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Posts Tagged ‘dragons’

Hindu lore brings us these water-monsters, which are hybrids combining the heads of land animals with the tails of sea creatures. Within this general type, each makara is unique. Some have heads of powerful beasts like crocodiles and elephants. Some have tails of seals or fish. Individual artists seem free to create the combinations they like best.

Although makaras seem like fanciful hybids, some scholars have tried to guess whether they are based on some animal from the real world. Suggestions include river dolphins, dugongs, and two types of crocodile, the mugger and gharial. Mugger crocodiles are the most common kind in India.

As mythical beings, makaras have two primary functions. They act as guardian beasts for temples, gates and doors, and the thrones of rulers. They also serve as steeds for various deities, including the sea god Varuna and Ganga, goddess of the Ganges River. It doesn’t seem that makaras themselves are the prime actors in many tales, but rather serve as fierce protectors for the gods and goddesses.

As time went on, makaras became associated with Buddhist lore as well as Hindu. They are now widespread in art and architecture as far away as Japan and Indonesia. Many temples, especially, have makaras carved as decorative finials, railings, lintels, and so on. They’re a common design for the spouts on fountains and springs, and for vessels such as pitchers. Makaras can also appear in jewelry such as earrings and bracelets.


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I’m happy to share another dragon tale today. Dragonboy is a short film, recently featured by author J. Keller Ford on her blog, YA Chit Chat. It just might be the cutest thing you’ll see today. Check it out here!

This animated short was made by a group of film students. Like “The Optometrist and the Dragon,” a short story I shared last week, it takes a fresh and engaging look at that age-old triangle between dragon, princess, and knight.


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One of America’s most famous roads is dubbed The Tail of the Dragon. It’s said to be the single most beautiful, thrilling and dangerous drive in the country.

Officially named Blount Gap, The Tail of the Dragon is a section of U. S. Highway 129 that runs between Blount County, TN and Swain County, NC. Though just eleven miles long, it boasts 318 sharp curves. There are no side streets or driveways, only the rugged Great Smoky Mountains and national forest land.

Many of the road’s features have been given interesting names like Gravity Cavity, Copperhead Corner, and Wheelie Hell. Others are blind corners where unexpected hazards may appear. For safety reasons, the speed limit on this highway has been reduced to 30 mph and it is strictly patrolled. Still, some sources state that at least one death occurs on this stretch of road each year.

Nevertheless, motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts flock to the route during the spring and summer months. All long to experience the challenge of the Tail of the Dragon. Tourists can stop at a few scenic overlooks, and stay at a number of hotels near each end of the route. Perhaps the best known is Deals Gap. This rustic lodge includes an impressive metal statue of a dragon.

The Tail of the Dragon has also been popular with Hollywood, and a number of movies have been filmed on the dramatic twists and turns. These include Thunder Road (1958), Two Lane Blacktop (1971) and The Fugitive (1993). If you aren’t into the Tail of the Dragon’s driving challenge, it sounds like you could enjoy the Hollywood trivia or just relish the beautiful mountain scenery.


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Today I have a dragon story to share. This fun fantasy short is borrowed from Myths of the Mirror, the blog of fantasy author D. Wallace Peach. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

The Optometrist and the Dragon


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A Swedish prince could not get married until his older brother, a lindworm, found a bride who could love him as he was. After many failures, the human prince despaired. 

In the villages of that land, a young woman heard the lindworm prince was looking for a bride. She was wise enough to seek a soothsayer’s advice before doing anything. It happened this was the very same soothsayer who the queen had once consulted. He told her that if she was brave at heart there was a way to break the lindworm’s curse.

After hearing his advice, the young woman volunteered to be the lindworm’s bride. She came to the forest dressed in many layers of clothing. It seemed odd, but the lindworm was pleased she didn’t scream or faint, so he agreed to the marriage.

What a strange wedding night it was! The groom ordered to the bride to take off her clothes, but she told him he must shed one layer of skin for every garment she removed. With nervous anticipation, they played this game. Over and over, she took off one dress and he shed a layer of skin.

Finally she wore only a shift, while the lindworm had one translucent layer of scales. With a silent prayer, she removed her shift and stood naked. The lindworm coiled around her, slowly and gently.As it rubbed against her, the final layer of scales peeled away. Suddenly she felt not the cold strength of a serpent but a man’s warm arms. By her cleverness and trust, the curse had been broken!


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After consulting a soothsayer, a Swedish queen gave birth to twins — but one of them was a lindworm!

The younger prince grew up to be a handsome man, with blond hair, blue eyes, and a smile to set hearts fluttering. He began to travel the countryside in search of a bride. As he set out, he passed beside a great forest where all sorts of wild beasts were said to roam.

Without warning, his horse suddenly stopped. The prince, too, sat paralyzed as a huge serpent reared its head from the brush at the wood’s edge. It was a lindworm! As he struggled to reach for his weapons, a cold voice penetrated his thoughts.

“Do not worry,” said the lindworm. “I will not harm you. I am your elder brother.”

“How can this be?” asked the prince.

“Perhaps our mother knows,” the dragon said. “I do not care if you become king, for people mean nothing to me, but I demand this one thing. You will not be married before me. Our mother the queen must send me a bride who is willing to marry me and can love me as I am.”

Though shocked, the human prince said, “I will tell her and find out the truth.”

The lindworm withdrew, and the prince was able to move again. He immediately returned to the castle and told his mother what had happened. Weeping, she confessed all that she knew. Once she had consulted a soothsayer but failed to hear all his words, and so her firstborn had been born a monster. Knowing that he indeed had an older brother, the prince agreed to wait for his marriage.

The queen began a long search for a young woman who would be willing to marry the monstrous prince. Although many went to the forest, each of them swooned or screamed at the sight of their prospective groom. Because they were unwilling, the lindworm prince rejected them one after another.

The human prince began to despair. Would he never have a bride? Come back on Saturday for part three!


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Long ago, in Sweden, a queen was unable to bear children. Desperate to give her husband an heir, she consulted a soothsayer. The old man assured her that she would give birth to twin boys in less than a year. All she had to do was eat two fresh onions as soon as she returned to her castle. The queen was willing to take even this strange advice, and she rushed home without hearing a warning the soothsayer shouted behind her.

Upon her return, the queen commanded two onions be brought to her at once. She ate the first one without hesitation, peel and all. But the peel was so unpleasant that she took time to peel the second onion before eating it. If the courtiers were surprised, they dared not object. And soon the prophecy came true — the queen was with child at last!

In time, she was ready to give birth. The queen was sequestered with her midwife and attendants while she labored to give birth. The waiting king and courtiers heard a sudden shriek — but it was not the cry of a baby. Alas, the queen’s firstborn son was a lindworm! It lay on the floor in scaly coils, with two clawed limbs slashing the air.

Horror overcame the queen when she saw this creature. She somehow found the strength to seize the lindworm and fling it out the window. Then with a groan she fell back into labor and soon delivered another child. This one was a healthy, normal baby boy. Her dream had come true. The king celebrated his good fortune of having a son, while the queen, midwife and attendants all agreed the first birth was never to be spoken of.

And so the younger prince grew up without ever knowing he had a monstrous twin brother.

Come back on Tuesday for part two!


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