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For anyone that may not know, the dragon is a mythical creature said to resemble a giant lizard with bat-like wings. They have long, slender necks, long powerful tails, and usually have horns or fins adorning their heads. They also have the ability to breathe fire. They can be very large (up to 100 feet in length) and often have lifespans of centuries. According to legend, a dragon's favorite activities are collecting treasure and terrorizing innocent human towns.

All *true* (or Western) dragons have four legs and a pair of wings. They are the dragon everyone is familiar with. However, there are other types of "dragon", which include:

* Chinese Dragon * these "dragons" are usually described as having the body of a snake, the head of a horse, the legs of a lizard, the antlers of a deer, and two long "whiskers." According to legend, they are able to fly by using magic alone, since they possess no wings.

* Wyvern * although these creatures do have wings, they only have two legs (usually hind legs). They are sometimes depicted as having venomous stingers on the ends of their tails.

* Hydra * these are beasts with multiple necks and heads that can be regenerated if severed from the body. Depending on the legend, they may or may not possess wings or legs. They are also said to have a poisonous bite.

* Drake (or Drayk) * these creatures closely resemble the Chinese dragon in that they have legs but no wings. However, their bodies are supposedly more lizard-like than those of Chinese dragons. Also, there are 2 kinds: *fire* and *cold*. Fire drakes breathe fire while cold drakes breathe ice.

* Wyrm (or Wurm) * the most ancient of the dragons, these creatures have neither legs nor wings. Basically, they are giant serpents.


The legend of the dragon is hundreds of years old and most probably originated from the human fear of reptiles, especially snakes. The earliest "dragons" were portrayed as giant serpents, but as the stories were spread to other cultures, the form of this great beast was gradually altered. It is believed that the Europeans were the most responsible for creating the dragon we all know today.

The dragon represented many different things to many different cultures. To the Egyptians and Europeans, it was a symbol of evil. To the Romans, it was a symbol of courage and power and its image often decorated their flags. To the Chinese, it was a symbol of wisdom and good luck. To the Vikings, it was a symbol of protection and strength and they carved its likeness into their boats to banish evil spirits. And, lastly, to the Africans, the dragon was a harmless, clumsy creature that moved about the Savannah by taking its tail in its mouth and rolling in a circle.

In most ancient dragon legends, the dragon is an enemy of a god or gods, and is eventually defeated and killed by a dragon-slayer. One of the first documented dragon stories is that of Hercules and his battle with the terrible, multi-headed Hydra. Hercules won the fight, of course, and it was considered one of his greatest victories. Another popular dragon story is that of St. George and the dragon, in which the Saint must save a beautiful princess from the clutches of an evil dragon.


~*~ Inferno by Ruth Thompson ~*~
© Ruth Thompson. All rights reserved! Read the legal information.

~*~ Solstice by Ruth Thompson ~*~
© Ruth Thompson. All rights reserved! Read the legal information.

~*~ By Ciruelo Cabral ~*~

~*~ By Paul Jaquays ~*~

~*~ Maelstrom by Ruth Thompson ~*~
© Ruth Thompson. All rights reserved! Read the legal information.

~*~ By Ciruelo Cabral ~*~

Everyone has a favorite animal (mine being the wolf) and a favorite mythical creature. Even if you're not into sci fi/fantasy, I'm sure you at least prefer a certain creature over others. Everyone has an imagination, it's just that not everyone likes to admit it or uses it very often.

In any case, my favorite mythical creature has always been the dragon. While it's true that I also love unicorns and gryphons, they just can't quite compare to the dragon. I've always been captivated by the dragon's strength, power, wisdom, and innate magical abilities. Also, of the three, only dragons repeatedly demonstrate human-like expressions and behaviors. They aren't afraid to battle humans, while gryphons only do so when provoked or if trained to, and unicorns tend to avoid fights altogether. Dragons are proud and free, acknowledging no one as their master. Only if a being is worthy enough *may* a dragon recognize them as an equal. This is what I love about dragons -- their courage, power, and intelligence is unmatched -- and their love of freedom and open skies is as unquenchable as their fire. I cannot argue that both gryphon and unicorn are beautiful, intelligent, and amazing creatures, but I'm sure not too many others would argue that the dragon is the uncontested master of the mythical world. *Its legend will live on forever*

**Blue Dragon Drawn by Dee Dreslough**
**Click here to visit her site**


From Ancient Egypt

Apep (also called Apophis) was a giant serpent that lived in the Nile River, and he was also very evil. Bent on the destruction of the world, he was determined to kill its creator, Ra.

