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Dragon bones from the Pen-tsaou-kang-rmi, given on pp. 244 -246.)

The annexed wood-cut of the skeleton of an Iguanodon, found in a coal-mine at Bernissant, exactly illustrates the semi-erect position which the dragon of fable is reported to have assumed.

Among the latest surviving beliefs of this nature may be cited the dragon of Wantley (Wharncliffe, Yorkshire), who was slain by More of More Hall. He procured a suit of armour studded with spikes, and, proceeding to the well where the dragon had his lair, kicked him in the mouth, where alone he was vulnerable. The Lambton worm is another instance.

The explanations of these legends attempted by mythologists, based on the supposition that the dragons which are their subjects are simply symbolic of natural phenomena, are ingenious, and perhaps in many instances sufficient, but do not affect, as I have before remarked, the primitive and conserved belief in their previous existence as a reality.

Thus, the author of British Goblins suggests that for the prototype of the red dragon, which haunted caverns and guarded treasures in Wales, we must look in the lightning caverns of old Aryan fable, and deduces the fire-darting dragons of modern lore from the shining hammer of Thor, and the lightning spear of Odin.

The stories of ladies guarded by dragons are explained on the supposition* that the ladies were kept in the secured part of the feudal castles, round which the walls wound, and that an adventurer had to scale the walls to gain access to the ladies; when there were two walls, the authors of romance said that the assaulter overcame two dragons, and so on. St. Romain, when he delivered the city of Rouen from a dragon which lived in the river Seine, simply protected the city from an overflow, just as Apollo (the snn) is symbolically said to have destroyed the serpent Python, or, in other words, dried up an overflow. And the dragon of Wantley is supposed by Dr. Percy to have been an overgrown rascally attorney, who cheated some children of their estates, but was compelled to disgorge by a gentleman named More, who went against him armed with the " spikes of the law," whereupon the attorney died of vexation.

* Rev. Dr. Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, London.

Furthermore, our dragoons were so denominated because they were armed with dragons, that is, with short muskets, which spouted fire like dragons, and had the head of a dragon wrought upon their muzzle.

This fanciful device occurs also among the Chinese, for a Jesuit, who accompanied the Emperor of China on a journey into Western Tartary in 1683, says, "This was the reason of his coming into their country with so great an army, and such vast military preparations; he having commanded several pieces of cannon to be brought, in order for them to be discharged from time to time in the valleys; purposely that the noise and fire, issuing from the mouths of the dragons, with which they were adorned, might spread terror around."

Though dragons have completely dropped out of all modern works on natural history, they were still retained and regarded as quite orthodox until a little before the time of Cuvier; specimens, doubtless fabricated like the ingeniously constructed mermaid of Mr. Barnum, were exhibited in the museums; and voyagers occasionally brought back, as authentic stories of their existence, fables which had percolated through time and nations until they had found a home in people so remote from their starting point as to cause a complete obliteration of their passage and origin.

For instance, Pigafetta, in a report of the kingdom of Congo,* " gathered out of the discourses of Mr. E. Lopes, a Portuguese," speaking of the province of Bemba, which he defines as "on the sea coast from the river Ambrize, until the river Coanza towards the south," says of serpents, "There are also certain other creatures which, being as big as rams, have wings like dragons, with long tails, and long chaps, and divers rows of teeth, and feed upon raw flesh. Their colour is blue and green, their skin painted like scales, and they have two feet but no more.* The Pagan negroes used to worship them as gods, and at this day you may see divers of them that are kept for a marvel. And because they are very rare, the chief lords there curiously preserve them, and suffer the people to worship them, which tendeth greatly to their profits by reason of the gifts and oblations which the people offer unto them."

* The Harleian Collection of Travel*, vol. ii. p. 457. 1745.

