Here be Dragons Day 13. The dragon slayers.

Dragon

Welcome to Here be Dragons Day 13.

Today my thoughts are on the dragon slayers who achieved fame, fortune, and heroic status for generations.

The triumph of good over evil, of the pure in heart over the corrupt and wicked, and the acceptance of the fate the gods have set. All these elements feature in the stories of the dragon slayers.

I like to think of them as the bardic star feature, the poet’s gut grabbing tale, or the musician’s ballad to silence the halls.

Courage, tragedy, and love haunt these tales.

1512_Meister_des_Döbelner_George and the Dragon

The dragon slayer is part of many cultures over many centuries. I have chosen two to consider.

The first dragon slayer I have chosen is the only female one I could find. Margaret of Antioch also known as Saint Marina.
This legend is about two thousand years old. The story takes place in Antioch, at the time part of the Roman Empire. The heroine Margaret, born to a wealthy family, was nursed and tutored by a pious Christian woman. Margaret became Christian and dedicated her virginity to God.
Her infuriated father renounced her as she had ruined any hopes of a good marriage.
To survive Margaret lived with her nurse and kept a flock of sheep. She lived humbly and simply but didn’t stay safe for long. Her beauty caught the eye of the Roman Governor who asked for her hand in marriage on the condition she would renounce her faith.
Margaret refused. She was taken captive and tortured in an effort to make her give up her beliefs. Legend says she was swallowed whole by Satan in the guise of a mighty serpent, but Margaret’s heavy cross around her neck gave him indigestion and she appeared whole and healthy as he spewed her forth, and in great agony the serpent died.

Dragon and Saint_Margaret_sculpture

Margaret is not a typical dragon slayer, the event seems almost accidental but her courage shines forth. Sadly, it did not win her a long and happy life. She was executed in AD304 and elevated to the status of Saint. I think this medieval image of Margaret and the dragon is exquisite, even if someone has loped off one of her arms.

C-shaped_jade_dragon

My next dragon slayer is Sigurd, son of Sigmund and this is a story of courage and revenge. This little story is part of a much longer Nordic saga involving a lot of treasure and a magic ring. I don’t have time to address all of it here so take it from me Sigurd had good grounds to agree to destroy the evil dragon form of Fafnir. BTW, don’t read this one with your morning toast or mid morning snack, it’s bloody.

The hero visited the smith Regin and instructs him to make a sword. This is done and Sigurd tests the blade by striking the smith’s anvil. The sword shatters. Three blades are made one after the other and each breaks when tested. Finally, Sigurd asks Regin to forge a blade from all the shards of the others that broke. The smith does so and the sword he makes, called Gram slices through the anvil when Sigurd tests it. This is a true blade for a dragon slayer.

Regin advises Sigurd to dig a pit and disguise it. Sigurd must wait down in hiding for the dragon to cross the pit trap. Then, unseen by the beast, he will be able to stab the dragon. The smith also asks for the dragon’s heart for himself.

Odin, in disguise as an old man warns Sigurd to dig trenches to drain the dragon’s blood so he will not drown in the bottom of a bloody pit. Father Odin also instructs the hero to bathe in the blood, too, as it will give invulnerability.

Sigurd follows all the instructions and despite the dangers kills his dragon. He bathes in the blood and even drinks some, which gives him both invulnerability and the blessing of being able to understand the language of birds. True to his promise to take the heart to the smith he cuts it from the dragon’s chest.

The birds tweet to Sigurd the smith, Regin, will betray him and is plotting his death due to the same magic that created the dragon. Sigurd kills the smith, roasts the dragon’s heart and eats some, and this gives him the gift of prophecy.

This dragon slayer attained great gifts for killing the mighty beast

Dragonslayervermithraxp

Tomorrow it is Paranormal Romance Thursday and my guest will be Lyndi Lamont and I will be visiting with Flossie Benton Rogers.

 

Thanks for reading.

Daisy Banks

Image attributes.

Green dragon
Image ID : 11298164 
Image Type : Stock Photo 
Copyright : Sattapapan Tratong
Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_tratong'>tratong / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
"Saint Margaret sculpture" by Postdlf from w. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saint_Margaret_sculpture.jpg#/media/File:Saint_Margaret_sculpture.jpg
"1512 Meister des Döbelner Hochaltars Hl. Georg zu Pferde anagoria" by Meister des Döbelner Hochaltars - anagoria. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1512_Meister_des_D%C3%B6belner_Hochaltars_Hl._Georg_zu_Pferde_anagoria.JPG#/media/File:1512_Meister_des_D
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dacian_Gold_Bracelet_at_the_National_Museum_of_Romanian_History_2011_-_5.jpg#/media/File:Dacian_Gold_Bracelet_at_the_National_Museum_of_Romanian_History_2011_-_5.jpg
"Dragonslayervermithraxp" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dragonslayervermithraxp.jpg#/media/File:Dragonslayervermithraxp.jpg

 

Here be Dragons Day 6. A young god, a tortoise, and an emerald dragon.

Dragon

A tale where the dragon helps the good guy is a delight. My last few posts have been full of the cruelty and greedy eating habits of dragons. There will be more of that to come I’m afraid as dragon legends are full of such things, but today I want to share a story from the East, where dragons have a different reputation.

