The dragon is a legendary creature of which some interpretation or depiction appears in almost every culture worldwide. The physical description and supposed abilities of the creature vary immensely according to the different cultures in which it appears. However, the unifying feature of almost all interpretations is it being a serpentine or otherwise reptilian monster (or at least possessing a serpentine/reptilian part or trait), and often possessing magical or spiritual qualities.
Dragons are usually shown in modern times with a body like a big lizard, or a snake with two pairs of lizard-type legs, and able to emit fire from its mouth. The European dragon has bat-type wings growing from its back. A dragon-like animal with no front legs and walking only on its back legs is a wyvern. Following discovery of how pterosaurs walked on the ground, some dragons have been drawn using the wings as front legs pterosaur-fashion when on the ground, as in this image and in the movie Reign of Fire.
Like most mythological creatures, dragons are perceived in different ways by different cultures. Dragons are sometimes said to breathe and spit fire or poison. They are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and possessing typically feathered or scaly bodies. They are sometimes portrayed as having large yellow or red eyes, a feature that is the origin for the word for dragon in many cultures. They are sometimes portrayed with a row of dorsal spines, keeled scales, or leathery bat-like wings. Winged dragons are usually portrayed only in European dragons while Oriental versions of the dragon resemble large snakes. Dragons can have a variable number of legs: none, two, four, or more when it comes to early European literature. Modern depictions of dragons tend to be larger than their original representations, which were often smaller than humans.
A phoenix is a mythical bird with a tail of beautiful gold and red plumage (or purple and blue, by some sources ). It has a 600-800 year life-cycle, and near the end the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egypt city of Heliopolis (sun city in Greek). The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe, thus being almost immortal and invincible — it is also said that it can heal a person with a tear from its eyes and make them temporarily immune to death; a symbol of fire and divinity.
The phoenix is a central figure in Lebanese ancient and modern cultures, as Lebanese are descendants of the Phoenicians and often claim themselves sons of the Phoenix. Lebanon, and Beirut particularly, is often depicted symbolically as a phoenix bird having been destroyed and rebuilt 7 times during its long history.
The phoenix in the Forbidden City, Beijing, China.In China, Fenghuang ("鳳凰") is a mythical bird superficially similar to the phoenix. It is the second most-respected legendary creature (second to the dragon), largely used to represent the empress and females. The phoenix is the leader of birds. In Japan, the phoenix is called hō-ō(kanji:"鳳凰") or fushichō (不死鳥, fushichō?); "Immortal Bird".
The Thunderbird is a legendary creature in North American indigenous peoples' history and culture. It's considered a "supernatural" bird of power and strength. It is especially important, and richly depicted, in the art, songs and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures, but is also found in various forms among the peoples of the American Southwest and Great Plains. Thunderbirds were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of American prehistory.
The Thunderbird's name comes from that common belief that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind. The Lakota name for the Thunderbird is Wakį́yą, a word formed from kįyą́, meaning "winged," and wakhą́, "sacred." The Kwakwaka'wakw have many names for the Thunderbird and the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) called him Kw-Uhnx-Wa. The Ojibwa word for a thunderbird that is closely associated with thunder is animikii, while large thunderous birds are known as binesi.
Across many North America indigenous cultures, the Thunderbird carries many of the same characteristics. It is described as a large bird, capable of creating storms and thundering while it flies. Clouds are pulled together by its wingbeats, the sound of thunder made by its wings clapping, sheet lightning the light flashing from its eyes when it blinks, and individual lightning bolts made by the glowing snakes that it carries around with it. In masks, it is depicted as many-colored, with two curling horns, and, often, teeth within its beak.
The word "fairy" derives from the fae of medieval Western European (Old French) folklore and romance, one famous example being Morgan le Fay. "Fae-ery" was therefore everything that appertains to the "fae", and so the land of "faes", all the "faes". Finally the word replaced its original and one could speak of "a faery or fairy", though the word "fey" is still used as an adjective.
Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term "fairy" offers many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, including goblins or gnomes: at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature.
