Posts Tagged ‘French folklore’

Long ago, in France, there was a terrible dragon known simply as Drac. She was a sorceress as well as a dragon, and had learned the secret art of invisibility. People around her domain could never know when she was nearby, and never knew where her lair was. They only knew the dread of her evil.

The stories tell that Drac had a clutch of eggs. Being a selfish mother, she abducted a young woman from one of the villages and demanded that she care for the newly hatched dragons. If she refused, her entire village would be laid waste! The hapless girl had no choice but to comply.

For seven long years, she tended the vicious brood. She fed the babies raw meat, cleaned up their waste, and tended their hurts when they squabbled and scratched each other. The captive longed for freedom, but since Drac could make herself and her young invisible, she could never know when she was safe. She had no hope of escaping.

But then one day, the woman was rubbing the young dragons with a special cream Drac provided. She touched her own face and some of the cream got into her eyes. To her amazement, she gained magical sight and could see the dragons even when they were invisible. The woman was clever, and desperate. She pretended to see nothing.

Soon enough, all the dragons flew off. The woman seized her chance and ran back to her village. She hoped to gather a force and march on the dragon’s nest. With her gift of sight, she would tell the soldiers where to strike and destroy Drac’s brood!

Alas, the woman had been missing for seven years. No one recognized her, and they would not listen to her plan. Then Drac returned home and found her captive gone. She flew to the village, invisible, and heard as the people there rejected the woman’s plea. As soon as she had a chance, she snatched up the unfortunate woman and tore out her eyes. Thus ended the threat to Drac’s reign of terror.

Throughout the 13th Century, rumors flew about the location of Drac’s lair. There were numerous attempts to destroy her, including full-scale military campaigns. She survived them all. Centuries have now passed, and Drac hasn’t been seen in many a year. It’s believed that she died of old age. However, her legacy lives on in a town called Draguignan in the French region of Provence.

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Long ago, in the French province of Provence, there was a fearsome dragon called the Tarasque. The monster inhabited a stretch of the Rhone river where marshes surrounded a rocky island. It preyed upon travelers, both on land and water, and it tore down dams and levies so that flooding was rampant. Due to all this destruction, the whole area was uninhabitable.

The Tarasque had such a horrifying appearance that people had a hard time even describing it. They said it was as big as a bull, with a massive turtle’s shell, a lion’s head, and six bear-like legs. The tail was long and scaly, tipped with a scorpion’s sting. The local king brought an army, including catapults, but nothing could stop the dreaded dragon.

After many months of woe, news of the beastly plague reached a monastery where a holy woman lived. Saint Martha felt pity for the people who suffered such a blight. She went to the banks of the Rhone river. The Tarasque rushed to attack her, but Saint Martha did not run from it. Instead, she sang a hymn of the Lord so beautiful that it charmed the terrible creature. Soon the dreaded dragon laid its head in her lap.

Saint Martha returned to the city, the monster following at her heels like an obedient hound. The people of this land were heathens, and she wanted to show them the power of the Lord. Alas, their fear still gripped them. Knights rushed forth. Even when they slashed it with blades of steel, the Tarasque made no move to defend itself. It died there, unresisting.

Saint Martha grieved, and she preached a sermon that converted the heathens to Christianity. To show remorse for having slain a creature that had become tame and helpless, the king changed the name of his city of Tarascon. A castle, Chateau Tarascon, was built on the island in the Rhone River where the dragon once dwelt. Since the 15th Century, local festivals have been held to honor the famous resident.


Just a few of my books:

Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, Lucy D. Ford’s short story collection

Masters of Air & Fire, Lucy D. Ford’s middle-grade novel

The Grimhold Wolf, my Gothic werewolf fantasy, and my epic fantasy, The Seven Exalted Orders.

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