug-laden '60s, it's easy to understand why people thought it had covert drug messages, but they weren't inserted intentionally. That is just how people interpreted it. All this information is in the article. If it really were meant to be a drug anthem, I would have put that information in the article. It is just an urban legend. It is not about smoking dope, it is about a dragon and a boy who grows up. Actually, it looks like you understand this already. :-)
I'll add Lenny Lipton to this, at his blog (link above) he says, for what was in his own mind at Cornell: "When I wrote Puff I didn’t know from marijuana... People were going to hootenannies – they weren’t smoking joints. It was Pete Seeger and “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore,” not “One Toke Over the Line Sweet Jesus.”" User talk:Rlongman 23:08 06 August 2016 Eastern time
I don't think Peter, Paul & Mary intended it to be a children's song; it was just a song. Because of the story it conveys and it's rhythm, it became popular with children and for parents to sing to children. So it became a children's song, just by circumstance.
How are children supposed to interpret a song about innocence lost? I have no idea. I loved the song as a kid (it was my favorite), but the message of childhood lost was totally beyond me as a child, but that didn't stop me from liking it. Like I said, they released it as a song. It wasn't specifically intended for children, but even if it were, how is it insidious to include a message they can't yet totally comprehend? It wasn't like they were encouraging them to investigate porn or anything. — Frecklefoot | Talk 14:41, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
My four year old came home from School yesterday singing the chorus. (yes they can go to school at four in the UK if they are five in the that academic year) She understood the story quite well, the loss of Puffs friend Jackie was a sad point in the song for her but in the book it ends with a suggestion that a little girl finds Puff. Perhaps the loss of innocence is a concept she will only understand when she's older but I suggest every four year old know what sadness is and being concerned about being alone. So its clear to me that the song doesn't need drugs references to weave its Magic. -- (talk) 08:31, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Children's TV special and book[edit]

Perhaps it wasn't originally a children's song, but it did inspire a 1978 television special aimed at children, and Peter Yarrow wrote a book that appears to be based on the television special. Since these projects seem to be "officially" related to the song, perhaps they should be mentioned in this article. B7T (talk) 16:35, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I remember it, as a child in 1959/60, no later. It was to us a children's song about a dragon, and that was all. We liked it and often put it on the wind up record player (which shows how dated we were) at school. It was only some years later, possibly as a teenager, maybe as an adult that we heard about the possible drug references, which we dismissed with 'So what'. Mentally, when listening to it I would be off playing on the sands with the friendly dragon. However to me Honalee was in Denmark. This is probably because we also enjoyed the song going at the same time about Hans Christian Anderson and another about 'Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen', hence by these links I also put Puff into Denmark. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

South East Asia version[edit]

I've removed the lyrics to this poem from the article as they are almost certainly copyrighted, and posting them here breaches that copyright. Even when lyrics are not copyrighted, we very, very rarely include them in the article but link to a copy on Wikisource.

See also the "Copyright infringement" section further up this page. Thryduulf 09:27, 8 June 2007 (UTC)


Reverted page to older version. Vandalized version included refs to "Micheal Jackson II" and "Austen Gilbert" and a gun shooting. ~ChadHart

Restored text of Southeast Asia version of lyrics. There is no copyright infringement and its deletion occurred as a result of one person's vandalism. If the text is removed again I will restore it and notify wiki Admins of the vandalism.

