Long but fascinating history of wyrm (dragon) folklore.
As a sideways break from my ruminations on the faeries and their abodes, here are some contemplations on the magico-folkloric tale of the Lambton Wyrm, from the North-East of England. A version of the article was originally published on the Ancient Origins website.
“Whisht! lads, haad ya gobs,
Aa’ll tell ye aall an awful story. Whisht! lads, haad ya gobs,
An aa’ll tell ye ‘boot the wyrm.”
(C.M. Leumane, 1867)
There are more than twenty folktales from north-east England and Scotland that include the motif of a ‘wyrm’, a huge dragon-like, wingless serpent that terrorises neighbourhoods – sometimes for many years – before being eventually slain (motifs classified in the Aarne-Thompson folktale index as B18.104.22.168, B11.2.1, and B11.11). These wyrm folktales are not exclusive to this geographical area – one appears in Somerset as the Gurt Wyrm of Shervage Wood, and there are several German, Scandinavian…
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