Mythic Creatures That Never Existed But People Believed In Anyway
The tale of Tarasque is reported in the story of St. Martha, which is included in Jacobus de Voragine s hagiographic (biographies of Christian saints) collection The Golden Legend. Tarasque was a dragon with a very complicated appearance and bad intentions. According to legend, he had a lion s head, six short legs like a bear s, an ox like body covered with a turtle s shell, and a scaly tail that ended in a scorpion s stinger, and terrorized the area of Nerluc, France.
All this, however, ended when a young devoted Christian named Martha arrived in the town to spread the gospel of Jesus and discovered what the people were going through for years because of the ferocious dragon. When she found him in the forest, she supposedly sprinkled holy water on him and tamed his wild nature. She then took him back to the town of Nerluc, where the angry locals stoned Tarasque to death before Martha could explain to them that the dragon was now harmless. On November 25, 2005, UNESCO included the Tarasque on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, in this way recognizing the immense cultural impact of the dragon s tale, especially in medieval Europe.