Fairies are generally described as human in appearance and having magical powers. Their origins are less clear in the folklore, being variously dead, or some form of angel, or a species completely independent of humans or angels. Folklorists have suggested that their actual origin lies in a conquered race living in hiding, or in religious beliefs that lost currency with the advent of Christianity. These explanations are not always mutually incompatible, and they may be traceable to multiple sources.
Much of the folklore about fairies revolves about protection from their malice, by such means as cold iron (fairies don't like iron and will not go near it) or charms of rowan and herbs, or avoiding offense by shunning locations known to be theirs. In particular, folklore describes how to prevent the fairies from stealing babies and substituting changelings, and abducting older people as well. Many folktales are told of fairies, and they appear as characters in stories from medieval tales of chivalry, to Victorian fairy tales, and up to the present day in modern literature. Some tales tell of fairies having the ability to turn invisible. Once invisible, fairies are said to steal single socks from laundry baskets.
Pixies (also Piskies and Pigsies as they are sometimes known in Cornwall) are mythical creatures of folklore, considered to be particularly concentrated in the areas around Devon  and Cornwall,  suggesting some Celtic origin for the belief and name. They are usually depicted with pointed ears, and often wearing a green outfit and pointed hat. Sometimes their eyes are described as being pointed upwards at the temple ends.
The origin of the name piskie or pixie is uncertain however some have claimed it to come from the Swedish dialectal pyske meaning small fairy. Others, however, have disputed this claiming that due to the Cornish origin of the piskie that the term is probably Celtic in origin, though no known Celtic ancestor of the word is known.
Pixies are variously described in folklore and fiction. In the legends associated with Dartmoor, Pixies are said to disguise themselves as a bundle of rags to lure children into their play. The pixies of Dartmoor are fond of music and dancing. These Pixies are said to be helpful to normal humans, sometimes helping needy widows and others with housework. They are often ill clothed.  Lack of fashion sense has been taken by Rachael de Vienne, a fantasy writer, to mean that Pixies generally go unclothed, though they are sensitive to human need for covering.
A unicorn (from Latin unus 'one' and cornu 'horn') is a mythological creature. Though the modern popular image of the unicorn is sometimes that of a horse differing only in the horn on its forehead, the traditional unicorn also has a billy-goat beard, a lion's tail, and cloven hooves—these distinguish it from a horse. Marianna Mayer has observed (The Unicorn and the Lake), "The unicorn is the only fabulous beast that does not seem to have been conceived out of human fears. In even the earliest references he is fierce yet good, selfless yet solitary, but always mysteriously beautiful. He could be captured only by unfair means, and his single horn was said to neutralize poison."
In heraldry, a unicorn is depicted as a horse with a goat's cloven hooves and beard, a lion's tail, and a slender, spiral horn on its forehead. Whether because it was an emblem of the Incarnation or of the fearsome animal passions of raw nature, the unicorn was not widely used in early heraldry, but became popular from the 15th century. Though sometimes shown collared, which may perhaps be taken in some cases as an indication that it has been tamed or tempered, it is more usually shown collared with a broken chain attached, showing that it has broken free from its bondage and cannot be taken again.
It is probably best known from the royal coat of arms of Scotland and the United Kingdom: two unicorns support the Scottish arms; a lion and a unicorn support the UK arms. The arms of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in London has two golden unicorn supporters (although, as emblazoned on its homepage, they have horses', not lions', tails).
In Greek mythology, Pegasus (Greek: Πήγασος, Pégasos, 'strong') was a winged horse that was the son of Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and the Gorgon Medusa.
Hesiod connects the name Pegasos with the word for "spring, well", pēgē; everywhere the winged horse struck his hoof to the earth, an inspiring spring burst forth: one on the Muses' Mount Helicon, the Hippocrene ("horse spring"), at the behest of Poseidon to prevent the mountain swelling too much and another at Troezen. The actual etymology of the name is most likely from Luwian pihassas "lightning", or pihassasas, a weather god (the god of lightning). In Hesiod, Pegasos is still associated with this original significance by carrying the thunderbolts for Zeus. Pegasus was at a well drinking silently when the hero Bellerophon came and captured him with a golden bridle that was given to him by Athena.
