Tag Archives: creatures

Dragons, Gargoyles, and Fairies

Creatures of myth and legend represent the fruits of the imagination, and hearken back to ancient tales told at hearths that kept the wild, unknown fears of the night at bay. Some of those creatures were good, but most were dangerous and best avoided at all costs. They took the form of fierce, scaled beasts, devilish creatures, and other concoctions of frightened minds. Most seem to have been inspired by actual fears of snakes, big cats, and other potentially dangerous animals but a few of the most famous creatures seem to have little relation with known wildlife.

One such creature is the dragon. While serpents do come to mind when speaking of dragons, most depictions of these magical creatures look more like dinosaurs or massive, winged lizards. However, they are much bigger than any lizard, some look rather like a combination of a lizard and a snake, and, in more than a few legends, dragons are highly intelligent, conniving creatures with magical powers. Most are also equipped with their own, personal flamethrower, and, like an evil tyrant, demand tribute from the lands over which they rule.

However, despite tales of dragons and dragon-like beasts in cultures across the globe, those same tales spoke of dragons in the past tense. They were said to be creatures that used to exist but haven’t been seen in a long time. No one knew if they still occurred but they were suspected to persist in remote, wild mountains, vast deserts, and the “wastelands” where few people dared to roam. As such places were explored, no one ever came across a single dragon, and none have ever been found outside the realm of fantasy. That said, the allure of these magical, powerful beasts lingers to this day and we see them in novels, films, and as mesmerizing garden decor like Sword, the Arthurian Dragon Statue.

The gargoyle is another intriguing, magical creature. Like the dragon, this beast is equipped with an array of personal weapons. It has long, sharp claws, a set of fangs, and a fierce, muscled appearance meant to intimidate any who oppose it. Also like the dragon, no one has ever laid eyes on an actual gargoyle other than the ones made of stone that line the ramparts of Gothic cathedrals. Compared to dragons, fewer tales of gargoyles exist, and most would agree that the modern depiction of these strange beasts were invented during the Middle Ages to guard churches against evil spirits while also trying to remind church-goers of the perils that can come from giving way to sin.

Similar to the dragon, nowadays, we see gargoyles in a lot more places than old, French cathedrals. Wickedly fun statues like the Boden Gargoyle Sentinel Statue can be seen accompanying sculptures of angels and other garden statuary in many a backyard, and some gargoyle sculptures also work well as interior Gothic decor. They can also be seen sharing garden space with what might be the most perilous of fantasy-themed creatures, fairies.

Garden fairies like the beautiful Fiona, the Flower Fairy Sculpture are representative of the modern, commonly held, elegant view of these magical creatures. However, before the Victorian era, fairies were never regarded as graceful, cheerful creatures. The old tales that speak of the fairy folk invariably refer to them as either mischievous, easily crossed creatures that should be avoided at all costs, or absolutely dangerous, evil beings that want to harm people. Since far more people swear to have seen and had negative experiences with gnomes and fairies than with dragons or gargoyles, fairies might actually be the most frightening of these three famous legendary creatures.

Discover a wide selection of fantastic, high quality garden statuary and unique decor at Design Toscano.

Extraordinary Gnomes, Garden Fairies And Other Creatures

October isn’t just a month for spooky decorations, costumes, and homecoming football games. We also enjoy the fall harvest, and Halloween gives us opportunities to celebrate fairy tales, folklore, and the fruits of imagination. Although statues of fairies and other creatures from the realm of fantasy are a wonderful addition to spring and summer gardens, they can also fit right in with a backyard set up for October 31st. Even though we don’t normally lump garden gnomes and fairies with creatures that go bump in the night, older tales of the “wee folk” often tell a different story.

In most cultures, little elves, gnomes, and their fairy brethren were typically viewed as creatures to respect and avoid. In contrast to many of the modern-day, very soft views of fairies, the little people of older eras played mean tricks, were quick to anger and take offense, were very vindictive, and even kidnapped children. Some were said to offer unwary travelers a table at a magical banquet, the acceptance of which resulted in the poor soul falling asleep for a hundred years. The more sinister fairies led people astray in the deep dark woods or other wild places of the world, and even the nicest of gnomes still seemed to have their own, strange agendas at heart. Indeed, in Europe, fairy folk were often perceived as some type of fallen angel or creatures that were in league with the evil one, and, were in the very least, believed to be up to no good.

However, many of the old fairy tales speak of people who made bargains with fairies and won by tricking the little gnome in the end. Others told of fairies that helped with chores in the garden and around the home in exchange for food and trinkets, but even though these tend to be the best known stories about fairies, the majority of fairy legends speak of creatures best left alone. With that in mind, it’s intriguing that fairy folk were eventually shown as gentle little sprites and cheerful gnomes. This wholesome perception of fairies dates back to rather recent times when garden statuary became a popular aspect of Victorian era gardens. As the demand for garden statues grew, some craftsmen capitalized on the legends of the little people and created garden sculptures of elegant fairies and cute gnomes. Since few people preferred sculptures of sinister little beings on the grounds of their estates, the appearance of the fairy folk went from being that of an unwholesome, unwelcome creature to the exact opposite.

Since beautiful statues of fairies and gnomes make a wonderful, happy addition to any garden, that transformation was certainly welcome. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t also go back to putting a few, more frightening statues of the little people in the backyard, at least during the month of October. Sculptures of pixies tend to show the “old” version of fairies and this make an excellent addition to any Halloween display. Put something like the Sling and Stretch Garden Pixie Sculptures next to the back door or just beyond reach in the backyard and its creepy appearance will put the imagination on edge, especially during the half-light of an autumn evening.

Some gnomes sculptures can also lend a fun look to an October backyard. Give garden guests a tour of the backyard and show them happy, easy-going statues of modern-day gnomes. Then, take them to the other side of the garden and surprise them with statues of skeleton gnomes. Finish off the tour by giving another surprise in the form of a Bigfoot statue peering from behind a tree. As you approach this statue of the most extraordinary creature in North America (and sometimes rumored to be in the same league as gnomes), mention that neighbors claim to have seen Bigfoot in the area.

Use extraordinary garden statues of gnomes and other creatures from Design Toscano to entertain October garden guests.