Gargouille

Legendary Dragon of France. Etymology: French, "gargler." Variant name: Gargoyle. Physical description: Serpentine. Scaly head. Slender snout. Eyes that gleam like moonstones. Long neck. Four membranous flippers.

Behavior: Shoots jets of water from its mouth. Lives in a cave on the riverbank. Capsizes boats. Eats people.

Distribution: Seine River in Normandy, France.

Significant sighting: A scaly monster emerged from the Seine River near Rouen, France, in the early seventh century and caused flooding by emitting jets of water from its mouth. It was subdued by St. Romain (Romanus), archbishop of Rouen (from A.D. 626 to 640), who led it back to town, where it was burned to death.

Present status: Served as the inspiration for the architectural gargoyles that began to adorn French churches in the thirteenth century as waterspouts.

Sources: Histoire véritable de la Gargouille: Complainte en 32 couplets (Caen, France: Chez Renardini, 1826), http://users.skynet.be/dhs/ gargouilles/legende.htm; Karl Shuker, Dragons: A Natural History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), pp. 18-19; La fête de la Gargouille à Rouen, http://www.france-pittoresque.com/traditions/24.htm.

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