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Mythical Creatures and Magical Beasts

Updated on November 17, 2014
Pen and wash drawing by malacologist Pierre Dénys de Montfort, 1801, from the descriptions of French sailors reportedly attacked by such a creature off the coast of Angola.
Pen and wash drawing by malacologist Pierre Dénys de Montfort, 1801, from the descriptions of French sailors reportedly attacked by such a creature off the coast of Angola. | Source

Kraken

The kraken is a legendary giant sea creature that is believed to live deep in the ocean and grow to over 1 mile in circumference. This huge octopus like creature has been allegedly reported to attack and drag down entire ships. The kraken has also been mistake for an island. Sailors making this mistake that stopped and went ‘ashore’ would then be submerged by a giant whirlpool created by the kraken.

Some people believe that the pollution of the seas may have killed the kraken or forced it to live deeper in the ocean, thus explaining why it is no longer seen.

A Kelpie in it's human form.
A Kelpie in it's human form. | Source

Kelpie

Although stories of the kelpie vary from region to region, it is generally described as a powerful water horse.

The kelpie is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and is said to have the ability to transform into a beautiful woman. These creatures have been reported to lure men and children into the water, where they drown and can then be eaten by the kelpie.

The phoenix in its burning nest of spices and leaves, preparing to be reborn.
The phoenix in its burning nest of spices and leaves, preparing to be reborn. | Source

Phoenix

This beautiful and mythical creature is often used as a symbol of rebirth and transformation due to its unusual life cycle. This beautiful bird is believed to live for between 500 and 1000 years before building a nest of spices and leaves and setting this and itself alight. Within a few days of the fire a baby phoenix can be found in the nest and so the life cycle begins anew.

In Greek mythology the phoenix was said to have a beautiful song, so beautiful in fact that even the gods would stop to listen. The Phoenix is thought by some to be related to the Garuda and Roc.

Source

Unicorn

This legendary white, horned horse has been featured in many stories over time. These animals are generally regarded to be graceful, beautiful and pure. They are also possibly one of the best known mythical beasts.

A unicorn horn is believed to be stronger than any known substance and to possess powerful anti-toxin properties. In 1641 the unicorn horn held in the royal treasury was valued at £40,000 (equivalent to around £1 million today). Some people believe that unicorns were lost when Noah forgot to take any on to his ark. Some believe that a few unicorns remain, living in remote areas to escape relentless hunting and attempts by humans to capture them.

Rocs are believed to be large and strong enough to capture an elephant as prey and carry it easily through the air,
Rocs are believed to be large and strong enough to capture an elephant as prey and carry it easily through the air, | Source

Roc

The roc (or rukh) is an enormous bird of prey. These birds are believed to live for 30 – 40 years and have a wingspan of up to 60ft (18 m). The Ethiopian holy book, Kebra Negast tells that it was a roc that delivered the blessed piece of wood to King Solomon and enabled him to complete his temple. This piece of wood is thought to have later become Jesus’ cross. There have been no reports of roc sightings since the 14th century though some believe there are a few breeding pairs still living in the mountain range of Massif du Tsaratanana in Madagascar.

Beautiful plate showing a simurgh. This item is now part of the Persian Empire collection of the British Museum.
Beautiful plate showing a simurgh. This item is now part of the Persian Empire collection of the British Museum. | Source

Simurgh

The simurgh is often seen in Iranian art depicted as a huge winged creature with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion. Sometimes it is also shown as having a human face.

This giant bird was considered to purify the land and bring fertility to the earth. Although it is believed to have a lifespan of around 100 years, simurgh have always been rare due to the fact that they only reproduce once in their lifetime. After birth the mother simurgh needs to cares for her young for around 20 years due to the creature’s slow rate of maturity. These giant birds are believed to have a vast knowledge of herbalism and medicine. Stories have told of the simurgh's ability to prescribe herbal remedies, make potions and in some accounts heal by touch.

The basilisk and the weasel.
The basilisk and the weasel. | Source

Basilisk

The basilisk is a mythical creature that has a snake’s body and tail and cockerel’s legs, wings and crest. It is reputed to be the offspring of a cock’s egg that was hatched by a toad and is considered by some to be the king of serpents.

Reports of the powers of the basilisks vary but they are generally considered to have the power to kill on sight. The only creature immune to this deadly gaze is the weasel. Other stories report that hearing the crowing of a cockerel or showing one its own reflection are the only ways to kill a basilisk.

A rompo was said to be a secretive creature that fed only on dead bodies rather than killing to eat.
A rompo was said to be a secretive creature that fed only on dead bodies rather than killing to eat. | Source

Rompo

The rompo is reputed to be a man eating beast. It has the head of a hare with human ears and a horses mane, the feet of a badger with a long thin body and tail.

This creature originated in the legends of Africa and India and was said to be nocturnal and very secretive. It feeds on dead bodies and does not kill humans or any other animals. In some stories the rompo was said to have chameleon like abilities. These enabled it to change the colour of it's body to hide when threatened or afraid.

© 2014 Claire

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    • Elderberry Arts profile image
      Author

      Claire 2 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      I think you may be right on that one! I haven't but will look it up. Thank you.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I thought that an honest politician was a mythical beast but these others are interesting too.

      Have you ever heard of the vegetable lamb?