DRAGONS OF SCOTLAND
By Nancy Lee Badger
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.
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: