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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Few Words On Dragons, Part I

Hi dear friends, today I would like to take you on another short journey into the history of the dragon with the help of a very well researched publication. Have a great read. 
A Few Words On Dragons, Part I

The dragon is the great, great grandfather of all monsters. Before the daemon, before the vampire, before the werewolf, before the giant; before them all was the original uber-monster, the dragon. The dragon's image has crawled across cave paintings 25,000 years old, dwarfing mammoths. It has slithered across Chinese rock art in Shanxi province 8,000 years before Christ. It haunted the Sumerians and the Babylonians, was worshiped by the Aztecs and feared by the Celts. In the East a glittering rain god, in the West a flame-spewing, maiden-devouring monster. It is found in every culture on Earth. The immortal dragon has its fangs and claws deep in the psyche of mankind. And it is still seen today.

The dragon comes in a dazzling array of forms. The best known in the West is the true dragon or firedrake. This is the classic dragon: a gigantic quadrupedal reptile, with vast bat like wings. Armed with razor teeth and claws, and a mighty tail, its most formidable weapon was the white-hot jets of flame it spouted at its victims. These monsters were considered to be the most magical of beasts with powers such as shape-shifting, self-regeneration, and mind reading attributed to them. They were covered in impenetrable scales and had only one vulnerable spot.

The wyvern was much like the firedrake except it bore only one pair of legs. It was smaller than the true dragon and seldom breathed fire. It did however carry a deadly sting in the tail and could spread disease and pestilence.

The lindorm, or worm, was a huge limbless reptile. Instead of breathing fire it spat venom or spewed poison gas. It could also crush prey in its steely coils. It could rejoin severed portions of its body and was hence very hard to kill.

The basilisk, or cockatrice, was the smallest but most death-dealing member of the dragon clan. It was said to have hatched from a cock's egg incubated by a toad or a rooster, a rather remarkable biological feat. It resembled a tiny snake with a rooster's comb. Its gaze brought instant death to all it looked upon, including itself. The basilisk's reflection was fatal to itself. The great deserts of the Middle East were attributed to the baleful glare of hordes of basilisks.
Amazing as it may sound the dragon seems to have a basis in fact and it still haunts the wild, and sometimes not so wild corners of our strange little planet. Modern sightings include a huge, winged reptile that terrorized the San Antonio Valley, Texas for several months in 1976. 

A house-sized, long-necked, scaly, green dragon with formidable teeth that has eaten fishermen and livestock lives in LakeWembu, Tibet. And a horned, black-scaled dragon was seen by five hundred witnesses in July 2002 in Lake Tianchie, northeast China. There are enough modern dragon sightings from around the world to be the subject of a book by Richard Alan Freeman titled, "Dragons; More than a Myth?" published in 2005.

Some dragon sightings have taken place in the United Kingdom. In the early 19th century folklorist Mary Trevelyan interviewed many elderly people living in the Glamorgan area of Wales. They recounted memories from their youth (early 19th century) of a race of winged serpents said to inhabit the forest around Penllyne Castle. They had crested heads and feathery wings. The serpents were brightly coloured and sparkled as if covered with jewels. They rested coiled on the ground but if threatened would attack by swooping down at their aggressors.

The snakes killed poultry and were described as "the terrors of farmyards and coverts" many were shot for their depreditations of livestock. One woman recalled that her grandfather shot one after it attacked him. Its skin had hung for years on the wall at his farm. Tragically it was discarded after his death. This would make any modern-day cryptozoologist wince.

A dragon skin was once said to hang in the church in Sexhow, Cleveland. The forest dwelling worm was slain by a knight and the skin kept as a relic hung on pegs in the church. The skin has long since vanished. Oliver Cromwell's men probably destroyed it after the English Civil War.

A portion of the hide of the Lambton worm was supposedly kept on display at Lambton Castle. It was said to resemble cow's hide. The specimen was lost when the castle was demolished in the 18th century.

One of the most disturbing dragon stories occurred relatively recently. When the north east of England was under the Dane lore, the Norse men feared a sea dragon known as the Shoney.

It is said that they sacrificed crew members to the beast. After drawing lots the luckless victim was trussed hand and foot, his throat slashed, and tossed overboard. The shoney was to eat the sacrifice and let the Viking ships alone. Bodies, sometimes half eaten, were washed up around Lindisfarne and around the area now known as Marsden Bay near South Shiels, Newcastle.

So the story goes, this sacrifice became a kind of maritime worship and persisted long after the time of the Vikings. It was supposedly practiced by modern Scandinavian sailors. Several hundred years ago a pub was carved into the cliffs of Marsden Bay.

Known as Marsden Grotto, it has had many landlords through the years. Many of them awoke to discover the sacrificial victims of the Shoney washed ashore on the beach outside the Grotto. The pub's cellar was used as a makeshift morgue on many occasions. According to local researcher, historian, and Fortean Mike Hallowell, the last bodies were washed up in 1928!

Thank you for taking some time out with me. I hope you have
enjoyed my poem and comments are always welcome here. Thank you.

ڰۣWith love from The Fairy Lady ڰۣ

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