4 More Legends and Myths from around the World

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We’ve already told you about the Loch Ness Monster, Thor’s hammer, the Flying Dutchman and Lorelei, and there are so many more we could talk about! Here are another four myths and legends from around the world.

Read more: 7 Best Countries to Teach English Abroad in 2021

The Kraken – Scandinavia

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Release the Kraken! You have probably heard that phrase before, but what is the Kraken? According to Norse legend, the Kraken was a giant furious squid that was 13-15 meters/ 40-50 feet in length. That’s bigger than a school bus! The Kraken is one of the most legendary and most feared sea monsters in history. Many stories have indicated that the monster could drag ships to the bottom of the ocean, grab sailors, and even create whirlpools. To be honest, who knows what is lurking in the deep? The gigantic sea creature was mentioned by the king of Norway, King Svarah, in 1180. He warned sailors to be aware of the squid-like monster that inhabits the coast of Germany, Iceland, and Norway.

Many famous literature authors have mentioned the beast, such as Alfred Tennyson, Jules Verne, and Victor Hugo. A giant squid roaming the ocean waters does not seem difficult to believe. There are 300 species of squid that have been documented, and there are probably 300 more living in the depths of the ocean. There are species of large squid that have been caught and documented. The colossal squid holds the record of the largest squid in the world at 49 feet/ 14.9 meters in length. This squid could easily be mistaken for the Kraken from a nearby fisherman. Many people have tried to capture proof of the squid’s existence. The most recent sighting was in 2020, but who’s to say if the Kraken is still alive.

Learn more: The Kraken

Dracula  – Romania 

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When you think of popular vampires, what do you think? Do you think of shiny ones like in Twilight? Or manipulating ones like in The Vampire Diaries? Even ones that like to count, like in Sesame Street? All of your favourite vampires had to originate from somewhere, and that somewhere is in Transylvania, Romania. The story of Dracula and vampires has been told countless times. Every telling of the story has its interpretations and twists. Who was Dracula? People suspect the popular vampire to be based on a man named Vlad Tepes.

Vlad was born in present-day Transylvania. His father was knighted into a secret society called the Order of the Dragon. His father renamed himself Dracul (dragon) which made his son Draculea (son of the dragon). In Romania, drac means devil, so Bram Stoker, the author of the book Dracula, interpreted the title as the devil. After being held hostage and eventually abandoned by his father, Vlad was transformed into a bloodthirsty killer. Vlad’s violent history led him to earn the nickname Vlad the impaler, a nickname based on the way he would stab and impale his enemies with spikes. There is a castle in Romania that has been named Dracula’s Castle as it is the only castle fitting Stoker’s description. To learn more about the monster inspired by a monster, read Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Learn more about Dracula’s inspiration here

The Wawel Dragon – Poland

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The Wawel Dragon is famous in Polish mythology. If you are of Polish descent,  you may be familiar with the legend. In present-day southwestern Poland, a king named Krakus ruled in a kingdom in Krakow. He lived in the Wawel castle, and his people were content. One day the people heard an unusual noise. Under the palace lived a dragon who was starving and demanded the people bring him food. If the people refused, they would suffer at the dragon’s hands. The city was in fear and went to the king for a solution. No one was safe, as the people feared for their lives. The king created a competition: whoever defeated the dragon could take his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Plenty of brave men came to slay the beast, but none survived. With every kill, the dragon became stronger. How could the people continue to have hope if no one could defeat the monster? One day Skuba, a poor shoemaker, decided it was his turn to kill the dragon. Unlike the other men who brought swords and shields, he had a secret weapon. The shoemaker was going to use the dragon’s greed against himself. Skuba took sheepskin and filled it with hay and sulphur, and fed it to the monster. The sulphur chemical made the dragon so parched it drank the whole river until it exploded! In the end, Skuba married the princess in the castle and lived happily ever after.

Learn more: Wawel Dragon 

Pandora’s Box – Greece 

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Have you heard the phrase curiosity killed the cat? It is a proverbial expression in attempts to stop someone from letting their curiosity get the best of them, which could result in trouble or danger. This trait is famously known for the ancient Greek legend of Pandora. Pandora was a mortal woman who set off a chain of destruction based on her impulsive curiosity. Hephaestus, the god of fire, breathed Pandora into life. The god of fire wanted to make her extraordinary with the help of the other gods and goddesses. Each immortal being presented her with a gift. Aphrodite gave her the capability for deep emotions, Hermes gave her mastery of any language plus her name, and Athena gave her the ability to pay attention to detail and craftsmanship.

Zeus, the god of the gods, gave Pandora two gifts. The first was curiosity that lived deep inside her spirit, and the second was a box closed lightly. Inside the box was not meant for mortal eyes and was forbidden from being opened under any circumstances. Pandora lived on earth and was the most content. The gifts from the gods, however, made her have a thirst for knowledge. She would often wonder what was inside the box Zeus gave her. The more she thought of the contents of the box, the more curious she became. She became obsessed with the box and one day she could not take it any longer, and opened the box.

Opening the box unleashed monstrous creatures into the world. Zeus created the box as a vessel for all the horrible evil forces he created. Once the evil was set free, they were uncontainable. Today, the story of Pandora’s box expresses how curiosity can have extreme consequences.

Learn more: Pandora’s Box

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