The stories of Daniel's struggles against the priests of Bel and the dragon of Babylon are entertaining folk tales. While their style and whimsical nature assure readers that they were not meant to be taken as serious events of history, people are fortunate that they have survived so that they can be read and enjoyed today.
Mystery fans will recognize in the story of Daniel and the priests of Bel a classic case of the "locked room" conundrum, in which the detective must solve the riddle involving a supposedly sealed room, with Daniel in the role of Sherlock Holmes. Bel and the Dragon is the first known case of this kind. Modern examples include Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Crooked Man and other Sherlock Holmes stories, John Dickson Carr's, "The Hollow Man," and Ellery Queen's "The King is Dead."
The story of Daniel blowing up the Babylonian dragon serves to denigrate the idea of worshiping animals, whether mythical or real, while the story of Daniel's second visit to the lion's den appears to be a convenient device to insert the tale of Habakkuk's magical visit to Daniel on the wings of an angel (who pulls him by the hair!). Of course, the idea of King Cyrus destroying Bel's temple, killing his priests, and then converting to belief in the Jewish God and throwing his subjects into the lions' den can hardly be taken seriously. The entire text of Bel and Dragon has the feeling of a children's story meant to poke fun at idolaters and delight the hearer with yet another tale of God's wonderful and invincible hero, Daniel, the biblical figure beloved by children of all ages.