Wednesday, April 25, 2012

N: Nixies and O: Ogres

Nixies are water shape shifting water spirits from Germany. They are fond of music and dancing and can change into fish, serpent, or human form. In human form however they always have trace of wildness left on them such as green teeth or a damp skirt. They are, above all wild, and therefore can be as harmful as they can be helpful. (Anyone else having trouble seperating paragraphs with blogger's new set up?) An ogre is a humanoid monster of French origin. They are typically depicted as large, bullying animals who brutalize men and women and eat their flesh.

Monday, April 23, 2012

L: Little People and M: Mermaids

Little People (also known as Leprchauns but be careful calling them that. They can be tempermental and might curdle your milk) are the shoemakers of faeryland. They originally wore red but are now more often depicted as wearing green. They hoard their gold and keep it in a pot at the end of the rainbow. If you catch one they have to grant you three wishes before they can go free but be carefull. Little people are tricky and may not give you what you meant to ask for. They love to solve riddles but even more they like to confuse people with them.

Amazing book featuring Little People:

Instead of Three Wishes --by Megan Whelan Turner

Mermaids are half fish, half human creatures. There are meremaid myths in every part of the world with access to the sea. In most tales their lovely voices and alluring beauty lead sailors to their doom out on the ocean. It some stories they inter marry with humans and live in elaborate underwater societies. Some mermaids cry pearls while others posess healing powers or the power to call on the wind and rain to sink ships. In most British folklore mermaids were said not to have immortal souls.

Mermen are less often talked about but also existed in most of the folklore. They are often cosidered ugly as opossed to the beauty of mermaids. Matsya Avatar, the first incarnation of Vishnu was said to be half man and half fish.

Amazing stories featuring Mermaids:

The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen --by Delia Sherman
The Little Mermaid --by Hans Christain Anderson (There will be more about this if you join me for my fairy tale series in May)
The Golden Bird --by the Grim Brothers

Rope and Mast
Salt stinging spray, collecting on my face
A wind dried throat, burning with pain.
You grasp at my soul for your saving grace,
Mock my desperation with self disdain.
My lungs are weak like yours, gasping for air,
My eyes blinded by wind, squinting for light.
My skin withers under the sun's false glare
I can drown too in the sky's endless fight.
You chase your will-o-the-wisp, your siren.
You beg the fish-girls for a a place in their waves,
Careless that their kiss is as deadly as sin.
You flail and you rave, too afraid to save.
I will not drown whatever my life costs.
If you plunge to the depths it's you who's lost.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

J: Jinn and K: Kelpie

Jinn were originally spirits in middle eastern cultures. Another common name for them is genie. In later folk lore they are prescribed as living in a jar, bottle, or lamp and granting wishes with their powers. They can be benevolent, malevolent, or anywhere in between depending on the particular jinn, but most wishes end up being double edged and hurt the wisher more than help him. Jinns can take most any form from a winged human to any kind of animal. They travel fast across great distances and often hold great but dangerous knowledge.

Amazing books with jinn in them:

A Thousand and One Nights
Castle in the Air --by Diana Wynne Jones

A Kelpie is a Celtic water horse that can often change into human form to lure young men and women to watery deaths. They are sometimes dripping wet with wild reed ridden hair while in their human form. It the water horse form the kelpie lures people, often children onto it's back so that it can drown and eat them.

The best way to control a kelpie is to get a hold of it's bridle.

Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of good kelpie books. If you know of any please give me the title so I can read them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

H: Harpy and I:Incubus

Harpies are bird-woman, usually bad tempered thieves since their name means "Snatcher". In Greek mythology they are a set of either two or three sisters who steal food and are eventually driven away by the North Wind. In Medivial times they were sometimes refereed to as virgin eagle.

My favorite book with a harpy:

The Last Unicorn --by Peter S. Beagle

"Here the repellent harpies make their nests,

Who drove the Trojans from the Strophades
With dire announcements of the coming woe.
They have broad wings, a human neck and face,

Clawed feet and swollen, feathered bellies; they caw
Their lamentations in the eerie trees"
--Dante's Inferno

An Incubus is a demon in mail form who takes human lovers sometimes willing and sometimes by force. The same demon in female form is called a succubus. In Arthurian legend Merlin's father was said to be an incubus. Incubi originated in Mesopotamian mythology but there are many similar creatures of other cultures such as the Brazilian boto or the trauco of Chile.

