Dragons
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The Drac.webp

In French folklore, the Drac was a sea dragon, "genius of evil waters", or a form of Satan.[1] The dragon was a spellcaster who lurked in the river of Rhone where he haunted the city of Beaucaire.

The drac had a taste for humans, French writer Federic Mistral mentioning that the dragon lured them from the depths of the river with his soft voice to catch them.[1] Another source says that the drac occasionally came up to the surface to hunt for them, using his magic to be able to turn invisible to his advantage.[2]

Description

The drac's appearance varies from depiction to depiction. Federic Mistral wrote that the drac was a winged amphibian that had the body of a reptile but the shoulders and head of a beautiful young man.[1]

Folklore

According to one folktale of the drac, he had captured a young women and made her his child's wet nurse. The story begins with the women washing the swathes of her newborn baby near a river before seeing a golden cup engraved with a pearl floating by. She impulsively reaches for it, causing her to fall into the river where an invisible claw grabs her wrist. After losing her senses, she finds herself in a crystal cave once she regains them. She tries to remember what happened, but her memories have been erased by the drac's spell.[2]

Entrhalled by the dragon's voice and eyes, she is subdued by the drac's will. Days passed as the young women was now the caretaker of the drac's child, her previous role as a mother as well as her young age and robustness being the reason why the drac chose her for the task. Every night, the women anoints the eye of the child with a balsam intended to let the child see his invisible parent. While rubbing her eyes when doing this, the liquid gets into them. [2]

After seven years, the child has grown up, leaving the women without a purpose for the drac. Deciding not to kill her, the drac lifted the spells he put on her and returned her to the shore. Once waking up, the women feels disorientated but finds her way to her old home. Once home, she meets her aged husband and child, the latter of which had forgotten about her, yet the underlying love bonded the three once again. She slowly got back into the old lifestyle, yet frequently dreamed of dragons.[2]

One day, while at the marketplace, she saw the drac. Letting out a cry, the drac noticed her and asked her if she saw him, to which she said yes. The drac then put a claw on her left eye before then putting it on her right, the women finally responding that she couldn't see him when he put her claw on her right eye. At that instant, the drac ripped out her right eye. In the coming years, the women told the story of what happened, yet the people deemed her insane.[2]

Trivia

  • The drac is thought to be the origin of the name of the town Draguigan (originally called Dracneum).[3]
  • A poem that featured the drac written by French poet Mistral in the nineteenth century was based off Gervais of Tilbury's account of creatures called the dracae in his "Otta Imperilia". According to Tilbury, the dracae are female water spirits that lured people to their lairs by taking the form of a cup that floated by.[3]
  • In the reigon of the Rhone, many washerwomen still use beetles sculpted in a lizard-like shape reminiscent of the drac.[3]
  • The authors of The Drac: French Tales of Dragons and Demons note that there's multiple dracs, all of them having continued to be a menace to the provinces until the fifth century when St. Hermentaire was made bishop of Antibes.[3]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Drac (river) 'Wikipedia
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The Drac of Beaucaire Monstrous.com
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Felice Holman, Nanine Valen, Stephan Walker (1975) The Drac: French tales of Dragons and Demons Scribner pp.16-17
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