03:31, 8 June 2007 (UTC)Raryel

  • You have picked the wrong day to mess with me, Raryel. I come home after the funeral of a loved one to see that I, a respected editor of more than two years standing, being accused of 'vandalism.' How dare you? Really, how dare you? I withhold the true extent of my dissapointment and disgust, out of some whisper of professionalism. Your disgusting little ditty does not exist anywhere on the internet other than on Wikipedia mirrors and one site 1, so it is non-notable. Even if it were on thousands of sites, on the ONE non-Wikipedia mirror, it is listed as being copyrighted, © 2003-2007 by Jno Pauraig, someone who specialises in taking tender songs like Johnny Cash's I walk the line and turning them into anti-Vietnam ones... great. Incidentally, it says on that site 'all content on this site is the exclusive property of this website.' Get that? Exclusive property? So you're adding copyrighted songs, of spurious notability, to otherwise decent articles, and you're calling me a vandal? Oy vey zmir!
--It's-is-not-a-genitive 13:08, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I concur that the lyrics should not be included in this article. We generally do not include the full text of original material, lyrics or otherwise, even if it is the public domain. — Frecklefoot | Talk 13:37, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your help, Frecklefoot. Noted. 19:23, 8 June 2007 (UTC)Raryel
If the lyrics are public domain or licensed under the GFDL (and notable enough - I make no claim either way here) then we would put a copy of the lyrics on Wikisource and add a prominent link to it in the article. See The Charge of the Light Brigade (poem) for an example. I am not active at Wikisource, so I can't give any indication of what their inclusion criteria are, beyond not accepting copyrighted material.
Also remember that copyright exists on everything that is not explicitly released under another license or into the public domain, unless the copyright has expired (determining when this is can get very complicated), see the copyright article and Wikipedia:Copyrights project page. Wikipedia does not allow the inclusion of fair use text beyond short quotes, and then only for the purpose of including them in an encyclopaedic article about either the quote or about the work the quotes are taken from.
If the SE Asia version is notable, and the claims of notability can be cited, (again I make no judgement at this point whether it is or it isn't) then we should include a paragraph or possibly two about it in the article, as long as we don't include the full lyrics as explained above. Thryduulf 22:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
The SE Asia version was not penned by the copyright claimant of the website. I was aware of the poem ten years ago. It's pretty clear to anyone who reads it that it was penned by someone in the US military who interacted with or depended on the AC-47 (military DC-3) gunships. The poem, while certainly not what Peter, Paul and Mary intended, was intended as inspiration for the troops. I have read somewhere than a US Air Force major may have penned it, but I can't find the authorship citation. If I do find it, I'll post it to your talk page if you like and you can look at it. Then I'll write a shrt historical paragraph about it and add it to the Puff article.

You do good work on wikipedia. 05:15, 9 June 2007 (UTC)Raryel

New Children's Book Adds Info[edit]

I recently bought the book, Puff the Magic Dragon, by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton (published by Sterling of New York and London, copyright 2007). A few things are written in the book that are of interest to this article. First, the name of Puff's home is written as Honalee. Also, in a note from the authors at the end, Lipton relates that he was unaware of Hawaii's Hanalei when he made up the name of the place. Finally, both of the authors clearly refer to this as a children's song. Austineze 14:44, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

The FOXNews reference[edit]

Weird, but it never says it was videotaped, and after a couple of minutes Googling I can't find another page that doesn't reference the FOXNews article. Wrong Google search, maybe? But I think we should have another, independent reference. Oh wait... But it only references the marijuana once, and very briefly. doesn't look to me like John Kerry actually intended this movement to look as if he was smoking pot. Just an accidental movement, at the wrong time.

It'd be nice to have a link to the actual video, if it's at all possible? Also, did anyone ever question John on his gesture? If so, is there a reference on the net?

Not defending the song at all, just noting that it says "he did this" without a counter-argument, which looks fishy. (talk) 14:45, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Puff the magic dragon .......Sung backwards??[edit]

I recall some years ago that somebody sang "Puff the magic dragon" backwards, I believe this was a guy, with a cockny accent...can anyone else remember this.??? or indeed who in fact sang it.

It was Bill Homewood. A quick internet search revels he did it on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop Zipperdeedoodah (talk) 20:32, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Other versions: removed non-notable acts[edit]

Removed the following from "Other versions" section:

None of the above were had their own wiki page. They had redlinks instead. The last link was to an external site. As a minimum, only acts with a wikipedia page shold be included in the list. Otherwise the section has no quality control at all.Adimovk5 (talk) 19:31, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

What, no Barack the Magic Negro? (talk) 09:50, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Good point. Added it. DavidOaks (talk) 14:06, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I'd prefer if we removed all the "less notable" performers of cover versions of this song. I don't think it adds anything at all (in fact, I think it makes the article look cluttered). It demonstrates that it's a popular song, but that's already clear from the rest of the article. We could just summarize by saying "it's been covered by dozens of other artists." Just MHO. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 13:06, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Concur with Frecklefoot. This is becoming trivialistcruft. It's relevant and notable that "lots of artists have covered this" (and also in languages other than original), it may be important to mention it (for discography, etc.) in relation to each cover group, but specific covers do not seem important to the song being covered. Unless there are actual sources talking about the specific covering. DMacks (talk) 16:41, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I whole heartedly disagree, or rather I disagree with the removal that has taken place. To remove "less notable" performers would be a good idea. But how to decide which are the "less notable"? What I would suggest is cutting all "live" performances but retaining all recorded versions, this list of artists is then in itself another indication of how deeply the song has become rooted in various societies and cultures Satoriforsale (talk) 10:10, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
Take a look at WP:SONGCOVER and see what it says. Each cover song must have been commented on by a reliable source to be included in a list. The guideline sets a very high bar. Binksternet (talk) 14:21, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Dragon kite[edit]

Chinese dragon kite (Berkeley, California - 2000).jpg

Yet another possible interpretation: The fiddle (or bagpipe) tune called The Boy's Lament for His Dragon is claimed to be about a kite.

