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Tarasque

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The Taraque was a dragon of French origin said to dwell in Provence. A fearsome creature, it supposedly had the head and jaws of a lion, the body of a turtle, six bear-like legs and a scaly tail ending in a scorpion's sting.

Legend says that the Tarasque terrorized the locals of Nerluc, a town in Provence. The king of Nerluc tried attacking the beast with knights and catapults, but to no avail. However, a priestess named Saint Martha single-handedly defeated the creature, soothing it with hymns and prayers, taming it. She then led it back to Nerluc, where it was killed by the frightened villagers. Martha preached to the people afterwards, converting most of them to Christianity, and the villagers, ashamed of what they had done to the tamed dragon, renamed their town as Tarascon in memory of the event. To this day, the Tarasque remains the town's coat of arms and a festival is held every year, usually on July 29th, to commemorate the creature and its legend.

Trivia

  • The Tarasque and Tarascon were inspiration for the naming of the predatory dinosaur Tarascosaurus, a member of the abelisaur family and a close relative to Carnotaurus.

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