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Without the fertile earth our planet would be a barren wasteland. Primitive humans understood the important relationship between themselves and the earth. The earth supports us physically and holds the essential components of air, water and fire that are mainstays of life.
The Otherworldly Beings of the earth element above the ground were treated with the utmost respect, and attributed with power, abundance and benevolence. In contrast, those of the earth element below the ground were considered by many cultures to be malevolent creatures of the underworld, and greatly feared.
According to Japanese mythology, the Centipede lived in the mountains near
, and was itself as large as a mountain, with fire in its eyes and glowing legs. Apparently it was impervious to weapons, although human saliva was deadly to such creatures. Lake Biwa
The Cerberus was a fierce, terrifying three-headed watchdog guarding the entrance to Hades. In Greek mythology the lower world is also called Cerberus. Cerberus made sure new spirits were allowed to enter the realm of the dead, but never leave.
The beautiful Norse giantess Nerd, also called the Earth Goddess, was so beautiful that the brightness of her naked arms illuminated the air and sea. The god Freyr succeeded in marrying her after tempting her with eleven golden apples and the ring Draupnir, but only because she was threatened that if she did not the earth would be covered by ice.
Gnomes are related to both Goblins and Dwarves. They are small and misshapen creatures that dwell beneath the earth and guard treasures. Just like Trolls they cannot stand the light of day, and even a single ray of sunlight would turn them into stone.
The Grey Man of Scottish legend was a creature living near the summit of Ben MacDhui. Broad-shouldered, ten feet tall, with long wavy hair and olive skin, he sometimes appeared without physical form; manifesting as strange crunching sounds, an icy feeling like a cold grip on the skin, or a high pitched humming noise called, ‘The Singing’.
Trolls appear most commonly in Scandinavian myth. They are large, extremely strong and ugly creatures that leave their caves to hunt every evening once the sun has set. The males have been described as rather dim-witted, while the females can be cunning as well as being more attractive than the males.
The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary is a legend from the
Far East that was a popular traveller’s tale in the Middle Ages. The legend comes from the fruit of this fern, which is cotton, and misunderstood by Europeans to be wool. Europeans determined that this plant was therefore an animal.
Yakshas are semi divine beings that are half-god, half-demon. A Hindu myth, they live underground beneath the
Himalayas, where they act as stewards of the Earth guarding its wealth of gems, silver and gold.
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