__Just plain Bill (talk) 13:10, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


Mgreason (talk) 13:12, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


I supplied a ref for the naming of the AC-47 gunship, which seems to be accurate. I deleted WP:Coatrack discusssion of the bird's firepower, along with an unilluminating quote (which therefore no longer needed to be sourced). Finally, I deleted the unref'd quote attributed to Yarrow, suggesting he ultimately approved the usage. If he did, it would surprise me, and it needs ref. If he didn't, it would probably outrage him, and while this is not a biographical article, attributing a controversial statement without ref is inconsistent with WP:BLP. So with the single remaining claim sourced, I removed the ref tag. DavidOaks (talk) 17:39, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks! davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:09, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Gunship 2[edit]

I removed a line that stated the US was 'in the midst' of the Vietnam War in 1963. Combat Troops from the US did not arrive in Vietnam until 1965. We had 'advisors' there earlier than that but not in any substantial numbers and we certainly did not have the AC-47 gunships there in 1963. JMR 06:44, 29 May 2010

Comma in title[edit]

This is incorrect punctuation, is it not? Is this really the proper title? We don't say "Attila, the Hun" or "Henry, the Fifth"... (talk) 00:32, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

It is indeed what the author/singers used in their published version (see ). So I guess it does not matter what the grammatically correct punctuation is. - Subh83 (talk | contribs) 16:38, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
1) In this title, the comma is helpful if not mandatory, to remove ambiguity. With the comma, "puff" is a noun and the rest is an appositive. Without the comma, "puff" could be parsed as a verb. 2) More and smarter examples: No comma: "Billy the Kid", "Cedric the Entertainer", "Edward the Confessor". With-comma: "DoDo, The Kid from Outer Space". It looks like two standard styles co-exist. No comma if it's more like a part of the name; with-comma if it's more like a description. - (talk) 04:45, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

gender neutral[edit]

In the paragraph on gender neutrality, it is claimed that the sentence was changed to "A dragon lives forever, but not so girls and boys." However, apparently (listen to ), the word "little" is still in there even after the change. So it should be "A dragon lives forever, but not so little girls and boys." - Subh83 (talk | contribs) 16:41, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Feel free to change! Be bold! — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 13:17, 22 July 2014 (UTC)


The infobox claims the genre of this song is folk and Baroque pop. I get the "folk" genre (acoustic guitar is the primary accompaniment), but why "Baroque pop"? I don't recognize anything in the song that is overtly Baroque-ish. Is there a reference that claims this?

Also, I think children's music should be added as a genre. It may have not been written as such, but I remember my mom playing this song for me all the time as a tyke. I know it's widely considered a children's song. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 13:24, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Good spot, I have changed it back to pop which was its value before this edit:,_the_Magic_Dragon&direction=next&oldid=587871518 -- I'll leave adding childrens music to you James Fryer (talk) 18:57, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Vietnamese war gunship mention[edit]

I suggest removing the Vietnamese war portion of this article. First, check the reference given: it does not support the claim that "the AC-47 Spooky gunship was nicknamed the 'Dragon' or 'Dragon ship' by the North Vietnamese" since the cited document gives no indication about who named this gunship the 'dragon', and it could easily have been Americans. Second, I highly doubt that the general Vietnamese population at the time spoke much English or listened to English-language songs. Perhaps more importantly, the cited document on the AC-47 is a simple webpage that itself has no citations. Also, the wikipedia page for the C-47 ( Douglas AC-47 Spooky ) indicates that the call-sign was "puff"... this fact is un-referenced in that document, but clearly a radio call-sign of an American plane is an American usage, not a Vietnamese usage. To summarize, if this section is to be kept, it should be referenced better and should be correct in terms of who used the term. It's a little bit offensive to pretend that people under fire from above might refer to that rascally magic dragon as the source of all the hubbub. I have modified the section rather than remove it myself, but I presume somebody who flew one of these can add this trivia since I guess wikipedia now accepts trivia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 19 August 2014 (UTC)