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Re: "Dragons?"



<To state the obvious, "dragon" is a European word>

French form of Old French (or Gaulish) of a word I don't have handy 
right now, of a Latin word _drakus_ from---which we get "drake", another 
dragon-related word---and from the Greek _thrakos_ (or _drakos_, but the 
form is the correct pronounciation). _Dragon_ is also a firearm that 
gave rise to the dragoon, a cavalry man who bore such a weapon or other 
firearm, derived from the supposed "fire- breathing" capabilities of 
European dragons.

<(as contrasted, for example with "leong" or "leung" which are Chinese 
words for a SIMILAR, but not identical creature). Therein the problem.

Hence: D R A G O N. What the heck is that anyway? Is it the thing that
Sean Connery did the voice for in Dragonslayer?>

"Dragonheart", if you please. "Dragonslayer" actually had a maternal 
wyvern (a Gaelic word).

<Is it what St. George killed?>

Based on a rhino skull from the Rhine? This was the result of that myth, 
if my research is correct.

<Or is it one of the four different flavors of creature that the Chinese 
scare away with firecrackers on New Years.>

Actually, the Chinese would in no way _want_ to scare away a dragon
. . . gifts from the gods and all that, besides being lucky, wise, 
powerful, and gift-bestowuing in and of themselves---it's considered 
highly unlucky to do anything that might offend a dragon. Its the evil 
spirits they chase away.

I wish to add, though, that including the _long_ of China in this is 
unwise, as the Chinese arrived at their "dragons" quite differently than 
the English did, and these are hardly of the reptilian vein as ours are. 
Feathers or hair, and all that, which _long_ are drawn and painted with.

Jaime A. Headden

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