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C is for Cockatrice.....

Couldn't pass up a supernatural creature with a name like Cockatrice----

A bit of a mixed-up mutt, this one.... basic description: a two-legged, winged dragon with the head of a rooster-- supposedly born from a rooster's egg (the most distinctive feature of the egg is its lack of yolk) and incubated by a toad/snake (depending on the story). Legend says, if you find an egg that has no yolk, you're supposed to toss it over your house, making sure it doesn't touch the roof.. this is the only way to prevent the hatching of a cockatrice.

This beast's been around since about the 12th century, the story of its "birth" varying from place to place. And, over the centuries its physical description and poisonous traits have been compared to the ancient Basilisk--- many times the two creatures have been synonymous and even inter-changeable... though a Basilisk is most often depicted without wings and its creation is from a snake's egg that is incubated by a cockerel.

The first mention of a Cockatrice in English was John Wycliffe's 1382 translation of the Bible. Though, later translations replace Cockatrice with Basilisk and eventually with Viper.

Like Medusa from mythology or the Basilisk from the Harry Potter series, the Cockatrice kills people by petrifying them, or turning them into stone. Supposedly, the only creature immune to the "death-darting eye of Cockatrice" is the weasel.


The crowing of a rooster means instant death to a Cockatrice.


And, if you ever manage to find a Cockatrice that's died by the crowing of a rooster, cremate it and hold onto its ashes--- apparently, the ashes of a Cockatrice are profitable in Alchemy for the changing of metals----anybody want to risk certain death to be able to change iron into gold????


Cockerel's Crow

Keep your wits should you find a hatched cockerel's egg,
keep a look-out for old mother toad,
beware this beast's eye-to-eye stare,
or, so the age-old legends go.

The creature striding before you,
with death-darting eyes gazing fierce,
will curdle your very life's blood,
and ossify even your tears.

                                                                                                           ---e.a.s. demers

Comments

  1. Delightful!! I'm learning so much on my A-Z travels!

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    Replies
    1. PS - how would you know if your egg had no yolk without cracking it open first? Those medieval folk eh....

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    2. Thanks! Yes, there is always a wealth of information to discover during A-Z! :-)

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    3. Oh, and I'm sure they "candled" the eggs to see if there was a yolk---- though, why they determined a yolk-less egg was laid by a rooster, I guess we'll never know....Oh them Medieval folks, lol....

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  2. i wonder if jk knew about the weasel being immune part when she picked ginny weasley to be the one who unleashed the basilisk? pretty cool! we could use a bit of adventure lets buy a rooster and hit the road!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good point! We may have to write to Ms. Rowling and inquire about that..... and I'm def up for a road trip with a rooster!!!

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  3. We've our own version of that critter near where we live. Actually, when you were up this way, you were within 30 minutes of it. They call it the Piasa Bird. It looks to be part dragon, part snake, part nightmare. The original version was painted on the cliffs north of Alton, Ill., and recorded in early journals. The recreation is pretty impressive.

    Cool post!

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    Replies
    1. REALLY???? Oh, man... I would have loved to have seen that--- too bad I was stuck doing business stuff, seeing that would have been an awesome way to spend the trip.

      Delete

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