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Famous French Dragons
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- The Vouivre [a.k.a Wouive] is a French Wyvern depicted with the head and upper body of a beautiful woman. The word derives from the old Gaulish Wouivre, meaning spirit. A ruby, blood red carbuncle set between her eyes helps her find her way through the mortal Underworld. The jewel guides this protector of earth and all living things through the mortal underworld. Her scales sparkled like diamonds and she had a crown of pearls. On some occasions the dragon became depicted as half-woman and half winged snake.
- The Tarasque haunted the banks of the River Rhone in Nerluc. It had six limbs and was spawned by the serpent Leviathan, but in time it came to haunt Southern France. A traveller named Jacques du Bois was journeying along the banks of that river one evening, and he was so focused on the terrifying rumours he had heard of the Tarasque that he failed to hear a deep rumble. Suddenly the Tarasque appeared and with a deafening roar, it ignited the luckless du Bois with a steady stream of fire.
Ancient postcard showing the Tarasque
St. Martha, whose inspirational preaching had brought joy and hope to all that met her, was implored to free the townspeople of Nerluc. When she encountered the Tarsque, she held two branches up in the shape of a cross and the mighty creature was subdued. She led it back to Nerluc with a woven collar with braids of her hair and the townspeople grew fearless, kicking and hurling rocks at the Tarasque. It cowered in fright and St. Martha pleaded with the people to forgive the beast, but to no avail.
Another picture of the Tarasque
The Tarasque eventually rolled over and died. Nerluc is now called Tarascon, and a tarasque festival is held each Whitsun to remember their former oppressor.
- The Peluda was an amphibious dragon, also known as the shaggy beast because it was covered with countless numbers of spiny bristles. It had refused to enter Noah's Ark, yet had miraculously survived the Great Flood and was now terrorizing the lands of La Ferte-Bernard. It could kill a person with a mighty thwack of its tail, and a single blast of flame could incinerate fields for miles around.
It started to devour fair maidens, but the fateful morning arrived where one of those fair maiden's valiant fiance sprang up to do battle with the Peluda. The bold youth did not aim for the dragon's throat, but hacked at its mighty tail instead. Immediately, the Peluda keeled over and perished, as its tail was the only part of its body that was susceptible to mortal injury. Its conqueror was hailed as a hero and there was much rejoicing in La Ferte-Bernard. Needless to say he and his bride lived happily ever after.
1. Dragons: A Natural History by Dr. Karl Shuker