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Shapeshifting Dragons of Folklore: Three Love Stories

I have a lifelong fascination with mythology. I especially love myths about dragons.

Why do dragons and humans fall in love with each other?

Why do dragons and humans fall in love with each other?

Three Stories of Interspecies (Dragon-Human) Love

Dragons sometimes take human form and beguile humans into a romantic affair. Dragons are generous and tender lovers; however, as these three stories illustrate, you must keep your promises.

Are Dragons Lonely?

According to folklore, dragons tend to live alone in caves of one sort or another. Perhaps dragons get lonely and seek out human companionship. To alleviate this loneliness, they sometimes take human form and beguile a young princess—they do tend to favor royalty--into a romantic attachment. They take human form, usually impersonating a handsome prince, when they wish to seduce a young lady.

This often works out very well for the young lady as dragons are very generous to the humans they love. Additionally, dragons are ardent and tender lovers.

The following three stories are about great romances between humans and dragons who shapeshift into human form. All these stories just happen to take place in the Middle Ages in France. Why the Middle Ages? Dragons were quite plentiful in those days. Why France? Because France is the land of l’amour, of course.

A golden dragon steals the heart of Griselda.

A golden dragon steals the heart of Griselda.

1. Griselda and the Dragon Troubadour

During the Middle Ages, at the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, there was an annual celebration. Troubadours came from far and wide to compete in poetic contests. (It wasn’t always all about the knights jousting; there was an appreciation of the arts too.)

One year, a mysterious and very handsome young man won the contest. He refused to give his name, but his genteel manners made him a favorite, and he was invited to remain at court. Griselda, the daughter of a lord, fell head over heels for him and begged him to marry her. The troubadour agreed but had two conditions: She must promise to never try to learn his identity and to never seek out his company. She could be with him only when he chose to see her.

The morning after their marriage, she awoke to find herself in a sumptuous palace. She had everything a gal could want. There were servants, fine clothes, jewels, gardens, and entertainment galore. "All of this is yours," her husband said, "but do not forget your promise."

At first, it was easy for Griselda to keep her promise—her husband spent most of his time with her. However, every once in a while, he would disappear into a room she was not allowed to enter. One day, her curiosity got the better of her. She found the door unlocked, and she entered.

She watched, terrified, as her handsome husband was transformed before her eyes into a huge golden dragon. She cried out in terror, and her husband saw that she had broken her promise.

Griselda’s punishment was to be banished from his castle and his affections. Griselda got off easy—as everyone knows, dragons have very bad tempers and do not like to be disobeyed. Her punishment could have been much worse.

We do not know what happened to Griselda after that, nor, for that matter, what happened to the dragon. Perhaps Griselda remarried, a human this time, and the dragon went off to another court to seduce another maiden.

Jilocasin captures the lady's heart.

Jilocasin captures the lady's heart.

2. The Dragon Jilocasin

During the reign of King Charlemagne in the region of France known as Gascony, there lived another dragon named Jilocasin who also liked to visit at court disguised as a human troubadour and entertain the lords and ladies with his poetry. (Dragons are very fond of poetry.)

One day he heard a young woman in the forest crying out for help. (Dragons have a soft spot for damsels in distress.) The lady had been attacked by bandits. Jilocasin was a powerful dragon, and he quickly dispatched the bandits. The lady had fainted from her injuries and thus never saw Jilocasin in dragon form. Jilocasin carried her back to his castle and took human form before the lady regained consciousness.

The lady told Jilocasin how she had come to be out in the forest alone. After her husband died, her family forced her to marry her cousin almost immediately, without waiting for the period of mourning to end. Her new husband was a horrid man who was interested in only her title and wealth. It happened that the lady was pregnant by her first husband, and when her baby was born, her new husband wished to kill the child. He did not want the boy to be a rival for the wealth bestowed upon him when he married the young widow. After telling the story, the young lady opened her robe and revealed the baby she had been clutching to her breast. She asked for the protection of the man who she assumed to be the (human) lord of the castle.

The two spent three happy years together and were constant companions. Eventually, Jilocasin revealed his dragon identity to her, but she was deeply in love and was not put off by this. She became pregnant again. (Jilocasin was evidently human in all details when he assumed human form because there are no stories of a dragon-human hybrid being born.)

Unfortunately, the lady died in childbirth, but Jilocasin raised both of her sons to become fine, strong men. The young men were loyal sons to their dead mother. When they grew to adulthood, they attacked and seized the castle of their mother's second husband. The story does not say whether or not the dragon helped them in this endeavor.

