A song made popular by the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary in 1963.
The song is believed by many to refer to smoking marijuana, yet according to its author, Leonard "Lenny" Lipton, it's a simple sentimental song about the loss of childhood and nothing more.
In 1958 Lenny Lipton graduated from high school and headed off to college at Cornell in Ithaca. He came to the realization that he was not a little kid anymore and never would be; that made him sad.
One night in 1959 Lenny headed for the Cornell library. He had just turned nineteen. He found a book of poems by Ogden Nash, one of which discussed a Really-o Truly-o Dragon. After he was finished he left the library and went to visit his friend Lenny Edelstein.
Lenny Lipton was thinking again about the loss of his carefree childhood days, and he was inspired by the poems he had been reading earlier in the evening. So he decided to write a poem of his own. He wrote for about three minutes and felt somewhat soothed. He left the poem in Peter's typewriter, and then left.
Peter returned and saw the sheet of paper in the typewriter. He was a singer/performer/concert organizer, he liked what he saw and put some music to it, and later began to use it in some of his performances.
Peter later joined a group and used the song. It became more and more popular, and eventually the group recorded it. Within a few years it had become a top ten pop song. Peter went back and tracked down Lenny Lipton, who was by that time a counselor at a summer camp. Peter added Lenny Lipton's name as a co-writer, and Lipton has done well with the royalties he has received ever since.
Peter was Peter Yarrow, and his group was Peter, Paul and Mary. The song reached number 2 on the charts early in 1963.
Puff the Magic Dragon is a song about growing up and leaving behind the innocence of childhood. When Jackie Paper "came no more" it's a reference to him growing up.