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Wyverns are a sub-class of dragons known from Medieval European lore. Wyverns have two legs, wings, and long scaly tails. This was an important distinction in Medieval heraldry, where its two legs vs. the four legs of an ordinary dragon would allow or disallow a heraldic figure.

In legends, wyverns were associated with plagues, jealousy, warfare, or as guises of the Devil.

In some arms the wyvern is shown having forelegs, wings, and the long tail. In others, it has wings, back legs, and a shorter tail. The latter typically were used when wyverns supported a crest in some painting or sculpture. There even were sea-wyverns with fish tails instead of serpentine ones.

Probably the most famous wyvern story is the tale of Maud and the Wyvern.

Long ago, in England, there was a girl named Maud. She was an only child who roamed the woods and was familiar with all its creatures, but she was lonely without any playmates. Maud begged her parents to let her have a pet. They agreed, assuming her choice would be a dog or cat.

Little did they know! Maud went roaming as usual and encountered a surprising creature: a tiny baby wyvern fluttering helplessly in a grove. It was the size of a cucumber and bright green, with glittering scales and translucent wings too fragile to lift it into the air. Maud felt sorry for the little creature, which was obviously lost and hungry. She took it home to be her pet.

Maud’s parents were horrified when they saw her choice. For though it was tiny now, they knew it would grow into a dangerous monster. They knew they should kill it, but they didn’t have the heart. Instead, they ordered Maud to return the creature to the forest. If it died, then that was nature’s way.

Come back on Saturday for the next chapter!

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