Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Guest Blogger Nancy Lee Badger on Dragons of Scotland

Welcome back to History Undressed Nancy!  Some of you may recall Nancy's previous appearances here when she discussed Scottish proverbs, or when she gave us a little taste of Scots ale,  or perhaps you read her article on Scottish Mythology.  Today we are in for a treat by Nancy, Dragons!


By Nancy Lee Badger

Today I am talking about Dragons. These legendary creatures are typically pictured as having serpent-like or reptilian traits. Dragons are featured in the myths of cultures spanning the globe. Today, I will concentrate on the mythological dragons of Scotland. Scotland is where I base my newest novella, DRAGON’S CURSE.

From Cirein Croin, a sea serpent believed to be the largest creature ever, to the long, thick tailed wingless Beithar who haunted the quarries and mountains around Glen Coe, to the infamous Loch Ness Monster, dragons have been a part of Scottish folklore. Some say dragons are a mix of the serpent, the feline, and the predatory bird, the great predators of prehistoric times. Once man started to walk upright, he combined them into one terrifying beast, and the dragon was born.

One tale of bravery and love mentions the Rowan Tree. In the tale of Froach & the Rowan Tree, Froach swims to an island to gather berries from a magic Rowan Tree to save the life of his lover’s mother. He slips past the dragon guarding the tree then swims home only to discover he needs the entire branch. Back he goes, but the dragon awakes. Froach is wounded and swims toward home. His lover throws him a sword so he can kill the dragon and get to shore. Some say Froach dies, but the romantic in me believes the few who say he and his lover lived happily ever after. I have included the Rowan Tree in my story line in Dragon’s Curse. A Mountain Ash, in the family Rosaceae, it is native throughout the cool, temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It finds a welcome home in the Scottish Highlands. With red foliage and large clumps of red berries each autumn, the Rowan is one of the most familiar wild trees of the British Isles.

Another story revolves around the most famous dragon of Scotland: the Loch Ness Monster or ‘Nessie’. Yes, Nessie is classified as a dragon even though many assume it is a leftover dinosaur or lake fish that has grown to gigantic proportions. Tales of Nessie date from the sixth century and one story goes like this: When Saint Columba traveled through the country of the Picts, he had to cross the River Ness. He came across Picts burying a man said to have been bitten by the water-monster. Not a stupid man, Columba ordered one of his men to swim across and return with a boat. The chosen man, Lugneus Mocumin swam off, but the monster saw him and charged. All on shore stood in horror except Columba, who raised his holy hand and inscribed the Cross in the air. He called upon the name of God and commanded the beast, saying, “Go no further! Do not touch the man! Go back at once!” The monster drew back, retreating to the depths of the Loch. Unharmed, Lugneus brought the boat back. Everyone was astonished. The heathen savages who witnessed the miracle were overcome and came to know the magnificence of the God of the Christians.

Nessie and Loch Ness are the most famous tourist attraction in Scotland and the locals will tell you about the mythical sea creature that some have actually seen in modern times and is probably a stranded dragon. The dragon can be seen as a symbol of the Celts, Picts and other early heathens of the area.

Where does this leave us today? Dragons have found their way into many modern books and movies. Shape shifters are a modern day paranormal storyline and several authors have used dragon lore to create stories to entertain us all. My story is slightly different. My hero has been cursed by a dead witch for a crime he did not commit. Cursed to transform into a dragon at inopportune times, Draco Macdonald decides to live out his years on the uninhabited island of Staffa. These plans go awry when Brianna Macleod arrives with a hunting party.

For more information concerning dragons and dragon lore, check your local library, book store, or these websites:



Nancy Lee Badger lives with her husband in Raleigh, NC. She loves everything Scottish and still volunteers annually, with her family, at the New Hampshire Highland Games, www.nhscot.org. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Celtic Heart Romance Writers. DRAGON’S CURSE released today at Whispers Publishing. Visit her website: www.nancyleebadger.com, and her blog www.RescuingRomance.nancyleebadger.com For excerpts and more information.


Le Loup said...

There is something about the myth of dragons that makes one wish they actually existed. In Wychwood Forest there is a Dragon's Tol, and a place called Dragon's Claw. Dragon's Claw is in fact a large fallen tree with outspread roots like a huge claw of a dragon.

Beth Caudill said...

Hey Nancy, congrats on the release.

All your tales of dragons made me think of Puff-the-Magic dragon. Maybe I just have music on the brain since I'm still populating my new ipod.

Nancy said...

Thanks for your comments! I may do another article on dragons since a certain friend of mine owns DOZENS of wonderful research books. For a so-called imaginary beast, they sure are popular!

Anita Clenney said...

Fascinating stories, Nancy. And your story, Dragon's Curse sounds very interesting. Congrats on your release.

Beth Caudill said...

Nancy, I'll be sure to inform my husband you like the research books. He's complaining that I have too many. I keep asking for another bookcase. :)

Erin Kelly said...

Great post, Nancy! I love Nessie, and no matter what those kill-joy scientists say, she will always be real to me :)
Congrats on the book!

Leah Marie Brown said...

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your knowledge and those fascinating stories.