There are two versions of the winged stallion's birth and his brother Chrysaor:
One is that they sprang from Medusa's neck as Perseus beheaded her, a "higher" birth, like the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus.
Another says that they were born of the Earth as Medusa's blood spilled onto it, in which case Poseidon would not be their sire. A variation on this story holds that they were formed from the mingling of Medusa's blood and the sea foam, thus including Poseidon in their making.
Bellerophon caught and tamed Pegasus, and presented him to the Muses at Mount Parnassus. After he became the horse of the Muses, he was at the service of the poets.
Through all the moons of many a year, the Fire Horse is a dynamic creature, with a vigor that promises youth and freshness until the very end of life. The will and the spirit of the Fire Horse cannot be broken. This Horse goes through life with philosophical patience and the ability to bounce back from adversity no matter how dire the circumstances. In times of solitude, Fire Horses also have an insatiable need for intellectual stimulation and they satisfy their curiosity for learning through reading, listening, conversing, and travel abroad. Fire Horses make inspiring leaders, revered and respected. They encourage their subordinates with kindness and just the right degree of strictness and work well with people in all stations of life. Financial rewards fall in the middle ground, not too bad, not terrific, but always comfortable. Being in love with the Fire Horse brings pure rapture. These noble Horses are generous with their love, with hugs and kisses. Loved ones always know where they stand because Fire Horses demonstrate every day through their actions the love they feel deep within. Each day is a soft and tender love poem
In Greek mythology, the centaurs (from Ancient Greek: Κένταυροι - Kéntauroi) are a race of creatures composed of part human and part horse. In early Attic vase-paintings, they are depicted as the torso of a human joined at the (human's) waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be.
This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, and as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron.
The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either the son of Ixion and Nephele (instead of the Centaurs) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the latter version of the story his twin brother was Lapithus, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins.
Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, Mount Pholoe in Arcadia and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.
A mermaid is a mythological aquatic creature that is half human, half aquatic creature (e.g. a fish or dolphin). Various cultures throughout the world have similar figures. The word is a compound of mere, the Old English word for "sea," and maid, which has retained its original sense.
Much like sirens, mermaids would sometimes sing to sailors and enchant them, distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or cause shipwrecks. Other stories would have them squeeze the life out of drowning men while trying to rescue them. They are also said to take them down to their underwater kingdoms. In Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid it is said that they forget that humans cannot breathe underwater, while others say they drown men out of spite.
The sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes portrayed in later folklore as mermaid-like; in fact, some languages (such as the Maltese word 'sirena') use the same word for both bird and fish creatures. Other related types of mythical or legendary creature are water fairies (e.g. various water nymphs) and selkies, animals that can transform themselves from seals to humans.
Mermen are mythical male legendary creatures who are human from the waist up and fish-like from the waist down. They are less commonly known than their female counterparts, mermaids.
In Greek mythology, mermen were often illustrated to have green seaweed-like hair, a beard, and a trident. In Irish mythology, mermen are described as extremely ugly creatures with pointed green teeth, pig-like eyes, green hair, and a red nose. In Finnish mythology, a merman (vetehinen) is often portrayed as a magical, powerful, handsome, bearded man with the tail of a fish. He can cure illnesses, lift curses and brew potions, but he can also cause unintended harm by becoming too curious about human life.
The actions and behavior of mermen can vary wildly depending on the source and time period of the stories. They have been said to sink ships by summoning great storms, but also said to be wise teachers, according to earlier mythology. A merman, like a mermaid, attracts humans with singing and tones.
Mermen are rarely seen marrying human women; when this happens the merman's new bride becomes a mermaid. After parenting other mermaids or mermen the new mermaid may feel homesick for her family and friends and demand to be set free, after which the merman would have to find another bride. Matthew Arnold's poem "The Forsaken Merman" is based on this imagined situation.
The griffin is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and often wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.
