The recent launch of our Mythical Collection, and particularly the Drakon scarves, got us thinking about the origin of this fantasy creature. Dragon stories have featured in myths and legends for many years and across many cultures. In the West, the dragon usually causes mischief or reigns terror and is eventually conquered in some heroic form. In contrast, dragons can also be seen as symbols of good luck, wisdom and strength.
We delve into some of the myths and legends whispered through generations around the world.
In the poem Grimnismál, Nídhöggr is a dragon-like serpent, living beneath a mythical world tree that connects the nine realms in Norse cosmology. The roots of the tree trap the beasts of the world beneath it. The dragon is said to have gnawed at the root of the tree underneath, trying to get a message to the eagle living at the top of the tree, which causes the tree hardship.
Though technically not a winged dragon, the Taniwha (pronounced Ta-nee-far) stems from Maori legend as a water beast and are said to be reptile-like creatures. The Taniwha lurk in rivers and oceans, sometimes disguised as logs in the water.
"The roots of the tree trap the beasts of the world beneath it."
A Welsh story originating from around the 12th or 13th century where King Lludd goes on a quest to put a stop to the torturous screams caused by a red dragon fighting with a foreign white dragon. The screams are so horrid they cause pregnant women all over Britain to miscarry, so the story goes. Lludd sets a trap for the dragons and buries them in a stone chest in the earth, restoring peace to the world.
Legend has it, in a time before China had any lakes or rivers, there were four sea dragons. These dragons loved the people folk and were sad to see the people struggling to feed themselves due to lack of rainfall for their crops. The dragons tried and tried to convince the gods to bring rain to the earth and even tried spraying sea water over the crops themselves. However, the gods were not happy with their efforts and imprisoned the dragons within mountains. The dragons eventually turned themselves into rivers which flowed from the mountains, back to the sea.