Mythical beasts are those beasts perhaps of the imagination or perhaps you have actually met one of them on your travels through life. Whether they are a dragon who has rescued you or a gargoyle that you swore you met on a stone tower in Paris there are a large group of them which may come from myths or supernatural heroes, or even told through legend and folktales. They may be lucky or not when you encounter a mythical beast and all depends on which one it is and where you met it.
This is a mythical beast you might have encountered if you lived in the medieval ages. There are different types of dragons and this mythical beast is said to have special attributes for the Chinese, the Japanese and other nationalities of dragons. The word comes from the Greek. They are often associated with great treasures. They send out great flames when they breathe and have spiritual connotations. They are considered to be wise and have a long life. They may possess magic like ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ did.
One of the groups of this type of mythical beast is the Chinese Dragon which is different from other dragons in that it is said to have the head of a human with the body of a snake or resemble a large snake. It is called Lung and dates from the 16th century. It has immense strength and power and can even take a human form if it wishes. This Chinese mythical beast may even be able to predict rain for farmers. It generally has five claws which is the symbol of Chinese emperors. They are very popular forms in Chinese New Year celebrations.
Differing from the Chinese dragon this mythical beast brings images of St George and the Dragon when he killed one in Libya and dragons fighting knights while guarding great treasures. A mythical beast with two wings and from two to four lizard like legs this particular dragon actually guards the boundary into London as it sits atop a post on the boundary line. It is also the patron saint of England. They come in various colors with golden being the most revered color. White dragons are very rare. Dragons may live for centuries.
This form of mythical beast may not really be considered to be a beast at all because they look pretty. The current image of this mythical beast of having gauze-like wings with perhaps cherubic looking faces didn’t appear until the 1800s. Before that they were either tall or angel-like or more like trolls. They may be called fairy, faerie or wee folk to name a few. It is said that they first originated in Italy then travelled to France and into Britain. Today they inhabit the entire world and are often thought to tell the future or cast spells and they certainly can fly.
Also called griffon or gryphon this mythical beast is generally seen in the form of a lion’s body with an eagles head and wings. He is a powerful mythical beast with bird like talons that is said to often guard large treasures. They mate for life and if their mate dies they live the rest of their life alone as they never mate again. There are a number of real animals and birds that also do this. Griffins are considered to be powerful and when you consider the eagle is the king of birds and the lion the king of beasts you certainly can believe this. They are often used on heraldry and on seals and logos to indicate strength.
A white horse with a goat like beard that has a single horn which is spiral in shape and extends from the center of its forehead it is a wild woodland creature and is the symbol of pureness. Only a virgin can tame this mythical beast. There is some famous unicorn tapestries all created about 1485 to 1500. ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn” is at the Cloisters in NYC and the ‘Dame a la Licorne” is at the Cluny in Paris.
This mystical beast is often seen on top of cathedrals often warding off evil spirits. Gargoyle comes from the French gargouille or gullet because they were often seen sprouting water and were used as downspouts for buildings. They are demon-like in form although if they seem to combine several different creatures they are called chimeras or grotesques. Or they may be winged human-like creatures with a rocky tough hide and may be peering down upon you as you walk beneath them.
This bird is the symbol of rebirth or renewal due to its ability to burn and come back as a baby. A beautiful bird with a beautiful song when it sings it is a bird with colorful feathers which includes glorious gold and scarlet tail feathers. The tears of a phoenix may heal a basilisk wound. The phoenix has a 500 to 1000 year life. To the Greeks it was a peacock. At the end of its life it builds a twig nest and climbs in and ignites and everything burns up into ashes. Then from the ashes arises a new baby phoenix.
A mythical beast that is a legendary reptile that is considered to be the king of serpents and can be very deadly. One look can kill you and it’s venomous. The oldest reference is in 79 AD. It has a crown shape on its crest.
Leprechauns are those little creatures who are also a mythical beast which seems to be most associated with Ireland. A leprechaun is a fairy in Irish folktales. They are often an old man wearing a green or red coat who loves to make mischief. It is said if you catch one perhaps when looking for that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow you will get three wishes in exchange for their release. They are a very solitary mythical beast.