Mythical Creatures Series
Once upon a time, a dragon-like monster emerged from the sea and chose to live in a river in southern France. It wasted no time to terrorize people and animals. Many heroes perished against the beast said to have risen from hell, that is until a Saint came to save the day.
What is it?
An evil, legendary dragon from southern France unleashing terror upon villagers who crossed its path.
Ability / Power
Packing the strength of twelve lions, the tarasque has a taste for human flesh, and with razor-sharp dagger teeth, it is bound rip apart anyone. This creature would destroy homes and whole villages. A fiery breath made the tarasque a ferocious predator.
Since the tarasque is considered a creature of the devil, stories tell of Saint Martha who heard of the beast and went out to catch it armed only with a jar of holy water. The monster was banned solely by the power of the cross and the holy water. St. Martha led the beast to the town, where it was killed. The town changed its name to Tarascon and erected a new church in honor of St. Martha.
The tarasque is said to take the appearance of a dragon or sea serpent – perhaps a blend of both, enormous in size comparable to that of an ox. The size depends on what legends you read because others have it outsize twelve elephants. It has two shields like those of a turtle but covered with curved spikes, and the rest of his body is covered with closely overlapping scales that formed his armor. The creature also has six short bear-like legs and claws, and comes complete with a long tail bearing an enormous stinger. It lives on both land and in the water.
Now the tarasque’s head resembles a lion’s, which is why it roars, yet it has a horse’s ears, but its face, with eyebrows and mustache, is that of a sad and bitter old man. The tarasque seems to be a hybreed of several animals.
Appearances In Culture
- The Tarasque is featured on the coat of arms of the city of Tarascon. A festival is held every year there on the last Sunday of June to remember the Tarasque, as well as Tartarin, the main character of Alphonse Daudet’s Tartarin de Tarascon.
- A legendary marine creature reported to live in Vietnam’s Halong Bay was also called “Tarasque” by the French who ruled the area at the time.
- The French military named a towed 20 mm anti-aircraft gun after the Tarasque.
- The Tarasque is one of the statues of the Corpus Christi procession of many Spanish cities (Valencia, Granada)
- The tarrasque (pronounced tah-RASK) is a magical beast in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game.
Did you know? This village of Tarascon holds a festival every year to commemorate the Tarasque beast. It is done every last of Sunday of June and is celebrated with a traditional tarasque parade.
Previous Mythical Creature Posts:
Marchosias: A Kick-Ass Creature, Ningyo: The Deadly Mermaid, Abatwa: Riding Ants To Victory, Cait Sith: It Gets Into Your Mind, Anka: The Goliath Bird, Huldra: Norse Forest Lady, iele: Romanian Nymphs Of The Air, Manticore: The Man-Eater, Hantu Demon: Legendary Spirit, Lich: Undead Necromancer, Joan The Wad: Queen of Piskies, Fomorian: Ancient Gigantic God, Rakshasa: Shape Shifter Demon, Hellhound: Guarding The Gates Of The Dead, Sleipnir: Eight-Legged Horse, Three-Legged Crow: Guiding the Lost, Afanc: Welsh Lake Monster