January 22, 2016

Mythical D

        Mythical creatures beginning with D are a little sparser, but on the other hand, any letter that has dragons doesn’t need much else.

dwarf - a short humanoid who usually lives underground as a miner, especially in mountains.  Cultures all around the world have myths of small humanoids, but classic dwarves are stocky, bearded, skilled craftsmen, prone to greed for precious metals and gems.  One of the odd things about dwarfs (or “dwarves,” if you’re Tolkien) is that they never seem to be female.  This has given rise to the fact that in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld male and female dwarfs look indistinguishable, beards and all.  I’ve written about dwarfs of various races in my Otherworld series, including the more traditional mountain dwarfs, rufous dwarfs, and sky dwarfs. (European)

djinni - a powerful magic being, capable of changing shape, traveling vast distances instantly, and performing other magical feats.  In Islamic tradition the djinn, along with humans and angels, are one of three types of wise beings, and have free will and can be either good or evil.  In English we also get the variant genies, which seem to be more narrowly defined and evoke something like The Genie in Disney’s “Aladdin” or “I Dream of Jeannie.”  Either way, lamps or bottles, fezzes, and little vests seem to be required.  For a previous post on djinn/jinn/genies, go here.  I’ve written about a fire genie and a water genie in my Kate and Sam Adventures.  (Islamic)

dragon - the pinnacle of all fantasy creatures, I’ve already posted on dragons multiple times, and I’m sure I will again.  For now, here are the most relevant:
     Asian Dragons
I’ve written about dragons every chance I get - in the Otherworld books, in the Kate and Sam books, and there will be a dragon in the next Book of Doors!

[Pictures: Dwarf, woodcut by hinatyraia (Image from DragonsTrace on Deviant Art);
The Genius and the Merchants, illustration by Henry Justice Ford from The Arabian Nights Entertainments edited by Andrew Lang, 1898;
The Slave of the Ring appears to Aladdin, illustration by H.J. Ford from The Arabian Nights Entertainments edited by Lang, 1898 (Images from Sacred Texts);
Snow White and some dwarfs, illustration by John Batten from European Folk and Fairy Tales edited by Joseph Jacobs, 1916 (Image from SurLaLune).]

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