Mythical creatures are magical beasts that have certain powers or are used to highlight moral values in mythological stories. Since ancient times, people have lived closely with animals,thereby many of these mythical beasts are also depicted as animals with a tinge of unusualness about them.
It comes as no surprise to us that these mythical beasts are usually a combination of two or three animals, like the Sphinx which has the head of a king or a god, but the body of a lion. Some of these creatures have known to perform some heroic deeds in mythology. These creatures are uniquely powerful, have wisdom and also act as mediators between heaven and the beings.
However, not all the creatures are kind and peaceful to the people. The stories tell us that some beasts have known to cause destruction to the people, like the Kraken which destroys any ship along with its crew that venturesclose towards it. Although, many may argue that these beasts are just folklore, there has been some contemporary evidence provided by archaeologists who have produced fossils to prove their prior existence.
The Basilisk is a huge serpent which kills, just by looking at the person or by breathing on him. The Basilisk is said to be hatched beneath a toad but is born from a rooster’s egg. As time went on, stories began to emerge about the Basilisk’s appearance. What started off as a huge snake, then became a rooster with a serpent’s body and occasionally had wings.
The Basilisk’s venom is said to be the deadliest poison of all, and that it leaves a trail of venom in its move. Many believe that the Basilisk can be slain by the cockcrow of a rooster, or by the odour of a weasel. The weasel is left to battle the Basilisk, who then kills and urinates on the Basilisk.
It is only thenthat the Basilisk’s venom ceases to be poisonous. Some speculate that the Basilisk has eight legs and breathes fire from its nostrils, it is also said that its touch kills anyone or anything instantaneously.
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The Phoenix is said to be the most beautiful and mysterious creature of all. Usually depicted as alarge eagle, with golden plumage this bird dies by consuming itself by fire and isthen reborn from the ashes. The scarlet creature symbolises long life and immortality.
In Persian mythology, this bird’s touch is said to amass great fortune and blessings. Another belief is that the Phoenix is neither a male nor a female, it is said to combine both the characteristics into one body.
In the Egyptian mythology, the Phoenix is referred as the Bennu bird, historians believe that the Phoenix could have been inspired by the heron bird. Although many mythologies may differ, the one thing that has stayed common throughout the years is the belief that the Phoenix is immortal, and it dies every thousand years only to be born again from its ashes.
The Pegasus is an immortal creature, this winged-horse was tamed by Bellerophon who then killed the monster,Chimaera. Bellerophon who became ambitious to be seated among the gods in Olympusrode Pegasus to heaven but Pegasus whobecame disgusted with his behaviourthen threw him from the sky.
The Pegasus is a gentle creature who helped the demigod Perseus in rescuing his lover Andromeda. This creature who is the son of Poseidon, sprung from his beheaded mother Medusa’s head when her blood formed foam in the sea. When Zeus was pleased with the loyalty of Pegasus, he made him immortal and also a constellation on the last day of his life. The winged-horse is also said to be his thunderbolt bearer. Pegasus thereby stands as a symbol of gentility, bravery and hope.
Scotland’s national animal, the Unicorn is usually depicted as a white horse, but with a single horn growing on its forehead. This creature stands for purity and beauty and does not associate itself with any form of harm or danger. The Unicorn has also been the most revered of all mythical creatures, it is said that its unique horn had the ability to cure diseases.
Greek mythology tells us that the creature looks beautiful, but can be quite difficult to capture. It prefers the touch of a woman rather than a man, preferably a virgin who then leads it to the king’s palace. As the Phoenix’s origin may have been the heron bird, it is argued that the unicorn may have been derived from a rhinoceros.
This majestic creature is peculiarly awkward. It has the body and tail of a lion, but the head of an eagle. Some believe that the Griffin also has a pair of wings. It has an eagle’s talons as its forelimbs but is said to have the hind limbs of a lion. Although the Griffin might have an eagle’s head, it is illustrated to have the ears of a horse.
With its awkward anatomy, this creature is said to be the king of all other creatures and is occupied with guarding treasures and priced possessions. This mythical beast has long been the symbol and icon of power, boldness and majesty and also has been featured in various coat of arms.
The Manticore which has originated from Persian mythology has the body of a lion, but the head of a man. Legends vary where travellers believe that the Manticore is winged, horned, and its tail was thatof a scorpion’s, both deadly and poisonous. Though the Manticore has a human head, it does not possess the ability to speak but could imitate and produce musical sounds thereby luring victims into its vicinity.
The Manticore was feared to be a deadly predator, with the body of a lion it could outrun its prey, and its fierce teeth would cut through the skin with ease. The Manticore would consume its victims thoroughly, not evenleaving a trace of its prey behind. Rumoured to be sighted in India, the natives tell stories of how the Manticoredevours its prey without anymercy.