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Z is for Žaltys

Wow! It’s the last day of the A to Z Challenge. Can you believe April has flown by so quickly? Thank you all for stopping by for my posts. I wish I’d been able to check out more A to Z bloggers this year, but I’ve been in a deadline crunch with my publisher. See you all next year!

Name: Žaltys (means “grass snake”)

Type: household spirit

Origin: Lithuanian mythology

Description: The žaltys is a non-venomous snake, sacred to the sun goddess Saulė. It represents fertility and is a guardian of the home. Some people kept it in special places of their home, believing it could bring good harvest and wealth. If someone killed the žaltys, it brought about great misfortune, but if people found one and gave it milk, they could befriend it and take it in their home.

What “Z” creatures have you heard of?

Y is for Yeth Hound

Name: Yeth hound (also called yell hound)

Type: black dog

Origin: Devon, England

Description: The yeth hound is a black headless dog, which they say is the spirit of an unbaptised child. It runs around in the woods at night crying and wailing.

Interesting Facts: The yeth hound is possibly one of the inspirations for the dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The headless dog is also mentioned in The Denham Tracts, which is a series of pamphlets on folklore published between 8146 and 1859.

What “Y” creatures do you know of?

X is for Xing Tian

Name: Xing Tian (means “punished one” or “he who was punished by heaven”

Type: giant

Origin: Chinese mythology

Description: Basically, he’s a headless giant punished by heaven. *grins* Here’s a roughly translated excerpt from Shanhaijing I came across on Wikipedia:

Xingtian fought against [Huang] Di. Di cut off his head, and the head was buried in the Changyang Mountains. But Xingtian, with his breasts as eyes, and his navel as mouth, continued to fight with his axe and shield.

Anyone know of any other “X” creatures? I’m very curious! lol

W is for Wolpertinger

Name: Wolpertinger (also wolperdinger, poontinger, woiperdinger)

Type: chimera

Origin: Bavarian folklore

Description: Wolpertingers live in the alpine forests of Bavaria in Germany. It’s body is a mish-mash of various parts. In general they have wings, antlers, tails, and fangs, all on a small animal like a rabbit or squirrel.

Interesting Fact: They can actually be bought as souvenirs at inns and tourist shops in Germany. Yeesh! Click here for a picture. These creatures would be considered almost like a cousin to the American Jackalope or a Swedish Skvader.

Do you know any of “W” creatures? 

V is for Vilkacis

Sorry for the delay in getting this up. I’m in a deadline crunch! Better late than never, right?

Name: Vilkacis (means “Wolf-eye.” Also known as Vilkatas and Vilkatis.)

Type: shapeshifter

Origin: Latvian mythology / Baltic mythology

Description: I’ll let Wikipedia sum up today’s creature:

“Vilkacis was a type of monster, similar to a werewolf, that was originally a person. In Latvian and Lithuanian mythology, the vilkacis was a good natured creature, who wanted to participate in the folk songs mentioned animal digging of Daugava river. But he failed in every task and upset Dievs. He is described as a clumsy creature, who can be easily fooled by a child or farmer. Occasionally, a vilkacis brought treasure or was otherwise beneficial.”

What “V” creatures do you know of?

U is for Urayuli

Name: Urayuli (means “hairy men”)

Type: hairy humanoid

Origin: Native American mythology of southwestern Alaska

Description: The Urayuli reside in the forests of southwestern Alaska near Lake Iliamna. They supposedly stand 10 feet tall and have shaggy fur and glowing eyes. They’re thought to make high pitch cries, resembling a loon’s. They have very long arms, which reach their ankles. They behave peacefully.

Interesting Facts: They seem to be very Bigfoot/Yeti-like. It’s fascinating how many cultures have these kinds of creatures. The Urayuli are thought to be children who were lost in the woods, particularly at night, and transformed into this kind of creature. Probably another tale to make children behave.

What other “U” beings do you know of?

T is for Tizheruk / Hunky Hero Wrap-up

I had quite a busy weekend, but I’m all caught up with my A to Z Challenge posts now. Check out “Shere. Also, I had a fun interview that posted yesterday at Dawn’s Reading Nook.

