I’ll try to do something within the next few days but bear with me. My family is having trouble and tonight is extremely important.
Any suggestions on what ‘monsters’ to feature?
Day #2: The tale of Solomon, Ashmedai (Asmodeus), Tarnegol HaBar, and the Shamir (The Cutting Worm)
[Note: I missed a day. I am sorry. To make up for lost time, this tale has four interesting characters you may want to check out.]
The tale of how King Solomon obtained the Shamir begins when Solomon wished to construct a temple. There were no tools available (the reason for which is debateable) so Solomon asked the sages how he should go about constructing the temple. The sages told Solomon about a worm (again, debated) called the Shamir who had the ability to cut through anything. Legend said the worm was created on the sixth day of genesis and eventually used by Moses to carve the Ten Commandments into stone.
To find the worm, Solomon was instructed to capture a male and female demon, bind them together and ask for them to reveal the location of the demon, Ashmedai, more commonly known as Asmodeus.
He said to them, Where is he?
— They answered, He is in such-and-such a mountain. He has dug a pit there, which he fills with water and covers with a stone, which he then seals with his seal. Every day he goes up to the sky and reads in the Synagogue of the sky, and then he comes down to earth and reads in the Synagogue of the earth, and then he goes and examines his seal and opens [the pit] and drinks and then closes it and seals it again and goes away.
Solomon sent the commander of Kind David’s army of mercenaries, Benaiah, to wait for the demon. Benaiah was armed with a neclace and ring, both of which were engraved with the name YHWH (Yahweh) as Jewish beliefs state that demons were powerless to the true name of God. When Benaiah arrived at the demon’s pit he drained it of water and refilled it with wine.
When Ashmedai came to his waterhole, hoping to get a drink, he noticed it was filled with wine and refused to drink the substance, quoting Proverbs 20:1 (Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.) But, eventually the demon grew thirsty and drank the wine.
Benaiah hid until the demon passed out from intoxication, at which point Benaiah threw the chain/necklace over the demon’s neck, binding it it. When Ashmedai woke up, the two made their way back to King Solomon, with Ashmedai sharing his wisdom along the way.
He saw a blind man straying from his way and he put him on the right path. He saw a drunken man losing his way and he put him on his path. He saw a wedding procession making its way merrily and he wept. He heard a man say to a shoemaker, Make me a pair of shoes that will last seven years, and he chuckled. He saw a diviner practising divinations and he chuckled.
Benaiahu said to Ashmedai, Why when you saw that blind man going out of his way did you put him right? He replied: It has been proclaimed of him in heaven that he is a wholly righteous man, and that whoever does him a kindness will be worthy of the World to Come. And why, when you saw the drunken man going out of his way, did you put him right? He replied, They have proclaimed in heaven that he is wholly wicked, and I conferred a boon on him in order that he may consume [here] his share [of the future world]. Why when you saw the wedding procession did you weep? He said: The husband will die within thirty days, and [to get married again, the wife] will have to wait for the brother-in-law who is still a child of thirteen years. Why, when you heard a man say to the shoemaker, Make me shoes to last seven years, did you laugh? He replied: That man has not seven days to live, and he wants shoes for seven years! Why when you saw that diviner divining did you laugh? He said: He was sitting on a royal treasure: he should have divined what was beneath him.
When they finally made it back to Somolon, Ashmedai revealed that he was not in possession of the Shamir.
He said: It is not in my hands, it is in the hands of the Lord of the Sea who gives it only to Tarnegol HaBar, to whom he trusts it on oath.
Tarnegol HaBar is said to be a mythical bird similar to a Hoopoe. Once again, the king sent Benaiah to find the bird and capture the Shamir (worm.)
Benaiah found the bird’s nest, which still held it’s young, and placed a glass pane over it. When Tarnegol HaBar found it was unable to reach it’s young, it placed the worm on the glass. Benaiah grabbed the worm and headed back to the king.
The bird, in despair over breaking it’s oath, strangled itself.
Sorry I couldn’t put it more elegantly ;)
Day 1: Selkies
In celtic folklore, Selkies were a race of seal-people similar to Merrows in that their ability to travel between forms is reliant on a special object, in this case, their skin. (Merrows rely on a hat called a cohuleen druith.) If someone were to hide their skin, the Selkie would no longer be able to return home to the sea.
Most tales involving Selkies describe them as very beautiful. They are so beautiful, in fact, fishmen (in the stories) are often said to hide the skin of Selkie women, forcing the women to become their wives with the promise that someday, far in the future, they might consider maybe letting the women have their skin back.