Monster of the Week: The Griffin

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Griffin mosaic from the Acropolis of Rhodes, ca. 200 BCE

Griffin mosaic, Acropolis of Rhodes, ca 200 BCE

…but the Griffin hath a body bigger than eight Lions, and stronger than 100 Eagles, for certainly he will bear to his Nest flying, a Horse and a Man upon his Back, or two Oxen yoked together as they go to Plow, for he hath long Nails on his Feet as great as Horns of Oxen, and of those they make Cups there to drink with, and of his Ribs they do make Bows to shoot with.
—John Mandeville, The Voyages and Travels, 1357

The Griffin (also Griffon, Gryphon, or Grype, among other variants) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion, and the head, wings, and talons of an eagle. Depictions of the griffin date back to 3rd millennium BCE Egypt and earlier, but are also found in ancient Greece, India, and elsewhere around the world. It is said that the feather of a Griffin can cure blindness, and poison will change color when served in a cup fashioned from a Griffin’s talon. Continue reading

The Changeling

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changeling2A mother had her child taken from the cradle by elves. In its place they laid a changeling with a thick head and staring eyes who would do nothing but eat and drink. In distress she went to a neighbor and asked for advice. The neighbor told her to carry the changeling into the kitchen, set it on the hearth, make a fire, and boil water in two eggshells. That should make the changeling laugh, and if he laughs it will be all over with him. The woman did everything just as her neighbor said. When she placed the eggshells filled with water over the fire, the blockhead said:

Nun bin ich so alt    Now I am as old
Wie der Westerwald,    As the Wester Wood,
Und hab nicht gesehen,    But have never seen anyone
Daß jemand in Schalen kocht.    Cooking in shells! Continue reading