By Felix Lehmann
The Dragon has been an integral part of the folklore of several countries for centuries together now. While there are legends galore surrounding them, the question as to whether these creatures really existed is still not clear. While some people say that they are just figments of imagination, there are many who swear by their existence. The debate has been going on for centuries now with no conclusive answer in sight.
The mention of these fearsome creatures can be found in almost all the major religions of the world. There are references to them that can be found in the Holy Bible. You can also find several mythological characters being dragons in other major religions of the world too. In fact , they seem to be most popular in the oriental culture. One of the striking aspects is the various different sizes , features and colors of these often monstrous creatures that are popular.
Traditionally the western dragon has often been portrayed as being evil. It has been associated with all things bad and negative in western civilizations. The depiction of the creature too derives from this concept. It is usually a winged animal with a long neck. More often than not, it would also breathe fire wreaking havoc with the others. There are many legends which also show them as having magical powers. For example, they could change their color and shape at will according to some legends prevalent in western countries. They were also depicted as being blood thirsty. They would usually eat cattle or sometimes even humans, particularly in instances when they had some sort of vengeance to wreak.
When it comes to the eastern dragon, the varieties are more. There are the ones which have got serpentine body. They could fly and often spit fire on its enemies. They also have four legs , just like their western counterparts. Their body shape would more or les resemble that of a reptile or a snake. The claws would resemble that of a kite or an eagle. In some pictures they are often depicted having claws of a lion. Another unique thing about them are their horns. In certain religions they are also shown as having the ears of an elephant too.
The major difference between the different types that are found in eastern civilizations seems to be in the number of toes that they had. For example, in the case of Japan the dragon will always have three toes. This is not the case with the Chinese ones , which usually have five. The Indonesia and Korean ones have four.
Contrary to what many people think, not all of them were evil. There are many legends that tell us that there were good ones too among them. In fact, in a vast majority of the eastern civilizations they were shown as being very docile , unless they were provoked into doing something violent. While the debate about their existence continues endlessly, there is no denying the fact that these creatures have become a part and parcel of our lives.
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