The Cockatrice and the Basilisk –
Many monsters get muddled through the years, causing one beast to get confused for another in this story or that. Just look at Dracula and Nosferatu, pixies and faeires, dragons and wyverns, satyrs and fauns, you get the picture…
But perhaps there are not two beasts more tangled together than the medieval cockatrice and basilisk.
The cockatrice is described as being a reptilian rooster (just allow the words, reptilian rooster, roll around in your noodle for a minute…hehe), mostly chicken but with a snake-like tail and scales, occasionally some draconic wings here or there.
Generally, the basilisk is a giant snake with some chicken-y features, a bird’s beak, chicken feet, always with a “crown” or crest. Of course, sometimes the two creatures have completely different descriptions, and quite often you will see one labeled as the other, leaving quite a bit up to individual interpretation.
One consistency in this: the cockatrice and the basilisk both have powerful, deadly gazes which can either turn someone to stone, or kill them. For this, they were considered terribly dangerous beasts to face in battle.
They share one weakness, as well. Instead of fighting these beasts straight on, some heroes would throw a weasel into their nest. The small rodent was apparently the natural enemy of the serpentine monsters, able to resist their evil-eye. The manner in which the weasel killed these beasts, you ask?
Yup. That’s it. The stench of the weasel’s urine—legendary enough as it is—was enough to do the trick.
Incidentally, mongooses….mongeese…mongice…whatever… The mongoose was another creature that could withstand the cockatrice’s glare. Hmmm…we have to wonder if ferrets would work as well.
Do you think legendary monster prevention is a good reason to obtain a pet rodent? Sounds good to us!
Stay tuned for more legendary beasts, spooky creatures, and horrific monsters in our countdown to Halloween! As well, we have more Top 10 Lists, Interviews, and a contest coming soon.
Happy Halloween 2014!