My favorite book featuring an incubus:

American Gods --by Neil Gaiman

Thursday, April 19, 2012

G: Goblins

A goblin is a mythical humanoide creature typically of malicious intentions and unsightly appearance. They are seldom friendly and often eat humans but their existence is more often wretched than synester. They are small, hardworking creatures who wish good to no one.

Hobgoblins are even smaller than regular goblin and can therefore get up to even more harmful mischeif

Amazing books involving Gablins:

Snuff --by Terry Pratchett
The Princess and the Goblin --by George MacDonald

In The Princess and the Goblin Goblins are repelled by singing:

Curdie's Song
'Ring! dod! bang!
Go the hammers' clang!
Hit and turn and bore!
Whizz and puff and roar!
Thus we rive the rocks,
Force the goblin locks. -
See the shining ore!
One, two, three -
Bright as gold can be!
Four, five, six -
Shovels, mattocks, picks!
Seven, eight, nine -
Light your lamp at mine.
Ten, eleven, twelve -
Loosely hold the helve.
We're the merry miner-boys,
Make the goblins hold their noise.'


'Hush! scush! scurry!
There you go in a hurry!
Gobble! gobble! goblin!
There you go a wobblin';
Hobble, hobble, hobblin' -
Cobble! cobble! cobblin'!
Hob-bob-goblin! -

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

F: Fair Folk

The Fair Folk are etherial human-like creatures who inhabit the earth. You might know them better as "Fairies", "Fay", "Faeries", or elves. Almost any mythical being with a vaguely human appearance could be considered one of the Fair Folk depending on which folklore or mythology you are following. Most often they are associated with the sorts of beings who live in faeryland: small, flutery things on wings, siren-like queens who entice young men away from their sweethearts, pointed eared beauties, mischevious imps who like to play tricks on people. However, they can also include more obviously dangerous creatures like goblins and trolls.

Even the more beautiful versions of the Fair Folk are more dangerous than benign. Among their most famous exploits is the changling --switching a human child with one of theirs and raising it as a sort of pampered pet while the human's parents are left with a tempormental faery wreaking havoc on their lives. They are also known to entice adults --particularly men--away from their lives with their honeysicle words and wild night dancing. Many of them can change shape and appear to be something harmless until it is too late. The simplest way to keep them from harming you is by keeping a bit of iron on you.

Two of my favorite books involving the Fair Folk:
A Midsummer Night's Dream --by William Shakespeare
Perlious Guard --by Elizabeth Marie Pope

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
--by John Keats

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
Alone and palely loitering;
The sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads
Full beautiful, a faery's child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long;
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery's song.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew;
And sure in language strange she said,
I love thee true.

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she gaz'd and sighed deep,
And there I shut her wild sad eyes--
So kiss'd to sleep.

And there we slumber'd on the moss,
And there I dream'd, ah woe betide,
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry'd--"La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their starv'd lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill side.

And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

E: Elephant

No, they aren't exactly mythical but they are AWESOME.

I've always quite loved elephants. I swear there is wisdom in those huge dark eyes. And they hold funeral wakes and cry over their dead. That is really amazing, especially for such a big powerful creature. They are the largest living land animals and yet they show many almost humanistic signs of intelligence such as play and tool making. It is no wonder that they symbolize wisdom in Asia.

Amazing story involving an elephant:
Water for Elephants

Curtsey of Samwise Gamgee:

Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house,
Nose like a snake.
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass.
Tree's crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth,
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years,
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphant am I,
If you ever meet me,
You wouln't forget me.
If you never do,
You won't think I'm true.
But ole' Oliphant am I,
And I never lie.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

D: Dragon

What? Falling behind? Me? I don't know what you're talking about.

