The Tarasque: The Terror of Nerluc

Origin
France

Source
The Drac: French Tales of Dragons and Demons
By Felice Holman and Nanine Valen
Drawings by Stephen Walker
Scribner's Sons, New York: 1975

The Story
The Tarasque cannot be destroyed by mere human strength or weapons. The people in Nerluc have suffered many years until Martha, the girl with a quiet disposition and a Christian, comes to spread the words of God to the pagan people. She listens to the stories of the Tarasque and sets out, bear-footed, to search the dragon. When she finds the dragon, she uses two sticks as a cross and that stops the dragon as if it is pierced by a sword. She sprinkles holy water on the dragon and that quenches all the fire in him. She uses his sharp tooth to cut off her braids and using the braids as a bridle, leads him back in town, tame as a lamb. The townspeople kills the Tarasque with a shower of stones and Martha weeps for the creature but forgives the people's action because she understands their long-time suffering.

Comments
This male dragon is enormous. His body is most like an ox but with six short bear-like legs with enormous claws. On his body he has two shields like those of a turtle but covered with curved spikes, and the rest of his body is covered with closely overlapping scales that formed his armor. His tail is long and curved like a scorpion. His head is that of a lion, yet with a horse's ears, but his face, with eyebrows and mustache, is that of a sad and bitter old man. The Tarasque is described as an evil fire-breathing beast. The other monster similarly tamed, also originates from France, is The Gargouille, even though the later is an aquatic dragon.

Introduction/Index
Copyright 1996 Roxanne Hsu Feldman Last Updated

April 12, 2003