According to the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Dragon, and it is interesting that the Year of the Dragon is the only year named after a creature that doesn’t exist. The other years — Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Boar, Rat, Ox, Tiger and Rabbit — are named after living creatures with which we are familiar. Only the dragon, which scientists say never existed, is mythical.
Or is it? What if the scientists are wrong. What if dragons existed, and not all that long ago? References to them are found all over — references made with straight faces and often with accompanying illustrations or sculpture.
The civilizations that seemed to know all about dragons include the ancient Greeks, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Mesopotamians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Vietnamese, the Scandinavians, the French, the Germans, the English, the Firbolg of Ireland, the Celts of Wales, the American Indians, the indigenous Australians, the people of India, the people of Persia, the Slavs, the Romanians, the Ukrainians and the Russians, just to name the ones we know about.
On pre-Columbian maps of the oceans, there were warnings at the edges, which said things to the effect: “Beware, for Beyond Here There Be Dragons.”
I know we’re not supposed to question the wisdom of science, but what if the archeologists and paleontologists have made mistakes? What if there really were dragons? What if those who came before us weren’t just making up stories, but were reporting things they actually had seen? What if St. George did, in fact, slay a dragon?
If that were the case, the Chinese Zodiac would all be about real animals, and not just 11 real ones and one of legend only.
It is thought that the dragon tales arose when early people found skeletons of prehistoric animals such as certain giant whales. And that likely is true.
But if that is the case, why isn’t this the Year of the Dinosaur or the Year of the Woolly Mammoth.