Today I’ll be considering the virtues of the Questing Beast for my fantasy squad; a creature from Arthurian legend. It has been referred to by other names, including the Barking beast; an intriguing monster and the subject of many a quest!
Depictions of the Questing Beast are conflicted, but my favourite is probably the version in which the creature has the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, haunches of a lion and the feet of a stag. It is said to emit a sound from deep within its belly, which is akin to barking.
Its origins are varied, but one tale involves the Questing Beast being born of a human princess, one who lusted after her brother and made a deal with the devil because her love was rejected. She clearly didn’t think this through, because everybody knows you should never make a deal with the devil if you’re not prepared for the consequences! I’m paraphrasing, but basically her brother was killed by a pack of dogs, and the princess gave birth to a monstrosity which reflected the sounds of the pack – serving as a symbol of the unjust death.
As interesting as the creature is, let’s relate it to media:
- The Questing Beast appears in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur
- T.H. White gave a more humerous account of the beast in his novel The Once and Future King.
- In the final episode of Merlin, Season 1, the Questing Beast appears – reminiscent of the earlier descriptions.
- The Questing Beast has appeared in many stories, including those written in French, Spanish and Italian.
There are so many others, but I’d like to hear from you. Have you read any stories featuring the Questing Beast? Are you a fan of Arthurian legend? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time.