Board Killer – Word About Dragons

Let it here be known that there are two distinct types of the creature known as the Dragon. Firstly, there are the fire-breathing creatures of large size, evil nature and malevolent visage. They resemble large winged lizards and can fly over long distances, often carrying off sheep, cows, or people in their cruel talons. They prefer the taste of virgin girls, and like to situate themselves where these are in plentiful supply. This is most commonly near country villages of the ordinary type, which they terrorize with the fear of a fiery doom in order to force the villagers to sacrifice their young maids, and also thereby extort much gold and other treasure. They dwell by choice in caves, lying about on huge mounds of the loot they have accumulated in this way throughout their long lives.

This kind of creature is called the Greater Dragon. They do not exist, yet their existence remains a stubborn fiction.  All but a few corners of the globe have been searched, and not a trace of anything which even remotely resembles them has yet been found. And how could it? How does a creature sustain fire within its belly, let alone breathing it outward, without injuring itself thereby? And how could such a huge creature fly, even with its enormous wings. In addition, the invention of paper money would doubtless have proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to their bedding arrangements. And further, it is unproved that having engaged in carnal relations has any effect on the edibility or taste of a person, and logically there is no reason why this would be so.

So, friends, do not believe in stories of these creatures, for they are not true at all, and those that tell you of them are probably attempting to deceive you to their own advantage.

A brief examination will tell us how such a preposterous myth may have come about. It is true that there are large birds, known as Rukhs, or Rocs, which can carry off whole animals in their talons. These inhabit Eastern parts, and other far away places. It is also true that a certain bird, called the Phoenix, which also hails from eastern parts, can set itself on fire in order to reproduce. I have seen an entire flock of burning Phoenix (in the plural, also) during their mating ritual with my own eyes, and it was a sight I will never forget.

It seems, then, that the Rukh and the Phoenix, along with bone fide lizards such as the Basilisk (of which, see next week), have become confused with the Lesser Dragon (of which, see below), and fact and fiction have been merged together into a mythical creature by the minds of the credulous and uneducated. But there is no need for us now to think thus, as we know by our art and science that all said creatures are separate, and that no such creature as the Greater Dragon exists on earth today.

The second kind of Dragon is the Lesser or Common Dragon. Common Dragons are found in many places throughout the world. They are large lizards, which cannot fly or breathe fire, but nonetheless are vicious brutes, and grim and dangerous foes to men. Some such can reach lengths of up to 25 feet long, and these can swallow a grown man whole. There are none in these isles, as our blessed ancestor and patron St. Barnabus chased them away over the sea with a special stick, designed for that very purpose by God.

However, other countries are not so blessed as we, and thus there is good reason to be fearful of these creatures if you venture onto the continent. On my various trips away from home, I have hired certain men who are expert in these matters, to guide me safely through the strange terrain, in order to be sure of encountering none of these creatures, and thankfully I have never seen one, although I have it on good authority that they are a real menace in some places.

(From Severall Mythical Monsters Debunked).

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9 Responses to Board Killer – Word About Dragons

  1. janet5 says:

    I do not advise that you venture into These Parts without your expert guides close at your side (and well-compensated with gold). As I lounged dreamily reading your vivid account of beasts firey and tempestuous, recalling the half-whispered tales of those who claim (despite having long since been deprived of all reason) to have, themselves, heard the muttered words of crazed ancestors who may have espied such creatures on their northerly and southerly travels, I. . . looked over and saw a motherf–king FOUR INCH CENTIPEDE two millimeters away from my elbow and preparing to CRAWL onto my MOTHERF–KING ARM.

    Oh king of kings, I HATE MOTHERF–KING CENTIPEDES. Especially as I just slaughtered a beast of even larger size (hanging off the ceiling and preparing to drop on the kitchen counter) yesterday. WTF, anyway?!

    This is all surreally exacerbated by the fact that, as all this was happening, I have the tv tuned to some horrific broadcast about an attack by crocodiles in Bathurst Bay. I would gladly stay inside and avoid beasts entirely, but the centipedes will not leave me in peace.

  2. Great Southern Steve says:

    That centipedes are destructive creatures is well documented, even into antiquity. It is indeed possible this creature that beset you was the same variety of centipede mentioned by Pliny the Elder in Book 8 of his Natural Nistory, in which he discusses the destructive power of common animals:

    “Marcus Varro states that a town in Spain was undermined
    by rabbits and one in Thessaly by moles, and that
    a tribe in Gaul was put to flight by frogs and one in
    Africa by locusts, and the inhabitants were banished
    from the island of Gyara in the Cyclades by mice,
    and Amynclae in Italy was completely destroyed
    by snakes. North of the Ethiopic tribe of the
    Bitch-milkers there is a wide belt of desert where
    a tribe was wiped out by scorpions and poisonous
    spiders, and Theophrastus states that the Rhoetienses
    were driven away by a kind of centipede!!!”

