A beast coming to us from France and Spain is the Peluda (the hairy one), known to the French as the Velue (the shaggy one), a gigantic fire-breath dragon with its back covered with sharp porcupine-like quills.
These draconic beast was said to have lived in the banks of the Huisne River near the town of La Ferté-Bernard in the northwest of France.
The oldest mentions of this beast describe how the Peluda was invited onto Noah’s Ark, albeit only if she solemnly promised not to eat any of the other creatures on board, but declined the invitation, assure she would be able to survive the flood by staying on the air for as long as necessary. And that was the main advantages this beast had over other medieval dragons: the Peluda was able to travel extraordinarily long distances without getting tired, hence her occurrence is Spanish and French folklore despite being liked to a village in France, in search of prey.
Recounts from oral tradition describe the Peluda as having four stubby legs, turtle like claws, scales upon her tail, and a shaggy brownish fur covering large section of its body, which in addition to the quills in her back, give her the appearance of an overgrown porcupine when seen from afar.
The people from La Ferté-Bernard knew when the Peluda was back from her hunting excursion because she was so big, each time she bathed in the river, the water level rose flooding the farms for miles around.
For as long as this dragon was content with eating sheep and the occasional cow, the farmers of the region tolerated its presence. However, after a long winter when prey was scarce, Peluda developed a taste for young maidens, and once consumed the fiancé of a young man. In the throes of grief, the young man forgot all about Peluda’s size and deathly fire breath and sought a wise woman’s advice on how to enact his vengeance. She revealed to him the beast’s one weakness: It’s tail.
Armed and armored, the young man travel to the Huisne River, and challenged Peluda in single combat, eventually defeating the massive beast by chopping off its tail with an axe.
-Bane, T., 2016. Encyclopedia of Beasts and Monsters in Myth, Legend and Folklore. McFarland.
-Delmas, M-C. 2017. Dictionnaire de la France merveilleuse. OMNIBUS.