Benjamin Franklin said, “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”
Which, I hope is true, considering I recently realized that there are literally dozens of creatures in American folklore of which I knew nothing until last week. A little embarrassing, really, when I consider that I am both a student of American history and a chronic consumer of folklore.
But I’m definitely willing to learn, so I’m calling it water under the bridge. More than that, it’s water filled with haietlik under the bridge.
The important thing is that thanks to the beauty of WIP research, I now have some new favorite creatures. On the off chance that any of you have the same sad gap in your knowledge that I did, it seems only right to share my findings.
So, let me explain. *pauses* No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Or, at least, just stick to the first five creatures of awesome.
Starting off strong, because this guy may just be my favorite. Part of lumberjack lore, the argopelter is a lightning quick tree dweller with an ape face and super long arms that can snap trees branches right off. Once he does that, though, watch out – because if you’ve annoyed him, he can hurl those branches at you with the force of a bullet leaving a gun. Death by splinters makes an interesting epitaph.
A ghostly sort of fellow who seems to be looking for friends among the Kwakwaka’wakw people of coastal
British Columbia. If you’re even stranded in
the woods up there, think twice before taking him up on his offer of ghost food.
Definitely be ready to be a forever friend, because sharing a snack is going to
turn you into a bakwas as well. Here’s hoping he has an extra room in his
Hailing from the American Southwest, this thorn covered bobcat has a armored tail and spikes coming out of its legs. Which is great, because feral cats weren’t dangerous enough already. Plus side, this cat’s a sloppy drunk – known to drink fermented juice until its all liquored up and then spend the night shrieking. Not the best of neighbors.
Okay, I went to school in
did I not know about cryptid feud in the Washington, DC Blue Ridge
Mountains? On one side, the dwayyo, humanoid wolfmen. On the
other, their mortal enemies, the Snallygasters – flying, blood-sucking dragons.
Why? I have to assume for reasons of awesomeness.
Once a human, the gentleman fell into the sea after he accepted that due to his status as a slave he would never marry the chief’s daughter. Instead of being the end of his story, it’s instead a very strange beginning. Upon hitting the cold Pacific waters, he turned into a sea creature. Following this, the only people who saw him were those who would one day be chief.
I’ll stop there for today, but definitely expect some more creature convos as I get further into this draft. And if you have a favorite creature of American folklore, let me know!