1342 articles found

Image of imaginative drollery (or grotesque)

December 20 – Drolleries

Last week we featured a small dragon which comes from our 15th century Rouen Book of Hours (ms38938). This devotional text includes 13 large full-page illuminated miniatures. The margins of […]

Image of a salamander

December 19 – Salamander

While salamanders are real creatures (lizards), within folklore they have been endowed with remarkable attributes, mainly their ability to withstand fire. The image of a salamander was often used within […]

Photo of the Kelpies, mythical water beasts guarding the entrance to the Forth and Clyde Canal

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 […]

Image of a basilisk (with added festive hat)

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 […]

Drawing of half lion - half fish

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 […]

Image of a headless man with a cyclops, sciapod, and a cynocephaly

December 15 – Blemmye

Though perhaps not strictly a fantastic beast, we had to include the unusual blemmye in this calendar. The blemmye or mythical headless man has been known by various names and […]

Image of Cerberus

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 […]

black and white snow-covered path with trees, figure in distance

Borrowing Library books over winter vacation?

Image: The Long Walk St Andrews, ‘ID’: ms38491-1-12 (1913). If you are going away over the winter vacation and plan to take Library books with you, please remember that all Library books and other items can still be…

Dragon with added tinsel

December 12 – Dragons in print

The dragon is perhaps the most iconic of the fantastic beasts. This winged legendary creature, known for its fire breathing abilities is common to most cultures around the world, and […]