Every night Ra had to journey through the world of darkness to comfort the poor dead souls that were trapped there. And every night, Apep rose out of the waters to attack him.

Although Apep was sometimes victorious and managed to swallow Ra and his boat (this is how the Egyptians explained a solar eclipse), he was always defeated in the end by Ra's loyal guardian, Set.

But no matter how many times Set killed Apep, the evil serpent would always be there the next night to haunt the sun god's journey.

** Although Apep was not a true dragon, this legend was one of the first that involved a large, serpentine creature. **

From Ancient Babylonia

In the beginning, there was no land, nor sky, nor gods, nor men. There existed only two elements called Tiamat and Apsu. Apsu was male, and represented the spirit of fresh water and the void where the world would be created. Tiamat was female, and represented the spirit of salt water and primeval chaos.

Tiamat was a monstrous creature with a powerful and scaly body, legs, and elegant horns adorning her head. Apsu and Tiamat had many children together, among them the first gods of the universe. However, these offspring soon became rude and disrespectful to their parents, and Apsu complained that something be done to discipline them. Tiamat refused to harm her children in any way, and so Apsu finally decided to deal with the matter himself.

Unfortunately for Apsu, while he was plotting to get rid of his children, one of them, Ea, discovered his plans and killed him first. Tiamat was outraged when she learned of her husband's murder, and vowed to avenge him.

She created an army of many powerful and horrible beasts (such as dragons, centaurs, and scorpion-men) with which to punish her children and grandchildren. But, yet again, Ea found out about her army and reported it to the other gods. To retaliate, the gods sent the warrior Marduk to battle Tiamat.

Armed with wind, lightning, sword, and bow, Marduk challenged the great dragoness. After a great struggle, Tiamat was defeated and killed, and her army was likewise destroyed. With the help of his sword, Marduk carved Tiamat's massive body into two halves. One half became the land while the other became the sky.

A More Contemporary Dragon Story

One day, a dragon who was flying back home was caught in a violent storm. The wind howled and the rain came down with such force that even the sturdiest oak trees were uprooted and blown down like straw. Despite his great size, the dragon was buffeted in all directions and in the end he lost his way in the dark. In vain he tried and tried again to rise above the storm, battling with all his strength against the elements, but at last, overcome with weariness, he fell exhausted to the ground.

While he lay unconscious in the mud, a peasant who lived in a humble shack nearby walked past.

On catching sight of the monster, who lay so still that he looked dead, the man, whose name was Lucas, felt sorry for him. He approached the inert body and saw that the dragon was still alive. With the help of his horse he moved the dragon to an outhouse which served as a barn. Then he made the dragon comfortable and covered him with a patched blanket, and ran into the house to ask his wife to prepare some hot food. She was apprehensive.

"You are mad if you want to give food and shelter to such a beast. You would do better to kill him and then the king will give us a reward for his skin."

"Quiet woman," retorted Lucas. "The dragon is weak and ill, and it is not kind to deny help to the ailing, of whatever race they belong to."

"Don't be stupid, husband!" exclaimed his wife. "This creature is not kind, nor is he a man. He will eat you the minute he is better."

Taking no notice of his wife's warning, the peasant devoted himself to feeding and caring for the animal. As a result of his efforts, the dragon soon recovered and thanked the peasant for saving him.

"There is nothing to thank me for", replied the good man. "We are all God's creatures."

"Even so, many men in your position would have killed me and sold my skin, which is very valuable."

"Any man who takes advantage of the fallen must be very evil. Such behavior does not befit a knight", replied the peasant.

On hearing her husband's words, the wife, who was listening at the door, began to laugh.

"Look at this fool, giving himself the airs of a knight when he is a pauper!" she exclaimed from her hiding place. "You won't speak like that when the tax collectors come and take away our horse because we haven't paid our taxes."

"It is honor not wealth that makes a man a knight", replied the worthy Lucas in a low voice.

However, the dragon heard the conversation, and, noting the peasant's poverty, offered him a reward for his trouble.

"I could not refuse anything in gold, since the tax collector is coming soon and I have nothing to pay him with. But that is not why I helped you, friend", said the man.

