Bestiary #022: This is Gonna Hurt

2015-11-24-Ao Ao ColorName(s): Ao Ao

Country of Origin: Paraguay (Guarani People)


A lot of learning about mythology is learning about how much we’ve lost. Some of this is because of conquering heroes. The Romans successively attacked the library of Alexandria till it was destroyed. Vikings sacked places of power such as monasteries and libraries. And monks had a merry old time burning any books by non-believers. The destruction of precious Mayan codices is documented by Bishop Diego de Landa, “We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction.”

While forcible destruction of cultures past is abhorrent, what is much more prevalent are societies that never developed written language.

So it’s when a passionate person bothers to travel and collect oral records from descendents that we save a little that may have been lost. One such person is Narciso Colman. He traveled around Paraguay and collected stories from Guarani people. He then collected these stories and spun them into poems. He won the National Order of Merit for these efforts.

One of the many stories he shares is that of the Ao Ao.

It’s a sheep or peccary monster with large tusks. It’s one of the seven fearsome children of Tau and Kerana. Our Ao Ao ate humans exclusively, and would never allow a target to escape. The rare exception to this dogged pursuit was if you found a palm tree to climb up.


“Ao Ao”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.

“Narciso Ramon Colman (Rosicran)”. Portal Guarani. Portal Guarani. 14 May 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.

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Bestiary #021: When a Frog and Bat Love Each Other

2015-11-17-Water Leaper ColorName(s): Water Leaper, Llamhigyn y Dwr

Country of Origin: Wales


It’s a frog bat! There’s not much else to say. It has been described as, “giant” so maybe it’s far more terrifying than it appears?


“Water Leaper”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

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Bestiary #020: More Like Akhwhat

2015-11-10-Akhlut Color

Name(s): Akhlut

Place of Origin: Alaska, (Yu’pik people)


Have you’ve ever seen a video of an Orca happily playing with its food? You know, where the adorable animal is slowly murdered by being flipped in the air? Orca after orca stepping up to be the next one to bat with their giant tails?

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is the animal when it’s content. So if you anger a Killer Whale, your best chance is if you get the heck outta the water. If you’re an unfortunate Inuit, you might be dealing with an Akhlut. A killer whale that can freely turn into a werewhale and chase you right onto the land.

Yeah, you’re not escaping with your life.


Akhlut”. Native American Mythology A to Z. New York: Facts on File, 2010. Print.

“Akhlut”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 12 May 2014.

Rose, Carol. “Akhlut”. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. 2000. Print.

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Bestiary #019: Made With Love

2015-11-03-Bear Color

Name(s): Bear

Country of Origin: Great Britain


There’s plenty of folklore to discuss when it comes to bears. But the tidbit I fell in love with comes from the merry shores of England. Did you know that mother bears actually form their children from balls of fluff? That’s right, painstakingly licking the hair until it resembles a baby bear.

Am I surprised that this natural knowledge hails from a land with no bears?

No. No, I am not.


Pickering, David. “Bear”. A Dictionary of Folklore. New York: Facts on File, 1999. Print.

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Bestiary #018: It’ll Cuddle WITH YO’ FACE

2015-10-27-Drop Bear Color

Name(s): Drop Bear

Country of Origin: Australia


It’s a koala that will fall from a tree and murder you. For some reason, there’s a proper entry of it on the Australian Museums website – which has a further entry to a journal article? Australia, what have you forgotten to tell the rest of the world!?

I’m pretty sure my first encounter with this creature was in the pages of the ever-fabulous Nextwave. I don’t think there’ll ever be a better use of them.


“Drop Bear”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Hosking, Chris. “Drop Bear”. Australian Museum. Australian Museum. 7 July 2015. Web. 12 July 2015.

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Bestiary #017: Al-Aboard!

2015-10-20-Baraq Color

Name(s): Al-Buraq

Country of Origin: Saudi Arabia, Mecca


Want to make a quick trip to heaven? Hop aboard the Buraq. This half-donkey, mule, thing, is happy to escort you. Provided you’re a holy prophet, naturally. It’s generally depicted with a guys face, but once I reached a paragraph that pardoned me, explaining that was more of a Persian and Indian practice, I went for the donkey face! Donkey’s are one of my favorite animals, and…this is my bestiary. So. Yeah.


