Me: If you could have any mythical creature for your very own, what would you pick?
G: You mean what would be my personal preference...or what would be the conventional choice?
Me: You...your preference.
G: Okay...well, you know the conventional choice would be a unicorn. Everyone just loves the idea of them being magical and thinks they're all sweet and docile.
Me: Right...I figure most people would say "unicorn" without thinking twice.
G: Well, mom... unicorns were dangerous creatures. They were NOT nice...unless you were a young maiden. They really were only interested in 13-year old maidens. Or red-haired ladies of any age. They were drawn to purity...and they thought 13-year old maidens and red-haired ladies were pure...or something like that. If you were a male, they would run and hide because the only reason males generally approached them was to capture them or kill them, so those guys usually lured unicorns out using 13-year old maidens as bait.
Note: cloven hooves, goat beard and lion tail...the real deal.
And you know, unicorns were NOT just like horses with a long horn sticking out of their foreheads. They had the body and head of a horse, the legs of a deer, the tail of a lion, and a goat's beard...oh, and the big, long horn...duh. They tended to be aggressive toward lions...I don't know why. And griffins... because griffins were very leonine.
For myself, I would pick an Ammit.
Me: What the heck is an Ammit?
G: An Ammit is an Egyptian mythological creature around the size of a small dog...has the head of a crocodile, the front body of a lion, the back half of a hippo. It devours the souls of the damned...I figure that might be good to have around. We probably wouldn't have any trouble with burglars again.
Or I might want a Kirin, which is a chinese-slash-japanese version of a unicorn...it appears in both cultures but with different spellings. Body of a deer or an ox, covered in carp scales and with a deer's antlers...the chinese version has a dragon's head. It's a symbol of good fortune and good times...if you cross paths with a Kirin, it means things will be going your way...and people looked to the Kirin to help with fertility, both people and crops. They're very gentle...unless you're bad...and then, well, look out.
At which point he spit, rinsed, spit again, dried off his mouth and left. His teeth might not have been super clean, but ...holy crap...was I schooled or what?
Oh, and he ran by himself yesterday! I couldn't accompany him because my husband was out and we couldn't leave the younger three home alone, so he said, "I should just go do it without you." And off he went, in his new real running shoes and wearing my Garmin. Our lack of mythological discussion while running is probably what prompted this morning's seminar :)
How much do you know about all the various mythologies?
I thought I was fairly well-informed. My kid puts me to shame.