Most contemporary illustrations give the griffin the forelegs of an eagle, with an eagle's legs and talons, although in some older illustrations it has a lion's forelimbs; it generally has a lion's hindquarters. Its eagle's head is conventionally given prominent ears; these are sometimes described as the lion's ears, but are often elongated (more like a horse's), and are sometimes feathered.
Infrequently, a griffin is portrayed without wings (or a wingless eagle-headed lion is identified as a griffin); in 15th-century and later heraldry such a beast may be called an alce or a keythong. In heraldry, a griffin always has forelegs like an eagle's hind legs; the beast with forelimbs like a lion's forelegs was distinguished by perhaps only one English herald of later heraldry as the opinicus; the word "opinicus" escaped the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary. The modern generalist calls it the lion-griffin, as for example, Robin Lane Fox, in Alexander the Great, 1973:31 and notes p. 506, who remarks a lion-griffin attacking a stag in a pebble mosaic at Pella, perhaps as an emblem of the kingdom of Macedon or a personal one of Alexander's successor Antipater.
After "griffin", the spelling gryphon is the most common variant in English, gaining popularity following the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as can be observed from usage in The Times and elsewhere. Less common variants include gryphen, griffen, and gryphin.; from Latin grȳphus, from Greek γρύψ gryps, from γρύπος grypos hooked. The spelling "griffon" (from Middle English and Middle French) was previously frequent but is now rare, probably to avoid confusion with the breed of dog called a griffon.
In Greek mythology, Cerberus or Kerberos (Greek Κέρβερος, Kérberos), the ker or daimon of Erebos was the hound of Hades, a monstrous three-headed dog with a snake for a tail and snakes down his back like a mane, whose analogs in other cultures are hellhounds. Other hell hounds included Orthus, his two-headed brother. Cerberus guarded the gate to Hades and ensured that spirits of the dead could enter, but none could exit. Among his siblings are Chimera and the Hydra. He is the offspring of Echidna and Typhon. In Dante's Inferno,, he appears as the guardian of the Circle of Gluttony, and is described as having a beard on each head. Cerberus is often described as once an ordinary pup, when he was mutated and captured by Hades to guard the gates of Tartarus across the river Styx. He has an appetite for live meat/flesh and attacks anyone but spirits. He is Hades's watch-dog.
Cerberus was overcome several times, with the aid of gods or superhuman talents:
Heracles' final labour was to capture Cerberus, which he did by wrestling it into submission.
Orpheus used his musical skills to lull Cerberus to sleep.
Hermes put him to sleep with water from the river Lethe.
In Virgil's Aeneid, the Sibyl of Cumae lulled Cerberus to sleep with drugged honeycakes in order to permit Aeneas fuller entry to the underworld.
In a Roman tale, Psyche also lulled Cerberus to sleep with drugged honeycakes.
In The Inferno, Cerberus punishes the gluttons and is passed by Virgil and Dante due to Virgil's throwing into one of his mouths some of the putrid earth found in the Third Circle.
In the Greek Oracle of the Dead at Cumae in southern Italy, the recently excavated subterranean shrine was found to contain giant chains fixed to the wall for three large dogs before the entrance to the shrine of Hades and Persephone. The three dogs would have represented Cerberus in this ancient temple.
In Greek mythology, the Chimera (Greek Χίμαιρα (Chímaira); Latin Chimaera) was a monstrous creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of multiple animals. The Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.
Homer's brief description in the Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". Hesiod's Theogony follows the Homeric description: he makes the Chimera the issue of Echidna: "She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire. Her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slay" The author of the Bibliotheca concurs: descriptions agree that it breathed fire. The Chimera is generally considered to have been female (see the quotation from Hesiod above) despite the mane adorning its lion's head. Sighting the Chimera was an omen of storms, shipwrecks, and natural disasters (particularly volcanoes).
While there are different genealogies, in one version the Chimera mated with her brother Orthrus and mothered the Sphinx and the Nemean Lion (others have Orthrus and their mother, Echidna, mating; most attribute all to Typhon and Echidna).
