The word “dragon” comes from the Latin, draco, itself derived from the Greek, drakon, a word describing any kind of large snake, real or imagined.
In Greek mythology, there are several such creatures, many of them the progeny of Typhon (or Typhoeus) and Echidna, the “mother and father of all monsters”: Ladon, who lived in the Garden of the Hesperides; Hydra, who guarded the underworld; and the Colchian Dragon, an unsleeping serpent who guarded the Golden Fleece, which Jason managed to steal thanks to Medea, who sang spells to the dragon.
In the West, dragons are often seen as evil and dangerous, but some writers, such as Ursula K. Le Guin, show a more nuanced side in their fiction. I want to explore, over coming weeks, the relationship between humans and dragons, where they came from, and why they matter.
Fascinating podcast from the Folklore Society – Terry Pratchett in discussion with Dr Jacqueline Simpson, the doyenne of English folklore – http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/terrypratchett/?utm_source=foklore-home&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=terry-pratchett-podcast
For British readers, there is a documentary on BBC4 tonight, at 10 o’clock, called “Secret Knowledge: the Art of Witchcraft”. It’s presented by Lachlan Goudie, and tells the story of his father Alexander’s obsession with the witch Nannie Dee, from Robert Burns’ poem Tam o’Shanter, as well as looking at the history of witches in art: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tv/posts/Secret-Knowledge-The-Art-Of-Witchcraft
The weather here in the UK has been very changeable recently, with the changing of the seasons, switching from sunshine to rain and back again.
My friend Susan tells me that such weather patterns mean there must be a foxes’ wedding taking place somewhere. Or perhaps the foxes simply choose to get married at this time of year. Whatever the truth, maidens are advised to beware of Reynardine, the fox who abducts young women and leads them away, never to be seen again…