Here be Dragons. Day 12. The Celtic Dragon.

Dragon

Welcome to Here be Dragons Day 12.

Release day for Serving the Serpent is edging closer and so today I wanted to spend a little time looking at Celtic dragon lore and legend. My dragons in Serving the Serpent have many of the qualities of Celtic dragons, understandable I suppose as those dragon stories were ones I read or heard in my early years.

dragon treasure

Celtic dragons are fearsome beasts with four legs, a long tail and the power to breath fire or poisonous gas at their foes. They come in various colours but all of them are fierce and determined. Each dragon collects a hoard of treasure. In many legends the dragon sleeps on a bed of gold and gems.

In the UK dragons are often associated with the land; even the rocks are sometimes called the bones of the dragon. I am sure you remember the scene in Excalibur when the great wizard Merlin conjures the mist known as the dragon’s breath.

In Celtic legend dragons are regarded as the most powerful of creatures linking heaven and earth. This idea is behind the motif so often seen in Celtic art of the serpent swallowing it’s tail.

Celtic DragonSome versions of the dragons have more than one head. A truly scary prospect. Luckily most do not. In Celtic legends dragons have the ability to speak with humans and strangely some are poets or bards. They have a great appreciation for poetry and music, so much so it can lull them to sleep. In many legends dragons spend a great deal of time asleep and dreaming.

As a child I enjoyed dragon stories and read as many as I could. I enjoyed the opportunity to write a dragon tale of my own. Tomorrow I’ll be looking at the battles between dragons and humans and how some of them turned out.

Thanks for reading.

Daisy Banks

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9 thoughts on “Here be Dragons. Day 12. The Celtic Dragon.

    • Hi Linda, nice to meet you and thanks so much for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I like the film Dragonheart too. I have found many legends that tell of the dragon’s weak spot.
      It is often the one hope for the heroic knight battling agains such a powerful foe.

    • Hi Linda, nice to meet you. I’m glad you liked the post. I too like the film Dragonheart. I think the idea of the drgon’s weakspot is integral in many legens. Something to
      give the hero a little hope when battling such a frightening foe.

  1. I love Celtic dragons, especially the ones with poetic tendencies or that speak to bards. That they come in different colors is also appealing. I’m loving all your dragon posts, Daisy. Great job.

    • Thanks for commenting, Flossie. I think the most famous tale of the different coloured dragons has to be that of the red and the white dragon battling beneath Vortigan’s new castle.
      I love that story and the role of the young Merlin in identifying why the castle walls kept falling down.

  2. I remember that scene in Excalibur well….the dragon’s breath. I also remember reading fantasy novels in my 20s where dragons were depicted as befriending bards….their love of poetry and music evident. And then, of course, there were the fearsome dragons that wreaked havoc on villagers. As for the idea of a multi-headed dragon *shudder*….I would hope that beast would be a lover of the arts instead of violence! 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting, Mae. I still watch Excalibur now and then, that charm of making is so compelling. I’ve found a couple of legends with bardic dragons who were shape shifters. I’ll
      try to share them as I go on with these posts.

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