April 5, 2018

According to old folks, eclipses of the moon or sun were caused by the Bakunawa (literally, large bent serpent). This mythical sky-serpent—which is also associated with darkness—of Asian folklore has analogues in China, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand,and the South Sea Islands, but nowadays, is in the Philippines where the legend most persists.

Philippine folklore describes the Bakunawa as dragon or serpent with added part of many other animals so that it head resembles a shark with gills and...

August 13, 2017

The Xuangui, also called the twisting-turtles, are found along the Strange River that runs east of the Niu-Trees Mountain.The Xuangui are often described as black turtles (sometimes with some red stripes along their bodies) with a bird’s head and a viper’s tail. When swimming, they make sounds as if splitting wood with their beaks.

The shell of this legendary creature mentioned in many ancient Chinese bestiaries was said to have healing and protective properties.

Ancient tradition dictates that we...

July 2, 2017

According to tales and legends, in ancient times, every year on the eve of Chinese New Year (the end of the lunar year) there was a fight against a mythical beast called Nian. This beast had the body of a bull, the head of a lion, sharp teeth and horns, and it was said it hunted for a living.

The ferocious Nian secluded itself in the dark sea for most of the year, however, towards the end of winter, when there was nothing to eat the beast would go onshore and hunt people and other creatures, eati...

June 4, 2017

In ancient Japanese folklore, the Kappa are water demons that inhabit rivers and lakes and devour disobedient little children.

The Kappa are one of many Japanese water deities. The name, meaning “river child,” is a combination of the words kawa (river) and wappa, a variant form of warawa (child).

Since ancient times, Kappa have been used to warn children of the dangers of lurking in and around rivers and lakes, as kappa have been often said to try to lure people into water to drown them.

The Kappa...

February 26, 2017

The Xi-rhinoceros is a mythical three-horned beast that was described among the wildlife found on the Cauldron and Pray-and-Pass Mountains, and on Mount Min (East China). It was said to look like a black water buffalo with a large pig’s head, a distended belly, and short legs ending in three-toed elephant’s feet. Its most distinctive trait was that it has three horns, found on the back of its nose, forehead, and crown.

According to Strassberg in his Chinese Bestiary, the forehead and crown horns...

January 22, 2017

The danghu is a mythical bird-like creature from China. This creature is said to be so strong that it's capable of flying using solely its whiskers and the feathers of its throat while its wings rest comfortably extended.

According to the Chinese scholar Guo Pu (i.e., Kuo P'u; 276 – 324 AD), if you travel to the Shangshen (i.e., the Upper-Shen Mountain), almost at the top, there is a peak where there are no plants or trees, only huge rock. At the base of this peak grow many hazelnut trees and arr...

January 8, 2017

Raiju (or Raijū), meaning thunder animal or thunder beast, is a legendary creature from Japanese mythology said to be companion of Raijin, the Shinto (i.e., an ethnic religion of Japan) god of lightning.

Descriptions of Raiju appearance vary, ranging from dog to squirrel, but it’s more often seen as a wolf or badger. Its celestial form is that of a wolf wrapped in lightning, and it is said that its cry sounds like thunder.

While Raiju is generally a calm and harmless creature, during thunderstorms...

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