The Chimera was finally defeated by Bellerophon, with the help of Pegasus, at the command of King Iobates of Lycia. Since Pegasus could fly, Bellerophon shot the Chimera from the air, safe from her heads and breath. A scholiast to Homer adds that he finished her off by equipping his spear with a lump of lead that melted when exposed to the Chimera's fiery breath and consequently killed her, an image drawn from metalworking.
An elf is a creature of Norse mythology. The elves were originally imagined as a race of minor nature and fertility gods, who are often pictured as youthful-seeming men and women of great beauty living in forests and underground places and caves, or in wells and springs. They have been portrayed to be long-lived or immortal and as beings of magical powers.
Following J. R. R. Tolkien's influential The Lord of the Rings, wherein a wise, immortal people named Elves have a significant role, elves became staple characters of modern fantasy.
The elves could be seen dancing over meadows, particularly at night and on misty mornings. They left a kind of circle where they had danced, which were called älvdanser (elf dances) or älvringar (elf circles), and to urinate in one was thought to cause venereal diseases. Typically, elf circles were fairy rings consisting of a ring of small mushrooms, but there was also another kind of elf circle:
If a human watched the dance of the elves, he would discover that even though only a few hours seemed to have passed, many years had passed in the real world. (This time phenomenon is retold in Tolkien's Silmarillion when Thingol watches Melian dance. It also has a remote parallel in the Irish sídhe.) In a song from the late Middle Ages about Olaf Liljekrans, the elven queen invites him to dance. He refuses, he knows what will happen if he joins the dance and he is on his way home to his own wedding. The queen offers him gifts, but he declines. She threatens to kill him if he does not join, but he rides off and dies of the disease she sent upon him, and his young bride dies of a broken heart.
However, the elves were not exclusively young and beautiful. In the Swedish folktale Little Rosa and Long Leda, an elvish woman (älvakvinna) arrives in the end and saves the heroine, Little Rose, on condition that the king's cattle no longer graze on her hill. She is described as an old woman and by her aspect people saw that she belonged to the subterraneans.
In Roman mythology, fauns are place-spirits (genii) of untamed woodland. Romans connected their fauns with the Greek satyrs, wild and orgiastic drunken followers of Bacchus (Greek Dionysus). However, fauns and satyrs were originally quite different creatures. Both have horns and both resemble goats below the waist, humans above; but originally satyrs had human feet, fauns goatlike hooves. The Romans also had a god named Faunus and goddess Fauna, who, like the fauns, were goat-people.
The Barberini Faun (Glyptothek, Munich, Germany) is a Hellenistic marble, c. 200 BCE that was found in the Mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian (the Castel Sant'Angelo) and installed at Palazzo Barberini by Cardinal Maffeo Barberini (later Pope Urban VIII), the patron of Bernini, who heavily restored and refinished it, so that its present 'Hellenistic baroque' aspect may be enhanced.
In William Faulkner's short story "Black Music" (1934) Draughtsman Wilfred Midgleston believes he was transformed into a "farn" en route to show a client blueprints.
In C. S. Lewis' classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a faun named Mr. Tumnus is the first creature Lucy meets in Narnia. He tries to kidnap her because she is a daughter of Eve, putting Lucy under an enchantment with his flute, but is suddenly convinced of his great evil, and has a change of heart.
In Piers Anthony's fantasy novel series, The Magic of Xanth, fauns are present as well as a main character in the book Faun & Games.
In the Spyro the Dragon series of video games, a faun named Elora makes appearances in two of the games, most prominently in the realm of Avalar, her home. Several other fauns, both male and female, appear in two of the worlds of Avalar's sub-realm, Autumn Plains. The female fauns, which act in a sort of valley girl manner, are in the world of Fracture Hills, while the male fauns are in Magma Cone. Fauns smell bad.
In Guillermo del Toro's 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno), a faun (Doug Jones), whose many ancient names are now known "only by the wind and trees", guides Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) through the three tasks she must perform in order to return to the kingdom in the netherworld where her former incarnation was once a princess. The faun in this movie is different from most fauns, as it was made of earth and trees rather than just a goat and a man.
