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Dragons - Fact or Fiction?

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 214

Fans of the "Lord of the Rings" movies are eagerly awaiting the release of "The Hobbit", the prequel to the LOTR books. I read the book as a child and was scared silly by the dragon Smaug. It was my first exposure to dragon lore, and I was confused as to whether dragons actually existed or not. I still am.

For a creature that is not supposed to have ever existed, it sure exists in the folklore of many cultures. I've always believed that if three or more people tell you the same story, there must be some truth to it. So I think I believe in dragons.

There seems to be two distinct species of dragons in art and literature. The European dragon, the kind Smaug is, has usually two sets of legs, huge wings and breathes fire. It is usually seen as evil and sharp-eyed. The Greek word "drakein" means to see clearly, like Smaug seeing that a tiny bit of the treasure in the Lonely Mountain was missing.

The Asian, or Chinese dragon is more snake or serpent like. Instead of breathing fire, these dragons were thought to possess magical powers and some could speak. They were said to be very wise and hold power over nature. Chinese dragons sound much nicer than their European brethren.

So what made the Ancients think that such creatures existed? The obvious ancestor to the dragon would be the Dinosaur. But they were not discovered until the 19th century, so they did not know about them. Perhaps the large Nile Crocodile inspired them. Fishermen at sea may have seen a battle between two large sea creatures and thought them to be dragons. The Komodo Dragon at 20 feet long and weighing up to 5 tons certainly looks like a dragon.

Some psychologists believe the belief in dragons comes from a common fear in all primates of snakes, big birds and large felines. That combination in a nightmare could easily form a dragon.

So, the explanation for the ancient belief in dragons is probably very simple. As Mankind began to dig into the earth to plant crops, to look for gold and gems, they began to come upon the fossils of prehistoric creatures. Not knowing what creature belonged in these bones, legends began to grow about them. The bones probably reinforced the nightmares. The bones and fossils were found worldwide, hence the widespread belief in dragons.

No matter how mundane their roots may be, I will still wait in line to watch Smaug battle the dwarfs. That guy can be a real nightmare.

If you love dragons as much as I do, perhaps you would like to make a good home for one. At longwoodmarkets.com, we have a nice assortment of dragons that would love to meet you! Come and visit us at http://longwoodmarkets.com

Source: EzineArticles
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