“Buraq”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.

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Bestiary #016: Don’t Make Fun of It


Name(s): Boobrie

Country of Origin: Scotland


Yes, yes, we get it. It’s called “Boobrie” and that’s funny because we’re all immature. It’s also called, “Horror Bird”. And it can transform. So maybe it’ll turn into a water horse and just stampede over you. Perhaps a bull? Then just gut you through the middle. Or maybe it’ll just stay a giant bird and happily gorge out your eyes.

So despite the name, it’s not something we can take lightly.

It lives around Scottish lochs. It enjoys fetching and devouring cattle that are transported across the water there. Curiously, it really enjoys the taste of otters.


“Boobrie”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.

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Bestiary #014: Go Suck a Goat

2015-09-29-Chupacabra Color

Name(s): Chupacabra

Country of Origin: Mexico (also Pureto Rico, Central & South America)


For most of my life I thought Chupacabra’s were just as prevalent in modern myth as anything else that haunts our stories- vampires, werewolves, gingerbread-house-residing witches. But it turns out our lovely little sucker is a far more modern invention.

We’ve got a creature that ranges in size from the size of your hand to the size of a bear. It probably has large eyes? But maybe not. It definitely has pointy teeth. And it wants to eat all of your goats. Or chickens?

Descriptions start popping up in the 1950s, but there’s a Chupacarbra craze in the 1990s. In the Americas, stories grab headline after headline, as the populous is nigh-ready to confirm the existence of this cryptozoological wonder.

Tragically, the proof that has been presented of this farm fiend isn’t enough to convince scientists (pssh, what do they know) that this possibly winged creature exists.

When the veracity of such eminent news organizations like the Weekly World News is called into question, what has the world come to?


“Chupacabra”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

Neer, Katherine.  “How Chupacabras Work”.  02 November 2001. How Stuff Works. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

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Bestiary #013: Cry Me a River of Cash

2015-09-22-Samebito Color

Name(s): Samebito

Country of Origin: Japan


What do you do when your dragon-lord kicks you out of his underwater empire? Mope around on a bridge.

Then what’s your best course of action when a nice dude stops by and offers you a one-bedroom in his pond? You take him up on it.

When your benefactor worries himself sick over a dowry for a pretty lady? CRY BLOOD.

…that turns into gems! That you give to your bud. Then he lives happily ever after and your king forgives you. Yay for everybody!


“Samebito”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

Saunders, Chas, and Peter J. Allen, eds. “SAMEBITO – the Japanese fabulous creature (Japanese mythology).”, 05 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

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Bestiary #012: Jesus Breath

2015-09-15-Heraldic Panther Color

Name(s): Heraldic Panther

Country of Origin: England


Here for your enjoyment, the Panther Incensed. A piece of heraldry that is just the tip of the iceberg of “Fun things you didn’t know were on shields”. For as silly as a polka-dotted panther looks, this actually has a pretty bad butt origin.

So all Bestiaries are fun to read (hence…this entire project) but there are some entries that are really interesting because it’s an animal we recognize, and the description for it’s behavior is very, very, wrong. Like, did you know giraffes (or camelopardus) are just a cross between a camel and a leopard? That’s modern science at work, guys. If you lived a millennia ago. Very cutting edge.

Our panther here has a better story than just being a cross between other known creatures. In the 13th century, this here was the only creature in nature that could take down a dragon. It roars a breath or fire so sweet, that it attracts all animals to it. Save for the dragon, which is repelled by it’s natural enemy, and so plays dead in its cavern. This purple fire, and the whole deal with slaying serpents – there’s your Jesus allegory. A figure whom everyone wants to hear its roar/breath/fire? Gather round heathens, a panther Jesus is here to address you all.

Bonus fun fact from Pliny – clawed creatures rarely give birth more than once. Near birth, the children start tearing at the womb from the inside.

Gotta love bestiaries.


Badke, David. “Panther”. The Medieval Bestiary. The Medieval Bestiary. 15 Jan. 2011. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.

Barber, Richard. “Panther”. Bestiary. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1999. Print.

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