In Louis Malle's My Dinner with Andre, Andre Gregory relates the story of Scottish scientist Robert Ogilvie Crombie's twentieth-century encounter with a faun (and later Pan himself). Andre presents the tale as fact. His dining partner, Wallace Shawn, initially confuses the word "faun" with "fawn," protesting, "I thought a fawn was a baby deer."
The Rainbow Serpent (also known as the Rainbow Snake) is an important mythological being for Aboriginal people across Australia, although the creation myths associated with it are best known from northern Australia.
The Rainbow Serpent is seen as the inhabitant of permanent waterholes and is in control of life's most precious resource, water. He is the underlying Aboriginal mythology for the famous Outback "bunyip". He is the sometimes unpredictable Rainbow Serpent, who vies with the ever-reliable Sun, that replenishes the stores of water, forming gullies and deep channels as he slithered across the landscape, allowing for the collection and distribution of water.
Dreamtime stories tell of the great Spirits during creation, in animal and human form they molded the barren and featureless earth. The Rainbow Serpent came from beneath the ground and created huge ridges, mountains and gorges as it pushed upward. The Rainbow Serpent is known as Ngalyod by the Gunwinggu and Borlung by the Miali. He is a serpent of immense proportions which inhabits deep permanent waterholes.
Huli jing (Chinese: 狐狸精; Pinyin: húli jīng; huli means fox, and jing means spirit) in Chinese mythology are fox spirits that are akin to European faeries. Huli jing can be either good spirits or bad spirits.
In Chinese mythology, it is believed that all things are capable of acquiring human forms, magical powers, and immortality, provided that they receive sufficient energy, in such forms as human breath or essence from the moon and the sun.
The fox spirits encountered in tales and legends are usually females and appear as young, beautiful women. One of the most infamous fox spirits in Chinese mythology was Daji (妲己), who is portrayed in the Ming novel Fengshen Yanyi. A beautiful daughter of a general, she was married forcibly to the cruel tyrant Zhou Xin (紂辛 Zhòu Xīn). A nine-tailed fox spirit who served Nüwa, whom Zhou Xin had offended, entered into and possessed her body, expelling the true Daji's soul. The spirit, as Daji, and her new husband schemed cruelly and invented many devices of torture, such as forcing righteous officials to hug red-hot metal pillars. Because of such cruelties, many people, including Zhou Xin's own former generals, revolted and fought against Zhou Xin's dynasty, Shang. Finally, King Wen of Zhou, one of the vassals of Shang, founded a new dynasty named after his country. The fox spirit in Daji's body was later driven out by Jiang Ziya (姜子牙), the first Prime Minister of the Zhou Dynasty and her spirit condemned by Nüwa herself for excessive cruelty.
Typically fox spirits were seen as dangerous, but some of the stories in Pu Songling's Liaozhai Zhiyi are love stories between a fox appearing as a beautiful girl and a young human male.
Kitsune The Nine-Tailed Fox
Kitsune (kitsu: sound of fox's yelp, ne: signifies an affectionate feeling). The fox of Japanese legend is said to possess supernatural powers, including the power of transformation, and to be mischievous. The fox is also known for assuming the form of a human or bewitching them, many times to tempt or seduce them. The "kyubi kitsune" or nine-tailed fox are the most powerful and oldest of all foxes. Foxes of legend are many kinds: white, celestial, wild, and many others.
The fox is known as a messenger of Inari, the God of Rice, and to be mischievous. It is said to possess supernatural powers, including the power of transformation. These messengers were white foxes and thought to be invisible to humans. Though this was not always the case as at the Suwa shrine in the winter, the guardian fox had to cross the lake first so that people knew it would be safe for them to do so after.
Japan and China are not the only countries with fox legends in the East. Similar legends of the fox appear in Korean folklore as well, though with slightly less of a friendly reputation. The nine-tailed fox or Kumiho holds many of the same traits: ability to transform (usually into a young girl), bewitchment. In the tales, unlike the Japanese counterpart, the kumiho is known to do harm, and thus is a more malicious creature. Unlike the Japanese fox which has a reputation not just as a trickster, but also a whimsical side.
