An eye which looks or regards.
And inasmuch as an eye presupposes a head, and a head without body is
hard to conceive, a material existence was presently imputed to that
which looked upwards out of the liquid depths.
This, I think, is the
primordial dragon, the archetype. He is of animistic descent and
survives all over the earth; and it is precisely this universality of
the dragon-idea which induces me to discard all theories of local origin
and to seek for some common cause. Fountains are ubiquitous, and so are
dragons. There are fountain dragons in Japan, in the superstitions of
Keltic races, in the Mediterranean basin. The dragon of Wantley lived in
a well; the Lambton Worm began life in fresh water, and only took to
dry land later on. I have elsewhere spoken of the Manfredonia legend of
Saint Lorenzo and the dragon, an indigenous fable connected, I suspect,
with the fountain near the harbour of that town, and quite independent
of the newly-imported legend of Saint Michael. Various springs in Greece
and Italy are called Dragoneria; there is a cave-fountain Dragonara on
Malta, and another of the same name near Cape Misenum - all are sources
of apposite lore. The water-drac. . . .
So the dragon has grown into a subterranean monster, who peers up from
his dark abode wherever he can - out of fountains or caverns whence
fountains issue. It stands to reason that he is sleepless; all dragons
are "sleepless "; their eyes are eternally open, for the luminous
sparkle of living waters never waxes dim.
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