"I know, but now that I am strong enough to fly home, come to my cave and choose anything you wish." Lucas climbed fearlessly onto the dragon's back, but his wife begged him not to trust the dragon.

"When you are in the middle of the forest, he will eat you," she moaned, "and I will be left alone."

The dragon bore the peasant to his cave and there he entertained him for three days. When the time came for him to return home, the dragon loaded a huge sack of gold and precious stones on his back as a gift, and carried Lucas back to his shack.

"Come and see me whenever you are in need", he said on parting.

Lucas found his wife sad and dressed in mourning, for she believed he was dead. With the dragon's gifts the couple were able to buy a beautiful farm with many animals, but the wife started becoming extravagant, and one day she said to her husband:

"If we had a little more money, we would be able to buy good land and employ others to work on it, and then when we have a son he will be able to be a knight. Why don't you ask the dragon for a little more gold?" Lucas refused, but in the end he gave in and went to see the dragon. The creature thought it was a sound idea, and was delighted to be able to help his friend once more. But then hardly a year went by and the wife insisted:

"If we could buy a castle and some villages, we would become counts." Lucas, tired of his wife's nagging, went once more to see the dragon in his cave, and the latter granted his request. The couple received a dukedom. Not long afterwards, the wife wanted to go and live at court.

One day, the new duchess saw the queen arriving in her golden carriage, dressed in silks, with silver farthingales, and wearing fabulous jewels.

Her eyes glinting with greed, she said:

"My good Lucas, it has occurred to me that when we have a son, if there is a war he will have to go the front as an officer, and he might die in combat. It would be much better if we became monarchs so that our son would be in less danger. Your friend the dragon will grant us this wish."

"Wife, don't talk nonsense," he snapped. But his wife cried and entreated him until finally Lucas decided to visit the dragon who greeted him warmly.

"Friend," said the dragon after listening to his story, "your wife is too ambitious. She will never leave you in peace. She will never have enough and she will always want more, but I have the answer. Come into the cave."

And the dragon showed his guest into a cosy room where beautiful young women were singing and dancing.

"Now you are my prisoner. These girls will keep you company and will see that your every wish is carried out, but you will not be able to leave the cave other than in my company and you will not return to see your wife."

From then on the good man lived happily with the dragon and the maidens. As for Lucas's wife, she once again dressed in mourning, convinced that her husband had finally been devoured by the monster, just as she had predicted from the beginning

~*~ Legend found at D.R.A.G.O.N.S. ~*~


The Dragon's Lament
by Jack Prelutsky

I'm tired of being a dragon
Ferocious and brimming with flame
The cause of unspeakable terror
When anyone mentions my name
I'm bored with my bad reputation
Of being a miserable brute
And being routinely expected
To brazenly pillage and loot

I wish that I weren't repulsive
Despicable, ruthless, and fierce
With talons designed to dismember
And fangs finely fashioned to pierce
I've lost all desire for doing
The deeds any dragon should do
But since I can't alter my nature
I guess I'll just terrify you

What is a Dragon?
By Janet Lyles

What is a dragon?
Is it the mean, greedy monster
I know from fairy tales?
Or is it the wise, gentle giant
With the smooth, polished scales?
Do they live in volcanoes or in the arctic cold?
Are they blue, red, and black
Or silver, bronze, and gold?
Are they evil and destructive
Or on the side of good?
Would they leave a friend in trouble
Or help them if they could?
Are they beautiful or ugly?
Do they croon or do they roar?
Should I listen to logic
Or should I believe the lore?
So many myths and mysteries
Surround these mighty beasts
I hear they live in far off lands
With dwarves and elven priests
In the mounts dwell unicorns
And the clouds are the land of the pegasi
Yet I believe that all in all
It's dragonkind that rules the sky

Once They All Believed In Dragons
by Jack Prelutski

Once they all believed in dragons
When the world was fresh and young,
We were woven into legends,
Tales were told and songs were sung,
We were treated with obeisance,
We were honored, we were feared,
Then one day they stopped believing--
On that day, we disappeared.

Now they say our time is over,
Now they say we've lived our last,
Now we're treated with derision
Where we once ruled unsurpassed.
We must make them all remember,
In some way we must reveal
That our spirit lives forever--
We are dragons! We are real!

**Shadowfire guards this page**


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