Medieval Literature’s Incomplete Bestiary

Dragon

This beast can take form in a few different ways. The first dragon was a vile offspring of a man, descended from Cane, and a large serpent with whom he had taken a certain fondness to. The descendant was already close enough in virtue to the slimy thing that bedding it came naturally to him. The child was named Kur, a combination of the fathers and mothers names. The father named Kiebarth and the mother only able to speak her name in a lizard tongue which sounded to Kiebarth as a low rolling urr. The child was raised in the ways of greed and gluttony. He found the idea of valuable life abhorrent and killed anyone that held something he wanted, any riches or power, he took for his own. The first dragon was more human in appearance than later examples but he has inflated proportions, inhuman characteristics and uncanny facial features. Kur has no pupils and only a few fingers on each hand, wings also seemingly burst from his back and grew larger as he did over time. Kur became king of serpents, producing a vast lineage as he was neither human nor serpent and bred with both fervently. Each of his children was different in appearance from another and as they grew in number, the term dragon came to be used for them. Dragons all come from one original and are inbred. Eventually the mutations gave the beasts long necks, larger bodies, and eventually any trace of human origins became absent. It is noble to kill a dragon, as they are naturally evil beasts. However, they are also incredibly dangerous and should be avoided at any cost.

Blemmyes

This beast appears similar to a large, muscular man with one major difference. The Blemmyes don’t have heads. Instead, their torsos continue to the height where a head should sit and the face is located on the chest or collar bone area. These beats are not native only to Europe and can be found on any continent that man can travel through. These beats also do not seem to be limited by human proportions and have been measured at 12 feet tall and 7 feet wide. Unlike many other wild beasts, there is not a wealth of information available on these creatures. However, they have not presented themselves as being dangerous and they are common enough that avoiding them on travels may be a fool’s task. These beats live in large groups, similar to tribes or villages. They are certainly capable of violence as exhibited by their large, lumbering bodies so it’s best not to tempt the fates.

Horned Men

Men who are unable to maintain sole ownership over their brides become cucks. When a married woman gives herself to another man, she is in need of a better man and is lacking in the abilities of communication as they are generally uneducated. The other man is like a bull, dominating her and her husband by association. When the woman falls pregnant, her husband does not stand up for himself and raises another man’s child for him. In doing so, he reflects the devil in his cowardice, growing horns similar to the beast. The devil takes his soul even before he has died. He has cast aside the inherent masculine urge to continue his lineage and instead, terminates his own familial tree to bring forth an extension for the other, better man. Horned men should be avoided by all people as they were once men but are now nothing more than beasts. If a horned man is treated like a man, he may rejoin the human population and spread his disease. To avoid falling to the same fate, one must be a strong man who marries only women that he knows he can satisfy. If a man does find himself with an unfaithful wife, he must kill the other man, severely punish his wife, or cast the child away. It is best if all steps are taken.

Thoughts Section

Firstly, none of the ideas presented in this writing are my own view points or opinions. I wrote the things I did to be a reflection of medieval norms and thinking. Mainly, much of the ideas here are based in sexist, racist, toxic ideologies that I do not align with at all. Now, having said that, this was interesting to create. I found myself having more trouble recreating the style of a bestiary than I anticipated. A bestiary is a medieval field guide of sorts that includes an image of the creature, usually drawn by someone who has seemingly never seen one followed by a description of the animal written by someone of equal knowledge. And for good measure, there’s usually a biblical lesson thrown in there for flavor. I tried to recreate that same idea but I also didn’t want this to be entirely ludacris. Instead, I made stuff up and added some religious flare and closed minded thinking but also based my descriptions on the texts that we read for class, the discussions we had about them, and a few online depictions that I pulled so loosely from that citing them would be irrelevant at this point. I had also originally planned to do 2 or 3 more of these and I may in the future but I didn’t enjoy the process as much as I expected either. I think reading bestiaries is good fun but it’s father outside of my comfort zone than I thought it would be. I love writing fiction and good fiction includes some reality but this felt like I was adding to the already vastly available, poorly thought out literature available on the subjects. I came to realize that a bestiary is not just humorously bad but that it also reinforces really awful, hateful view points. I found in my research for example that headless men were very likely the term used for people with shorter necks or for overweight strangers that travelers came across. Horned men was a funny concept to me going into this because haha “cuck”, but the ways that people addressed the issue are awful. There’s a lot of throwing blame and general name calling on all sides. Cheating isn’t really funny, no matter who you are in the situation, you’re going to come out of it feeling shitty. And calling someone a horned man or assuming that they aren’t worth regular dignity because of some perceived sexual difficulty is an awful thing to do. Sex and relationships are super complicated subjects and accusations don’t help anyone. So, yeah, I guess what I’m saying is that people were kind of awful in medieval times and I don’t like writing like them or learning how they felt about very specific and delicate topics.

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