744 articles found

December 18 – Kelpies

The kelpie, or water-horse, is a shape-shifting water spirit from Scottish legend. Included in the Robert Burns poem ‘Address to the Deil’ (1786), the kelpie is said to lure travellers into the water. The kelpies shown…

December 17 – Basilisk

Known as the king of the serpents, the basilisk (from ‘basiliskos’ meaning little king) is a legendary reptile known to be able to kill with just a glance. The basilisk is referred to as the ‘king’ because of the crown…

December 16 – Kraken

The kraken is a giant sea monster from Scandinavian folklore, said to plague sailors. Olaus Magnus, a Swedish author most well known for his Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (A Description of the Northern…

December 14 – Cerberus

Cerberus, the ‘hound of Hades’, is a three headed dog with the tail of a serpent, which according to mythology, guards the gates of the underworld. Cerberus appears in many works of classical literature by Homer,…

December 11 – Hippogriff

Probably most well known now as a character in Harry Potter, the hippogriff is a legendary creature which is half eagle and half horse. This depiction is from Ludovico Ariosto’s poem, Orlando furioso, which first…

December 10 – Griffin

The griffin, griffen or gryphon has the body, legs and tail of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion is the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of the birds, griffins were considered powerful…

December 9 – Nessie

No compendium of mythical creatures would be complete without Scotland’s own creature of myth – the Loch Ness monster. Nessie is said to live in Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. Sightings of Nessie date back to the…