::Western Dragons::

::Eastern Dragons::

::Pernese Dragons::


::Basalisks and Cockatrices::

A Western dragon is your classical story book beastie; four limbs, two wings, two pointy ears and a long, serpent-like tail. They are often portrayed as being evil fire-breathers in European myths, and are usually killed in the end by dragon-slayers. Sometimes, Westerns even represent Satan. They are greedy, troublesome, and grumpy - they usually ask for town sacrafices such as milk, sheep, children, or maidens. Crosses could usually kill or ward of Western dragons - St. Martha even tamed the meddlesome Tarsque when she put her fingers in the shape of the Christian cross.

Unlike their cousins in the West, Eastern dragons (Sometimes called "Chinese dragons" or "Oriental dragons") are kind-hearted and live as dieties in the Heavens. They have a serpentine body, four short, stubby limbs, and a bearded head. Easterns are actually a combination of many other animals - its head is a camels', its eyes are a demons', its ears are a cows', its horns are the antlers of a stag, its neck is a snake, the soles of its feet a tigers', its claws an eagles', and its 117 glistening scales are those of a carp. The dragons' power of flight without wings comes from the chi'ih, a bladder-like swelling on the top of its head; and the male in the species kept a large pearl in under its chin.

Japanese dragons (the tatsu), however, are more snake-like and have only three toes on each foot (whereas the Chinese dragon usually has four or five) and are sometimes depicted as being evil. Just like the dragon Susa-no-wo (brother of Ama-terasu, the sun goddess) had to confront. While travelling along the river Hi-no-ka-mi, he came upon a young maiden weeping. When he asked her what was wrong, the girl replied that every year for the last seven years one of her sisters had been stolen by a dragon from Koshi and that she, Kush-inada-hime, would soon suffer the same fate. The dragon was eight hills and eight valleys long, had eight thrashing tails and eight ugly, cherry-colored heads. In return for Kush-inada-hime's hand in marriage, Susa-no-wo promised to destroy the evil dragon.

After turning Kush-inada-hime into a comb which he hid in his hair, Susa-no-wo told her parents to brew eight great vats of sake (rice wine). A tall palisade was then constructed, pierced by eight gates; and behind each gate was one of the large vates of sake Hush-inada-hime's parent's had brewed. Then, Susa-no-wo and Hush-inada-hime's parents hid behind a bush to await the dragon's arrival.

As predicted, the pungent smell of the sake lured the monster over to the paliside. With ravenous glee, each of its eight heads butted trough each gate and lapped up the sake. In a drunken trance, the dragon fell to the ground in a drunken trance.

Quick on his feet, Susa-no-wo emerged from the bush, raised his powerful two-handed sword, and hacked the beast into bits until the Hi-no-ka-mi turned red from the dragon's blood. And, inside one of the slain dragon's tails, Susa-no-wo found a wonderful keen-edged blade, called the kusa-nagi-no-tachi, or herb-quelling dragon sword.

Pernese dragons aren't really from any mythology; rather, they're from the wonderful series The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I just had to sneak them in here. ~_^ Pernese dragons resemble a Western in appearence and come in only five colors; gold (female, and the queens), bronze (male, mates of the queens), brown (male), blue (male), and green (female). They develop a telepathic bond with a rider at hatching (called Impression) and never leave his/her side until death, when they commit suicide. All Pernese dragons can breathe fire by chewing a phosphorous rock called "firestone", except for the golden queens who cannot digest it. Pernese dragons can also teleport to between places or even times by going between - the space between reality and nothingness. The gold queen dragons are the only ones who lay eggs, as the greens are sterile from chewing firestone.

A wyrm is a limbless serpent with a nasty disposition who spends most of its time around water. Wyrms cannot breathe fire like other dragons; but some, like the Guivre and Gargouille, can spit whole oceans at passing ships. Some spottings of the tatzelwurm have been reported - a slimy, black serpent with two front arms and a feline's head. Pigs are a tatzelwurms' favorite food, and they are usually spotted at farms.

You may have read about basalisks from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. ::DragonFeather stamps her foot and pouts about the way her precious dragons are portrayed in that series:: A basalisk is similar to a wyrm; it has a serpentine body and scales, but it also wears a crest atop its head that resembles a rooster's comb. The word basalisk is a Greek translation for "little king". The basalisk was the deadliest dragon of all; with a single glance it could kill the most ferocious beast on the spot. Its toxic breath could whither plants, its acidic saliva could make any creature drop dead, and any stream it drank from was permanently poisoned. Only three living things could survive the basalisks' lethal powers; the weasal, who was immune to its deathly stare, the rooster, whose crowing would scare away the hideous serpent, and rue - a plant that could withstand the basalisk's breath. Weasels even used rue to heal themselves if they were injured by the basalisk in battle.

However, if you think that's bad, the basalisk also went through a metamorphosis - "It accuired birdlike legs (usually two, but occasionally as many as eight), as well as a coiling tail and, eventually, a pair of wings, so evolving into a beast reminiscent of a wyvern, but with certain clearly defined differenced. For although its body and tail retained their reptilian scales, its wings became feathered, and its head transformed into that of its erstwhile vanquisher - the rooster. Wattles hung down from either side of its face, its jaws became a horny beak, and it even acquired its enemy's ability to crow." -Dragons, A Natural History by Dr. Karl Shuker This new beast was now called the cockatrice.

Contrary to popular belief, the basalisk did not hatch from an egg - it came in the dung of a toad from a shell-less leathery pouch laid by a seven-year-old rooster when Sirius, the dog star, was in the ascendant.

Questions? Comments? Did I make a typo? Email me - I'd love to hear your feedback!

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