Finally, I have some news on the giveaway that had been going on this past week. Congratulations to Evita’s Reads and Filia Oktarina! I chose two winners for the prize since I had such an amazing turnout of 245 entries! Thanks everyone for entering!

Name: Tizheruk (Also known as Pal-Rai-Yûk)

Type: sea creature

Origin: Inuit mythology

Description: Large snake-like sea creature, which lives near the coast of an Alaska island. It’s approximately seven feet long with an alligator-like head, six legs, and a flipper on its tail. The Tizheruk snatches people off piers and boats.

Interesting Facts: Other sea monsters inhabit nearby Canadian waters, the Ogopogo (or Naitaka of the Okanakanes) and the Haietlik of the Nootka. The Ogopogo is believed to live in Okanagan Lake, and the Haietlik is a “Lightning Snake” that shoots lightning from its tongue.

What “T” beings or creatures do you know about?

S is for Stymphalian birds

Name: Stymphalian birds

Type: birds

Origin: Greek mythology

Description: Man-eating birds who have bronze beaks and sharp metallic feathers, which they throw at their victims. Also, their feces is quite toxic. Their name comes from the fact that they live near Lake Stymphalia in Arcadia. They’re sacred to the god of war, Ares.

Interesting Facts: The Stymphalian birds were Herucles’s sixth task in The Twelve Labours of Herucles. He scared the birds by shaking a rattle made by Hephaestus for the purpose and given to him by Athena. He shot some with arrows to complete the Labour.

What “S” creatures or beings do you know about?

R is for Ratatoskr

Ratatoskr in a 17th century
Icelandic manuscript.

Name: Ratatoskr (Typically means “drill-tooth” or “bore-tooth,” although some say based off its etymology that it’d be more like rata-/rati- for “the traveler” and -toskr for “tusk.” Basically “the climber tusk” or “tusk the traveler.”)

Type: nature spirit

Origin: Norse mythology

Description: Ratatoskr is… a squirrel. *grins* He climbs up and down Yggdrasil, the world tree, to take messages between the unnamed eagle at the top and the wyrm Níðhöggr who lives under one of the tree roots at the bottom. According to the 16th chapter of Prose Edda‘s Gylfaginning, Ratatoskr “runs up and down the ash. He tells slanderous gossip, provoking the eagle and Níðhöggr.” Some say the fact Ratatoskr is portrayed as a lowly squirrel is due to his behavior in stirring up trouble.

Interesting Facts: He can be found in both the Poetic Edda, which is a compilation of Old Norse poems and a very important source of information about Norse mythology, as well as Prose Edda, which was written by Snorri Sturluson in approximately 1220. The Prose Edda contains eddic and skaldic poetry poetry about Norse mythology. For such a small creature, there’s a lot of different theories on both his name and purpose/role in Norse mythology.

Have you heard of Ratatoskr before? Any “R” creatures or beings you know of?

Q is for Qilin

A qilin of the Qing dynasty in
Beijing’s Summer Palace

Name: Qilin

Type: Chinese chimera

Origin: Chinese mythology

Description: The Qilin is a hooved chimera sometimes portrayed as having parts of a fish, dragon, ox, lion and/or even a tiger. They are said to bring prosperity and only appear in land ruled by a peaceful or a wise man. For instance, the birth of Confucius was foretold by arrival of a Qilin.

The Qilin’s origins are tied to Chinese exploration of Africa around the 5th century. The Zheng He’s exploration of the areas around modern Somalia were successful, and they obtained some giraffes and other animals which they brought back to China. The word Geri, which in Somalia means giraffe, is the base word for Qilin. The slender high figure of the Qilin gave it special properties, such as walking on water and walking in grass without damaging the blades of the grass. The Qilin love the righteous and should anyone evil try to attack them while a Qilin is close by, the Qilin would attack the wicked by shooting flames from its mouth or using other powers.

Interesting Facts: The Chinese have the Qilin as their third most powerful creature after the dragon and the phoenix. This was not always been the case. Before the Qin-dynasty, the Qilin was ranked the highest. In Japan, the Kirin is the same as the Chinese Qilin. The Japanese still honor pre-Qin dynasty mythology and have the Kirin as the top creature in their culture.

What Q creatures or beings do you know of?

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