Wolves of Element
The history of the Wolves of Element takes place much like many other stories of old. The gods of the elements and of the planet were fighting for survival against many enemies. The gods now being killed off one by one met in a council upon the planet. Each god possessed a different ability or element, the wolves being the highest sentient life forms upon the planet would also be allowed to send one representative to meet with this great council. The gods would talk of what to do with their powers before they were completely eradicated and could no longer watch over the planet but left their spirits to remain. The wolf representative would then speak up and say to the congregation of gods We the wolves could watch over the planet in your stead and take care of it how it was meant to be taken care of. Each god looking to the wolf would agree and begin calling upon the leaders of all packs and tribes in the wolven realm, giving each a power to be passed down through the generations. These powers would consist of each element that the remaining gods possessed: fire, ice, water, air, light, darkness, void, subatomic energy, earth, thunder/lightning, meteor, and metal. With the wolves now possessing these abilities and elements they would keep the bloodlines pure and only mate with wolves of the same bloodline as not to mix or affect the elemental attributes given to them to watch over the planet. These 12 original wolves would hold a council known only as the Council of Elements by outsiders and story tellers. This council meeting took place far from the reaches of each wolves own habitat. They would meet in a neutral region of the globe, so that no one element could be stronger than the other, to talk about future plans with each pack.
In Greek mythology, a harpy ("snatcher", from Latin: harpȳia, Greek: ἅρπυια, harpūia) was any one of the mainly winged death-spirits best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineas. The literal meaning of the word seems to be "that which snatches" as it comes from the ancient Greek word harpazein (ἅρπάξειν), which means "to snatch".
The harpy could also bring life. A harpy was the mother by the West Wind Zephyros of the horses of Achilles (Iliad xvi. 150). In this context Jane Harrison adduced the notion in Virgil's Georgics that mares became gravid by the wind alone, marvelous to say (iii.274).
Though Hesiod (Theogony) calls them two "lovely-haired" creatures, harpies as beautiful winged bird-women are a late development, in parallel with the transformation of the siren, a "creature malign though seductive in Homer, but gradually softened by the Athenian imagination into a sorrowful death angel". On a vase in the Berlin Museum, a harpy has a small figure of a hero in each claw, but her head is recognizably a Gorgon, with goggling eyes, protruding tongue, and tusks.
This article is about the supernatural being. For other uses, see Angel (disambiguation).
The Archangel Michael by Guido Reni wears a late Roman military outfit in this 17th century depiction
An angel is a spiritual supernatural being found in many religions. Although the nature of angels and the tasks given to them vary from tradition to tradition, in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, they often act as messengers from God. Other roles in religious traditions include acting as warrior or guard; the concept of a "guardian angel" is popular in modern Western culture.
Angels are usually viewed as emanations of a supreme divine being, sent to do the tasks of that being. Traditions vary as to whether angels have free will or are merely extensions of the supreme being's will. While the appearance of angels also varies, many views of angels give them a human shape. The word "angel" in English (from Old English and German Engel), French (from Old French angele), Spanish, and many other Romance languages are derived from the Latin angelus, itself derived from Ancient Greek: άνγελος, angelos, "messenger" (in Koine Greek άγγελος, pl. άγγελοι). The ultimate etymology of that word in Greek is uncertain.
In Hebrew & Arabic the primary term for "angel" is "malakh" (מַלְאָךְ), "malaika", or "malak" (ملاك) derived from the Semitic consonantal root l-'-k (ל-א-ך), meaning "to send." This root is also found in the noun "Melakha" (מְלָאכָה), meaning "work", and the noun "Mal'achut" (מלאכות), meaning "message". Other words referring to angels include כרוב kruv describing young children, from which the English word "cherub" is derived. Another Hebrew term is Gil-Gulim, meaning "revolving," and angels are sometimes depicted as wheels with wings. Derived from this is the Hebrew term "Gal-Gal," "the rotation of fortune, change.