Ok. Yes. Yes I do. I am sorry. There were some unforseen life circumstances (my own inner and outer dragons) that have been taking up all of my energy over the last week or so. I will do my best to catch up but that may mean doubling up some letters. Thank you for all your lovely comments. I will be making my rounds to catch up on your A-Z posts :)

Dragons are probably one of the most, if not the most, well known of mythical beings. Also they really existed. You've seen "dinasour" bones right? Giant lizards? Yeah. Dragons. Whether or not they lived on earth at the same time as humans I don't think people told stories about them for hundreds of years because they didn't know they existed. There was some sort of deep DNA memory or something going on there.

A dragon is a giant lizard, usually with wings and the ability to breath fire. In some legends they have feathers or no front arms. In most stories they are depicted as destructive, wiley monsters who hoard treasure, live in caves, eat virgins, and ransack villages. They are also wise, however, if a hero can ever get close enough to one to ask a question. If they know which question won't get them eaten.

Every culture has its own Dragon legends. Britain alone has two dragon stories that all but define parts of it's culture; St. George and the the Dragon and the Red Dragon of Wales. Even King Arthur has the sirname of "Pendragon" and European dragons are the most well known in modern fiction.

Chinese and Japanese dragons are more serpantine creatures without wings. They are usually associated with water and are powerful but lucky more than dangerous.

Most Russian dragons have three heads.

Two of my favorite books featuring dragons:
Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame.

Here There Be Dragons
The ocean's blue gleams against scales of green,
My reflection dripping in saliva.
Teeth gnash. I sharpen my claws for hunting.
My prey struggles against an armada
of chains welded with fear made mania.
I can not escape the shrieks of my heart ,
self lit fires impeding nirvana.
I am imprisoned by a breath scorched art
of my creation; poison bled from my own dart.

Growling the secrets of safety, of lies,
My longing becomes a song of restrain.
Devouring the stinging salt of sighs,
a gust of destruction guards in my veins,
That place of horror where my mind still reigns,
A key buried deep in a weave of nest,
the chord pulling tight against heavy strains.
Here there be dragons, warring in my breast.
But past the sea's horizon lies eternal rest.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C: Centaur

A centaur is a creature from Greek mythology with a horse body and the torso, head, and arms of a man. They are also adopted by Roman mythology. Most centaurs are associated with wisdom and learning. They were also warriors and sometimes said to lead chariots into battle. A similar creature in Indian mythology is called a Kinnaras.

My favorite book with a centaur in it: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. The children are allowed to actually ride a centaur in this book. A very great honor indeed.

This fantastic centaur was drawn by my fantastic sister Hallel Tyler for your viewing pleasure

Monday, April 2, 2012

B: Banshee

Most of know banshees as faery women in Irish folk lore who wail, foretelling a death. The details, however, vary a lot depending on the particular story.

In the older legends a banshee heralds a death rather than foretells it so that family members far away can be warned before they are sent the official news. In some legends banshees are old hags and others beautiful young women or they can change between the two as they will. Sometimes a banshee is a ghost and sometimes a faery. Sometimes they wail in groups when someone important dies. In Scottish folk lore they are washer women who can be found washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. They usually wear long robes and hoods in blacks, grays, or reds.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A: Avatar

No, I don't mean the blue people.

Or the amazingly cheesy anime series involving Ang, the last airbender.

I don't mean your RPG characters or the icon on your yahoo page either.

I mean the root for these uses of the word; a hindu gods' phyisical form on earth.

Most often the term refers to manifestations of Vishnu, the supreme God, coming to restore the earth to it's natural order. With that in mind you can see how the blue people movie got its title. A story about restoring the earth to ballence. Characters manifest themselves in a new form in order to inhabit the planet.

The Last Airbender probably follows the root the closest. Ang is the Avator of his world, incarnated in the form of a boy to restore ballance to the world.

Even RPG characters have some remnant of the root left. When the god Ganesha manifests on earth he is said to destroy demons.

As for yahoo . . . well it's representing you in the world of the internet where you, like the hindu gods, can't exist in your current form, but I don't know if forwarding those cat pictures to everyong you know really counts as restoring ballence to the universe.

p.s. It is not April Fools. Do not be warned of the coming mayem the day will bring.