The Folklore Around Some Imaginary Creatures

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
With the mention of dragons and griffins no one will have their eyebrows raised. These are creatures never seen by humans in reality, yet they have become a part of our lives. You might have seen their pictures on many literature displays due to the fact that they have been mentioned quite frequently in writings and prose. Kids develop a special liking for these imaginary creatures so they stick the posters of these creatures on their literature holders and other parts of the room.
The making of these creatures is not coincidental, but a blend of mythologies and legends of ancient and modern cultures. Many of these creatures are basically the composites of various existing animals, or in some cases, of humans and animals.
Talking about the animal composite beasts, the first one that comes to mind is unique and originated from different cultures. These include Babylonian winged bulls and leopards; the Greek three headed dog known as Cerberus; dragon having a winged reptilian body and a fiery breath; and of course, the western European griffin that has a lion's body and eagle's wings.

Interestingly, there are also some human-animal composites as well. These include the famous triton that has a man's head and torso and a serpent's tail. This creature came from the Greek mythology. Other famous ones include siren having a woman's head and a bird's body, and not to forget the famous centaur with a man's head and torso and a horse's body.
You may have noticed that many of these creatures are associated with evil or some mischievous forces. It is no surprise as they are represented ugly to portray notorious characters. Another such ubiquitous legend is that of vampires that are represented as restless souls. Although vampires look much like humans, the fact that they are living and dead at the same time, makes them really threatening. When there is a mention of vampires, how can we forget the equally grisly, werewolves? They also appear like normal man but transforms into a hideous werewolf by night. The werewolf is capable of devouring human beings.
Apart from these monsters and beasts, it is not necessary that the imaginary creatures are always ugly and notorious. There are some who are benign and friendly. For instance, the gorgeous and gentle unicorn was a symbol of chastity and power of love during the medieval European times.
It is seen that the native North Americans have a great contribution in creating a huge panorama of monsters, ogres and other semi-human beasts. In their folklore, they have developed some of the most impossibly fearsome, yet fascinating critters. The Zuni and Pueblo people who are the natives, respect many beasts that are considered curers of illness, guardians, and intercessors. Most of these spirits are associated with actual animals.
Interesting as these legendary creatures appear, the more interesting is their folklore. Every creature has his own story. It would not be wrong to say that these imaginary creatures happen to be a common aspect to all cultures.


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