The Book of Beasts
The Book of Beasts is the Fludds' most treasured possession. It contains information regarding all of the mythical beasts which the Fludds have documented over the centuries. Now you can take a look inside it too!
Born from a cockerel egg and hatched by a serpent during the days of Sirius (the dog star), the basilisk is the most venomous creature on earth. Its gaze can strike a man or beast dead at twenty paces. Its breath is so poisonous that it causes trees and shrubs to wither and die on contact. It can make birds fall lifeless from the sky merely by spitting its venom into the air. This snakelike creature is not more than twenty fingers long, but do not be fooled by its small size. it has the head and legs of a rooster, and wings, too - only not of feathers, but of reptilian skin. His tongue is forked, and the tail ends in an arrow point. Like many poisoned things, he is brilliantly colored, his scales glitter like rubies, emeralds, and sapphires in the sunlight. Basilisk's venom is considered highly valuable by those who practice the dark arts as it is an undetectable poison. The creature's scales and fangs also have great value.
A basilisk makes an appearance in Book 2: The Basilisk's Lair!
As the sun sets on the phoenix's five hundredth birthday, it returns to its place of birth and builds a funeral pyre. Amid the rays of the setting sun, it sets itself on fire, burning until it is reduced to a pile of ash.
The secret of a phoenix hatching is to be sure the pile of ash never grows cold.
The nest must be protected from the wind. It is also wise to feed additional fuel to the glowing ash, especially during the cold desert nights.
There are many magical properties attributed to the phoenix: If a sick or wounded man hears the song of a phoenix, he will be healed. Phoenix tears, if drunk, will provide eternal life. A phoenix feather is said to possess many magical properties Unfortunately, there is no record of what they are.
A pinch of ashes from the fire of a phoenix can cure the gaze of a basilisk, the bite of a manticore, the scratch from a dragon's claw, or any human illness.
Once a phoenix is finished with his nest, he will gather all the ash and twig into an egg. In ancient times he carried the egg to the temple of the sun god. It is considered a most precious offering.
A phoenix can be seen in Book 1: Flight of the Phoenix!
Wyverns are one of the last remaining dragons in the west, confined mostly to their nesting area in the mountains of Snowdonia, Wales. From the tip of their snout to the barb at the end of their serpentine tail, they can reach a length of thirty feet. They stand approximately twenty feet high and have two legs and a pair of magnificent wings. Each of the wing spines has a large talon attached to it.
They are quite fond of sheep, cattle, and oxen but will settle for humans if no hooved animals can be found. They will also feed on trout and salmon, but consider those more of a supplement than a true meal. They mate for life and htach their eggs in an underground cavern. The hatchlings remain there until their scales have fully hardened and they can brave the outside world. Safe in the caves, the dragonlings practice hunting, hoarding, and breathing small plumes of fire. All the adult dragons share in parenting duties.
It takes five years for wyverns to reach maturity. They spend the last year of childhood hunting side by side with the adults.
The wyverns' method of attach involved swooping down from the sky amid loud shrieks that are intended to paralyze their victims with fear. They use the massive talons on their feet for grabbing prey and the smaller claws on their wings to hold the prey while they rip into it with their razor-sharp teeth. The wyverns' lashing barbed tail can also do great damage.
Since the wyverns entered into the Covenant with Lludd, the attacks on humans have been few and far between, usually perpetrated by a rogue wyvern who has been banned from his herd or a young wyvern who hasn't fully learned the rules yet.
Wyverns are the stars of Book 3: The Wyverns' Treasure !
© 2009-2011 R. L. LaFevers/Kelly Murphy/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children. All Rights Reserved.
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