Mythical Creatures Series
A fierce water monster from Wales, the Afanc was known for terrorising people who lived near its lake, thrashing about, causing devastating floods. Legend says a hero, some say it was King Arthur himself, came to the people’s rescue, and secured a rope around the animal’s neck. With the help of his powerful oxen, the hero hauled the beast from the depth of the lake and killed it. Poor, misunderstood Afanc, perhaps it just wanted to play in the water!!
What is it?
A sea creature who was said to dwell in a lake in North Wales preyed on anyone foolish enough to swim in its waters, be it a relaxing paddle or an accidental fall. You were finished.
Ability / Power
Some have called it a demonic monster, who attacked and devoured anyone entering its waters. Aside from aggression and strength, the Afanc had no specific abilities or powers.
Another legend tells the tale of a maiden who let the creature sleep on her lap, and the maiden’s fellow villagers bound the creature in chains. When awakened, no surprise, the Afanc grew furious and accidentally crushed the maiden (oops). It was eventually hauled away to another lake, or killed… depending on which version you read.
This story leaves me thinking that the Afanc may not have been all that evil, maybe just misjudged. After all, if a simple maiden, regardless of her beauty, could tame it then could this be another case of so-called heroic men, beating their chest as they slay yet another monster??? Someone has to take the beast’s side 🙂
It has been described as a cross between a beaver, crocodile and a dwarf… Yeah it doesn’t sound too ‘pretty’, but I also wouldn’t want to fall into its lake!
– In the story “Matheson’s Inheritance” by A.F. Kidd, which is based on William Hope Hodgson’s ghost-finding character Thomas Carnacki, a supernatural manifestation appears in a Welsh castle that the locals attribute to an afanc, which, in the story, Mr. Carnacki describes as “a sort of horse-headed monster which is supposed to haunt lakes in Wales.
– Also appeared in episode 3 of Merlin where it was magically conjured out of water and clay
Did you know? Afanc in Modern Welsh is a word which is now means “Beaver”
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