Dragons, Are They Real

Yes!  There are Dragons alive on a far off island in the Java Sea.  Ancient maps and now more modern ones mark this area: Danger! Live Creatures.

These creatures are called Komodo Dragons.  Their home is on an archipelago in the  Lesser Sunda Islands in the Java Sea.  They are not giant like the images of old, but they get to be about ten feet kong and weigh over 150 pounds.  They can't breath fire, but can tun faster than 25 MPH and bring down a Water Buffalo or Deer.  When they bite their prey, they inject a poison that causes the animal to slowly bleed to death.

Hollywood Dragons

Hollywood versions of these fantasy creatures today. 
Above is a scene from the HBO series Game Of Thrones.  To the right is from the movie Pete' Dragon They appears to be quite different from the picture of the live Komodo dragon.

Historic Versions

These Mythical creatures are some of the oldest.  They appear in the cultures of almost all ancient societies. In the earliest times, they were shown with the Great Mother or the water god or the warrior sun god. They had the power to be either bad or good and were considered to be the most powerful creatures in the world.

Dragon Medivel

Tales from many cultures, have created these great beasts giving them many different attributes. The images that we see from history, are made up of different parts of many animals. Most seem to have a lot of alligator and snakelike characteristics. Most have a lion's head plus maybe lion's front legs and eagle's feet. Some have wings and can breath fire. (See WikipediA)

In America, when we think of these creatures, the image we have is of the European or medieval ones from literature.

These Ancient Medieval Dragons are sometimes referred to as European or Draco. They are portrayed as evil, and fierce man-eating reptiles that have a tail and wings. They have the magical ability to fly and breath fire. These characteristics tend to be very dangerous and can literally destroy many of the Middle Age villages.

According to Western folk tales from the renaissance, these mythical creatures have some strong magical abilities. They collect treasure and gem stones from the villages they sack and guard it very ferociously usually in a cave.

In China, these fantasy creatures were believed to possess powers that were related to nature and were associated with natural elements like rainfall, droughts and storms. Consequently, in Chinese art, dragon is a revered symbol.

 The Lung dragon, in Chinese mythology, is one of four main animal figures that are seen as or rather believed to be well-meaning, a symbol of good luck.  Because of its obviously powerful image, it became a symbol of the Chinese emperor.

In Japan the image is very similar to Chinese images.  They are usually shown as large wingless snake-like  creatures with large feet that have long claws.  Most of the legends and stories have them associated with the sea or lakes or rivers and even rainfall.

Physical descriptions of them are similar to the Chinese and Korean images except for some slight differences. The Japanese  have three claws instead of four and they do not always have wings.

Definitions 

Definitions Encarta 98: A legendary reptilian monster similar in form to a crocodile and usually represented as having wings, huge claws, and a fiery breath.

Webster's Definition :  drag-en n dracon-,draco serpent
1: archaic: a huge serpent
2: a fabulous animal usually represented as a monstrous winged and scaly serpent or saurian with a crested head and enormous claws.

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