Melusine still flies over the castle. weeping over the loss of her family.

Melusine still flies over the castle. weeping over the loss of her family.

3. Melusine, the Lady Dragon

Even lady dragons were known to dabble with shapeshifting and love alliances with humans. There is the story of Raymond, Lord of Lusignan, from the French region of Poitou, who, while out riding, met Melusine, a dragoness who had taken the form of a beautiful young woman.

Dragons apparently have some mysterious allure to humans—perhaps it has to do with pheromones—because the Lord promptly fell in love with Melusine and implored her to marry him. Melusine consented, but she had one condition: no looking at her on Saturdays. Every wife needs a little bit of "me-time."

Things were just fine for many years. Melusine used the magic powers that dragons possess to bring great wealth and prosperity to her husband. She bore him ten children. Human children—no dragon-human hybrids here either--although the children did look a little strange, with unusually large teeth and brilliant eyes.

Raymond’s brother became jealous of their happiness. He bedeviled his brother with doubt about Melusine's faithfulness, until the lord broke his promise and spied on her. He discovered her in her bath in dragon form. He recoiled in horror, and Melusine fled the castle forever.

However, Melusine evidently missed her former family. Occasionally, she could be spotted hovering high above the castle, weeping piteously for her lost family. Some say she can still be seen flying above the castle on moonless nights.

Some say Melusine was a mermaid or a serpent or even a fairy, but don’t believe them. Melusine was a dragoness.

What Is the Moral of These Stories?

Be careful of mysterious strangers who show up out of nowhere and won’t tell you anything about their past and who make rather odd demands about “alone time.”

Dragon Shapeshifter Romance for Modern Audiences

They fell in love. They lived happily ever after. That’s nice, but modern audiences don't want nice. They want details. Hot sexy dragon-love details.

Did you know that there is a whole genre of romance novels devoted to shapeshifting dragons and the humans who love him. If this is a genre that interests you I recommend that you sample the novels in the Dragon's Heat series.

© 2014 Catherine Giordano

What are your thoughts about dragons or dragon-human love, or this recounting of folklore?

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 03, 2017:

Rambo: I assume you are adding more mythical stories to the three I told since I am not familiar with Nagas. I like stories about dragons, but I don't for a second think that they exist or have ever existed.

Rambo on September 03, 2017:

Dragons are the Nagas. Takshaka is one of the 8 great dragon kings of China. Naga princess Ulupi was the lover of Arjuna. In Mahabharata they are said to vomit fierce flames.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 22, 2016:

Lorelei Cohen: I'm so glad you enjoyed these unconventional love stories. I'm sure there are allegories in there about love. Live don't look to carefully at your loved one; you may see things you won't like.

Lorelei Cohen on September 22, 2016:

Delightful tale of love, romance, and dragons. How could one not love a soft hearted dragon?

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 08, 2014:

I'm so glad you liked my post about dragon-human romance. You are not the only person who dreams of dragon mates. Thee are hundreds of romance novels about this. I hope you find a dragon to love even if it is only a plush toy.

anondragon on December 08, 2014:

I read something like "In an ancient text or eastern lands, "The King Vih", they talk about dragon and human friendship was so strong that it was even intimate" or something like this.

I personally dream being the mate of a dragon... my heart won't refuse to this

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 02, 2014:

I was only joking about dragons living amongst us.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 02, 2014:

A thought just came to me. What if dragons exist and they are all around us, but we don't realize it because they have taken human form?

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 02, 2014:

Mel: Funny you should ask that question. The very first hub I did on dragons was all about that: Do Humans Have Dragon DNA. It's one of the 6 hubs in the slide show on my profile page. I'm so glad you liked the dragon stories.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on October 02, 2014:

This sort of cross cultural appearance of dragons in myths across the globe mystifies me. Any theories on where they come from? Great hub!

Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on October 02, 2014:

Yikes! Please, and no thank you! But I did enjoy learning a bit about them.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 02, 2014:

Yes, goatfury, it is weird, isn't it? And the stories in my post are sweet and nice; try a free sample of a few dragon romance novels on amazon for more graphic descriptions of dragon lust.

Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on October 02, 2014:

Fascinating. I had no idea dragons and humans ever... did it.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 01, 2014:

Thanks. I'm so glad you enjoyed the stories and the way I told them. I always try to make the polls funny. I think people are more likely to do them if they are a joke. I have no evidence for that, it is just what I think.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 01, 2014:

I enjoyed your easy flowing writing style and how you connected the three stories. This is an interesting topic, and I was attentive from the first word to the last. Cute poll, too.