    (BOOK VIII. XLIII. I04-XLV)

  3. Great Southern Steve says:

    wait just a damn minute…

    Are you telling me you’re in Queensland?

    I bet it’s hot up there. Drive south, and be cool.

    • Janet says:

      I can always be comforted with a classical reference. Actually, I would be more comforted with a really large can of powerful, DNA-altering-if-inhaled insecticide. Most people tell me to stop being such a wussy, since the local centipedes do not “even” sting. Yeah, like I was really thinking about that when I saw one disappear into my underwear drawer in my bedroom last summer. Oh, and I really do want to believe that there was a tribe called the Bitch-milkers. Great name for a band, anyway.

      I’m (still) in the northeastern US. However I have recently become fond of a tv channel called “Animal Planet.” The programming largely seems to be concerned with the training of dogs. This is interesting, but not as inspiring as their recent series on Things to be Very Afraid Of. Yesterday, it was aggressive megafauna: the show on crocodiles was followed by a show on “Man-Eating Giant Catfish of Northern India,” followed by “Shark Attacks of Northern California,” followed by “Bear Attacks of Alaska.” This was to be followed by “Shark Attacks of Australia,” but I was fading off to sleep at that point and, really, there are only so many shark attacks that one can watch reconstructions of in a given evening.

      Two other series also stand out. There is the “I Can’t Believe I Survived That!” series (plane crashes into the ocean, AND THEN a storm kicks up, AND THEN the sharks start circling, AND THEN the ‘strong’ swimmer, who has set off for shore, gets caught on a coral reef, AND THEN. . .). There is also the “Extinction Event” series, which may be my favorite. The eruption of a super-volcano in Sumatra 79,000 years ago, which nearly wiped out human civilization? Check. Massive asteroid collision that wiped out the dinosaurs? Check. Consequences of a future asteroid the size of Mt. Everest smashing into the New York City region? Check. The latter, by the way, has inspired me to think about what books I would like to have in my biosphere-like bomb shelter if I am stuck down there for a year to wait out the asteroid impact, ensuing blast wave, ensuing global earthquake, ensuing immediate surface temperature rise across the earth of 500 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, the ensuing firestorm of blast material returning into the atmosphere, the ensuing destruction of nearly all animal and plant life, and the ensuing “nuclear winter.” I will need some good books, as well as the repair manuals for the ventilation, waste and water systems. I might even get some knitting done.

      Aside from that, I really, really need a hobby.

  4. Great Southern Steve says:

    This makes a difference to me. Tropical centipedes in the Indo-Pacific, when they bite, really, really, REALLY hurt. Like, writhing agony, for 24 hours. I am glad you are not beset by those. I have not been bitten myself but have been told by credible sources that specimens up to six feet long have been sighted on the islands in the Torres Strait.

    Unfortunately, Pliny appears to be the only Classical author that mentions the Bitch Milkers.

    I have too many hobbies. You can have one of mine if you like.

  5. janet5 says:

    Uh, the idea of a six foot-long centipede makes my insides churn. I have heard that pretty much all centipedes aside from the ones in my local area have a stinging bite (but did I mention that I’m a wussy, anyway)? I’m definitely not a Tropical Janet. I’m more like a Mid-Latitudes with Hot, Dry Summers and Cool, Damp Winters Janet. I suspect that this is not an evolutionary strength.

  6. janet5 says:

    In response to the edited title: too true. Views per day have plummeted since Sept. 29. I really don’t understand why. Dragons are interesting. Centipedes are interesting. My obsessive need to comment extensively on things that matter only to me is interesting.

    I blame the change of seasons. When my head has de-fogged from migraine medication, I’ll post something that is not entirely about me.

    By the way, Kevin, thanks for the most recent Geneva 13!

  7. chartreuseviolet says:

    am i the only person who finds giant centipedes fascinating- maybe even alluring?
    maybe not alluring, but if i was a bug…sigh.
    bugs, like robots and astrophysics, are on my list of rarely common obsessions. talk to me about arachnids = me jello. maybe it’s the exoskeleton, the metallic invulnerability, the million degree envelope. humans are just so darn soft and squishy.
    write on. i shall read.

  8. janet5 says:

    This makes me wonder whether the current pond scum will evolve to tell scary stories about us. I mean, after the next Extinction Event (funny how I keep coming back to that), they will triumph over our blasted, ruined civilizations. . .

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