Here be Dragons!

Бородатая змея

A Somewhat fanciful representation of Draco Megali

In our advanced technological world, no one believes in Dragons of course, they are thought of as a myth, fairy tales for children, and those strange folk who read fantasy fiction. But I don’t believe it, I think Dragons still existed until quite recently, I mean where did all those stories come from, and why do Dragons look so similar in all those different places.

Of course everyone knows there are Four kinds of Dragon, there are the long bendy ones of Chinese folk law, (Draco Orientalis) but which sometimes turn up in European pictures, usually quite old ones involving St George. These are almost always wingless, but appeared to fly using other means. Then there are the Three main types of European Dragon, The Flightless Dragon (Draco Isogieo) the Two legged two winged variety, (Draco Ligotero) and the great four legged Winged dragon, (Draco Megali).

Despite now being believed to be a myth,  they probably survived in small numbers at least until the late 18th century in Britain, and only became extinct, or possible retreated to obscure and inaccessible parts of the world, when the Industrial revolution resulted in the surface mining of the coal supply they relied upon for their fiery breath. As such they represent an early example of species extinction due to the environmental change triggered by industrialisation.

For many years of course in many parts of the world Dragons have been regarded as the embodiment, of aggressive destructive power, and to a great extent with more justification avarice too. Though China and Wales represent two notable exceptions to this. Although in recent years this has become diluted somewhat and elements of the insight of the Chinese and Welsh into the true nature of Dragons has asserted itself in the popular media, in films such as ‘Dragonheart’ (1996) ‘How to Train Your Dragon‘ (2010) and even as long ago as the ‘Neverending story’ (1984). Unfortunately the old stereotypes concerning Dragons still live on in films such as ‘Reign of Fire‘ (2002), and ‘Dragonslayer’ (1981), though in the latter we can at least commend the film for the outstanding pre-CGI animation of the Dragon.

The perception of Dragons as aggressive is to some extent perpetuated by ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire‘ (2005), however this films greatest sin against dragons is to portray them as little more than dumb animals kept as pets, and forced into combat in what seems little more than glorified cock fighting. If dragons do survive somewhere in the world, one can only hope that there are no underground magical movements that might subject them to such horrors.

There is no doubt of course that Dragons are capable of Aggression, certainly breath fire, and has been noted are somewhat avaricious, though the same could be said for many humans. (Except for the breathing fire of course, mostly: {come to think of it, my mum in a temper leaps to mind}). But  on the whole dragons could not have survived so long if they had been laying waste to vast areas of countryside and to cities, towns and villages.

That these myths built up at all possibly arises out of the Dragon’s method of flight. The average Dragon (Draco Orientalis, excepted) is of course too heavy to get airborne without a little help, once aloft of course they can glide indefinitely.  Of course some Dragons, Draco Vouno, or mountain Dragon, (A subspecies of Draco Ligotero) will climb to a high place and jump off. For most however the fiery breath was used to create a rising column of air, which helped give the Dragons very efficient wings enough extra added lift to get them off the ground, I am sure that on occasion crops might well have been accidentally damaged by some slight carelessness on the part of a dragon.

Dragons of course have only one natural predator, the horse borne, armoured medieval Knight. In this enlightened age it seems fair to question the motivations of such medieval ‘hero’s’, who seem to have wandered about the countryside seeking out otherwise peaceful dragons to slay, apparently for no other reason than to show how ’brave’ and ’noble’ they were to some pretty maiden or other. Of course today we realise this would be completely unacceptable behaviour, and the number of maidens who might be impressed by this has been drastically reduced, (particularly since the emergence of ‘liberated’ attitudes in the 1960s)

In this situation it would hardly surprise us that various Knights might well have been a little cooked, (Giving rise to the best known example of Dragons ingenuity the invention of the tin opener.) or that the odd Dragon might have had enough of it all and scorched the rooftops of the knights home castle. Though of course the Knights were ultimately sucsessful in eradicating dragons from most of Europe, except for Wales and possibly some minor populations in the high Alpine passes , and as they say the winners right the history, giving rise to the bad press dragons have suffered ever since. A press probably funded by gold retrived from the dragon’s horde.

To the Welsh of course the Dragon is recognized as a wise and helpful creature, known to help out in forges, and on particularly cold winter days in the high mountains. The forging of the sword of Maxen, (Better known by it’s later name of Excalibur) would of course have not been possible without Dragonfire. There are even some legends which suggest that the  dráco Lígo ntropalós (commonly known in Wales as Y Ddraig fach swil {Little Shy Dragon}) survived as a helpful assistant on Welsh Railways until the early 20th century.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivor_the_Engine

All in all, I hope that somewhere in the world even now examples of this noble creature survive in some forgotten corner, and that perhaps some day, the majestic sight of an airborne dragon will again be seen in the sky’s.

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About Transremaxculver

An entirely fictitious username I created for posting on 'alt.religion.scientology', Scientology is something of which I am highly critical. For those of you who don't know, the Church of Scientology have a habit of making life very uncomfortable for even the most legitimate of critics, which is why this username is completely anonymous. Anyway I have become quite fond of this username, and although it has to some extent outgrown it's original purpose, I think a blog is perhaps the right place for me/it to continue to grow and develop.
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