||W. W. Norton & Company
We have always conjured up creatures never seen in nature, from flying horses and two-headed birds to fire-breathing dragons and enormous killer skunks, as well as fantastic distortions of our own image, from giants to nubile maidens. In these pages you will meet extraordinary beings from Hindu and Navajo religions, Scandinavian tales, Russian folklore, Lithuanian stories, Irish oral history, American tall tales, and Aztec myth. Just some of the monstrous entourage: - Baku, a benevolent Japanese monster with the body of a horse, the head of a lion, and the legs of a tiger, who helps people by devouring their nightmares. - Kurma, the giant tortoise of Hindu myth, whose upper shell forms the heavens and lower part the earth. - Missipissy, the feared fish serpent of North America's Great Lakes region. This illustrated encyclopedia not only identifies and describes individual beasts in their cultural context but also groups them together across cultures and discusses common mythological strands and conceits.