And John Barbot, Agent-General of the Royal Company of Africa, in his description of the coasts of South Guinea,f says: "Some blacks assuring me that they (i.e. snakes) were thirty feet long. They also told me there are winged serpents or dragons having a forked tail and a prodigious wide mouth, full of sharp teeth, extremely mischievous to mankind, and more particularly to small children. If we may credit this account of the blacks, they are of the same sort of winged serpents which some authors tell us are to be found in Abyssinia, being very great enemies to the elephants. Some such serpents have been seen about the liver Senegal, and they are adorned and worshipped as snakes are at Wida or Fida, that is, in a most religious manner."

Ulysses Aldrovandus,{ who published a large folio volume on serpents and dragons, entirely believed in the existence of the latter, and gives two wood engravings of a specimen which he professes to have received in the year 1551, of a true dried .^Ethiopian dragon.

* The italics are mine.

f Churchill, Collection of Voyagee, vol. v. p. 213; London, 1746. J Ulyasis Aldrovandi Serpenlum et Draconum Historice; Bououiee, 1640.

He describes it as having two feet armed with claws, and two ears, with five prominent and conspicuous tubercles on the back. The whole was ornamented with green and dusky scales. Above, it bore wings fit for flight, and had a long and flexible tail, coloured with yellowish scales, such as shone on the belly and throat. The mouth was provided with sharp teeth, the inferior part of the head, towards the ears, was even, the pupil of the eye black, with a tawny surrounding, and the nostrils were two in number, and open.

He criticises Ammianus Marcellinus for his disbelief in winged dragons, and states in further justification of his censure that he had heard, from men worthy of confidence, that in that portion of Pistorian territory called Cotone, a great dragon was seen whose wings were interwoven with sinews a cubit in length, and were of considerable width; this beast also possessed two short feet provided with claws like those of an eagle. The whole animal was covered with scales. The gaping mouth was furnished with big teeth, it had ears, and was as big as a hairy bear. Aldrovandus sustains his argument by quotations from the classics and reference to more recent authors. He quotes Isidorus as stating that the winged Arabian serpents were called Sirens, while their venom was so effective that their bite was attended by death rather than pain; this confirms the account of Solinus.

He instances Gesner as saying that, in 1543, he understood that a kind of dragon appeared near Styria, within the confines of Germany, which had feet like lizards, and wings after the fashion of a bat, with an incurable bite, and says these statements are confirmed by Froschonerus in his work on Styria (idque Froschonerus ex Bibliophila Stirio narrabat). He classes dragons (which he considers as essentially winged animals) either as footless or possessing two or four feet.

He refers to a description by Scaliger* of a species of serpent four feet long, and as thick as a man's arm, with cartilaginous wings pendent from the sides. He also mentions an account by Brodeus, of a winged dragon which was brought to Francis, the invincible King of the Gauls, by a countryman who had killed it with a mattock near Sanetones, and which was stated to have been seen by many men of approved reputation, who thought it had migrated from transmarine regions by the assistance of the wind.

Cardanf states that whilst he resided in Paris he saw five winged dragons in the William Museum; these were biped, and possessed of wings so slender that it was hardly possible that they could fly with them. Cardan doubted their having been fabricated, since they had been sent in vessels at different times, and yet all presented the same remarkable form. Bellonius states that he had seen whole caixases of winged dragons, carefully prepared, which he considered to be of the same kind as those which fly out of Arabia into Egypt; they were thick about the belly, had two feet, and two wings, whole like those of a bat, and a snake's tail.

It would be useless to multiply examples of the stories, no doubt fables, current in mediaeval times, and I shall therefore only add here two of those which, though little known, are probably fair samples of the whole. It is amusing to find the story of Sindbad's escape from the Valley of Diamonds reappearing in Europe during the Middle Ages, with a substitution of the dragon for the roc. Athanasius Kircher, in the Mundus Subterraneus, gives the story of a Lucerne man who, in wandering over Mount Pilate, tumbled into a cavern from which there was no exit, and, in searching round, discovered the lair of two dragons, who proved

* Scaliger, lib. iii. Miscell. cap. i. See ante, p. 182," Winged Serpents." t Be Naturd Rerum, lib. vii., cap. 29.

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