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Saffron Walden Basilisk


The pamphlet that deals with the Henham winged serpent also relates the story of a basilisk dragon that held siege to Saffron Walden centuries before. It was described as:

“…not about a foot in length, of colour between black and yellow, having very red eyes, a sharp head and a white spot hereon like a crown. It goeth not winding like other serpents but upright on its breast. If a man touch it though with a long pole it kills him: and if it sees a man far off it destroys him with its looks. Furthermore it breaketh stones, blasteth all plants with his breath, it burneth everything it goeth over; no herb can grow near the place of his abode.”

The basilisk killed so many people that the town was becoming severely depopulated. Finally a wandering knight delivered the townspeople by covering his armour in crystal glass. On seeing its own reflection, the monster died.

Taken from an article by Richard Freeman


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