P is for… Peteliae

Aelian describes the Peteliae as tiny, pale crabs that form in mud. They have small wings that are incapable of flight, instead generating only enough lift to speed them up a bit. Eating them is good for sciatica.

O is for… Opimachus

The chargol insect of Leviticus begat the ophiomachus (“snake fighter”) of the Septuagint, by way of Aristotle’s account of snake-eating locusts. This in turn begat the opimachus of the Ortus Sanitatis, which merges it with the snake-fighting secretary bird. Did it beget the word “opinicus” as well?

N is for… Nhang

“Nhang” is a Persian word for crocodile. In Armenian it refers to the Biblical crocodile and hippopotamus and a monstrous aquatic spirit that lives in the Euphrates. It can appear as a woman or a seal. It seizes people and drowns them, then drains them of their blood.

M is for… Markupo

The Markupo is a Philippine serpent with a red crest, a thorny tongue, a forked tail, and a pleasant singing voice. It exhales a poison of extraordinary deadliness – if the poison is sprinkled on a plant, the plant will wither and its very shadow will kill anyone it touches.

K is for… Karnabo

The bastard offspring of a sorcerer and a ghoul, the Karnabo lives in Regniowez in the Ardennes. It has an elephant’s trunk (capable of a chilling whistle) and lethal basilisk eyes. Its misdeeds are many, but it does cure paronychia on Good Fridays.

J is for… Jarjacha

The Jarjacha is a long-necked, four-legged nocturnal animal with glowing eyes. It only eats incestuous people. Its mocking call – jar-jar-jar-jar-jar – echoing in the mountains of Peru is a sign that someone in the village has been Up To No Good, and the guilty parties are duly sought out and punished.