[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou don’t need to brandish a wand to meet creatures of legend.we defines you the list of some mythical beasts and their origin.
Basilisk, India Basilisk, India
Storytellers and naturalists told of this baleful man-eating snake, including Pliny the Elder, Chaucer and Leonardo da Vinci. This millennia-old monster may have been originally inspired by the king cobra, an aggressive snake known for its high-arching attack pattern and unsettling, roaring hiss. Steer clear of snake charmers and seek the endangered king cobra in its natural habitat, on a wildlife-watching trip to India’s steamy jungles. But keep a safe distance , it’s not the time to discover if you, like the bespectacled wizard, can commune with reptiles.
When translucent newt-like creatures were first seen darting through Slovenia’s caverns, they were rumoured to be baby dragons. Locals imagined dragons born in the sea could be swept among the rock pools of Slovenia’s cave systems. Now we know these blind amphibians as olm, and their remarkable properties are worthy of the legends. They navigate via electrical signals, they can last a decade without feeding, and their surprisingly long lifespan is keenly researched in the hope of shedding light on the ageing process.
Mermaids, the Philippines
When Christopher Columbus first squinted out at a manatee, he sniffed that mermaids were not as attractive as he’d hoped. Columbus may not have been impressed by these cavorting sea creatures but dugongs and manatees take the scientific name ‘Sirenia’ after the comely Sirens that lured sailors to their doom in ancient Greek myth. Before you chortle that sailors could mistake an ungainly looking dugong whose closest relative is the elephant for a mermaid, observe how gracefully they somersault and nose through sea grasses in the Philippines.
Pointy-toothed counts emblazon souvenirs in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. But it’s the vârcolac, or werewolf, that truly caused peasants of old to secure their shutters at sundown. The sight of a grey wolf elicits primal fear in many, so it’s no wonder that old superstitions surrounded this fearsome predator. And while modern Romanians would sniff at the vârcolac, an uneasy relationship with wolves remains. Few wolf attacks on humans have been verified, but nonetheless, media hype puts these mostly elusive canines at risk from hunters eager to cull the threat.
Tales of the kraken – a colossal squid with a taste for human flesh spread from Norway across the seafaring world (getting larger and gorier with each telling). Central and South America have the most vicious real life kraken. Numerous fishermen have been injured by the saw-sharp beak of the diablo rojo (red devil) or Humboldt squid. These carnivorous cephalopods move at 25km/h, form shoals of up to 1000, and flicker red when furious. They can bulge as big as 2m long not island-sized, as described in the old Norse tales, but certainly large enough to sink your dinghy.
Don’t say a word about those pizza-eating ninjas. The original humanoid turtles are Japanese kappa. These folorn turtle-people play childish pranks or (if you’re unlucky) wreak misfortune. Fortunately Japanese folklore describes the kappa as easily bribed with soba noodles or cucumber. Kappa statues grace shrines around Japan, depicting them as gnomes with shells, suggesting these sea spirits are inspired by loggerhead turtles. These real-life kappa inhabit the coasts of Japan’s subtropical islands, where the sight of themspreads more delight than mischief.