An ancient Chinese legend tells of the time that Tien Ti, Emperor of Heaven, looked down upon the world and found the wickedness of the human race too much to countenance. Determined to put the situation to rights Tien Ti sent a great flood to cover the world and punish the wretched humans.
At his order the pillars supporting the world cracked, rice fields were submerged in endless rain, tiled buildings collapsed, and rivers overflowed their banks sweeping all away. Soon much of the earth lay submerged.
The few humans left clung on where they could and pleaded for help, beseeching the gods to save them. One young god named Yu heard the cries and they moved him to great pity. He pleaded with Tien Ti to end the flood and save the poor humans.
Tien Ti took a fresh look at what was left of the earth and agreed the flood had done all it should. He relented his anger and set the youthful god Yu a task. To help the young god in his work, Tien Ti sent a gigantic black tortoise to earth. On its back the tortoise carried a magic kind of soil which when scattered would soak up the floodwater and form new land. Along with the tortoise, Tien Ti summoned a dragon, one with emerald scales and wings, who he commanded to help the youthful god Yu in his work to sculpt the new land.
Yu and the dragon descended to the watery world. For thirty years they travelled with the tortoise all across the globe working tirelessly to distribute the magical earth and create new lands for the humans to inhabit. Yu worked so hard it is said “the wind alone was his comb and the soft rains his bath.”

Chinese green dragon flying

With the help and power of his emerald green dragon Yu made mountains, carved great gorges, and spread wide and fertile plains using earth from the tortoise’s back. Yu’s flying dragon dragged his glistening tail through the new land to etch the path of rivers and scooped out valleys to create a glistening and beautiful world.

I have to say it is lovely to see a dragon in such a positive light. Tomorrow is Tuesday Treat and I’ll be offering you a short snippet from my new story Serving the Serpent. You can read Chapter 1 for free now, up on the my books section. You can also pre order a copy of this sweet, fantasy tale if you wish and get a generous 20% early bird discount too.

HRservingtheserpent

Click to pre-order.

Thanks for reading.
Daisy Banks

Here be Dragons Day 3. What came first? The dragon or the egg?

Dragon

What came first? The dragon the egg?

Dragons nest in the warmth of gold with the mineral extracts obtained from precious stones surrounding them and their offspring. How do I know this? My best current answer is I am not sure, but I know when I close my eyes and see nesting dragons they are curled on a treasure pile and wear a smile.
I know there are stories of baby dragons, young dragons and teenage dragons, but in all those tales I don’t recall how the babies came to be.
I am certain as a serpentine race dragons lay eggs.

dragon treasure

Chinese dragon lore has it that dragons breed in the form of small snakes. They lay their eggs near riverbanks. The eggs glitter in the sun like gems but are soon covered by sandy soil. They take up to a thousand years to hatch. The birthing process of dragons creates tempests and storms with hugh lightning bolts and thunder to deafen a man. Finally, when the eggs all hatch the tiny serpents wriggle from the shells and grow with supernatural speed to enable them to take to the sky, their natural environment.

dragon on a cloud

In my story, Serving the Serpent, the nesting chamber has to be made ready for the dragons. Since the chamber was closed years before by an earth tremor this takes considerable effort and even then doesn’t promise immediate success.

HRservingtheserpentYou can pre order Serving the Serpent by clicking on the cover. Chapter one is available for you to read on the my books pages. Take a peek.

Tomorrow is Paranormal Romance Thursday and my guest will be Cassandra Ulrich  so do stop by.

Here be Dragons. Day 1.

Here be Dragons.

Dragon

Welcome to the first in my series of dragon posts. I hope these will help get you in the mood for the release of my new book, Serving the Serpent, published by Liquid Silver Books on the 23rd of November.

You will find dragon posts here each day this month except Thursdays when I have guest bloggers from the Paranormal Romance Tour and Sundays when I participate in Sexy Snippets. Saying that, Serving the Serpent is a sweet story suitable for all those young at heart.

My fascination with dragons goes back a long way. I think it began as I read Norse myths and legends as a child. The dragon motif seemed ever present and I always found it beautiful. I’ll be using some of those images in the blogs as they go on this month.
Seemingly, or at least as far as is presently known, the term ‘Here be Dragons’ was first used in the late medieval period. If you know of an earlier use of that specific term than 1503 please let me know. The words were accompanied by a little sketch of a serpent or sea monster as the phrase was used on early maps to denote places of danger. Some say the term refers to actual beasts, others say it was a general warning of places where difficulties could be expected for the adventuring crews who sailed and mapped the globe.

 map of here be dragons

I find old maps like the one in the image fascinating. The cartographers in the past made exquisite creations to depict the world and of course, they only had the sea captain’s descriptions to work with.

Strangely enough modern sightings of flying dragons are not as rare as you might think. In the USA and in South America reports of gigantic winged creatures have been made in the modern era. In Wales in the early 1980s a rash of unexplained sheep deaths were blamed by some on a local serpent with a taste for lamb.
In the next few days I’ll be looking deeper into dragon myth, dragon lore and its international occurrences.
Do call back tomorrow to find out about the earliest known representations of dragons.

HRservingtheserpent

Available for pre order with a 20% discount as of today.

Click the cover to pre order your copy.

Chapter One of Serving the Serpent is up on the ‘My Books page’ for you to read. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Daisy Banks

Image attributions.

Dragon
Image ID : 23104292 
Image Type : Stock Vector 
Copyright : dvarg
Map
Image ID : 18731216 
Image Type : Stock Photo 
Copyright : Andrey Armyagov