Hellhounds and Hero Horses: Beasts of Myth and Legend

A Kindle Ebook

Extraordinary Beasts
is a Young Adult version of Hellhounds, without the “adult” material.

245 stories from around the world: urcos, púcas, the Simurgh, shape-shifters and shape-changers, the Moddey Dhoo, Black Shuck, speaking equine advisors, Bucephalus, Buraq, Babieca, the Phantom White Stallion of Skull Valley, demon cats, the Peruvian Chullachaqui and the Chilean Tue-Tue, fish-people, Laelaps, the Hedley Kow, kelpies, Irish rat-charmers, and many other tales to make you smile or shiver or simply marvel at the ultranatural activities of supposedly irrational animals as reported by presumably rational humans. Illustrated by photos and drawings.

Cover: detail of the label on Urco Ale. The coat of arms of the Republic of Adygea shows Nart hero Sosruko on Thozhey fetching fire stolen from a giant.

Our story is interwoven with those of the animals that surround us; the creatures who have been with us since the very beginning. We have responsibility to them, and we also rely on them with our lives, just as heroes rely on their magic steeds or their animal helpers. Our oldest stories shed light on how much we owe them, and how desolate the world would be if they disappeared. These are stories of wonder, exploration, and companionship.
(from the Foreword by Dr Zalka Csenge Virág, Hungarian storyteller and researcher, author of Dancing on Blades: Rare and exquisite folktales from the Carpathian Mountains)


Urcos – Spain
Forms of the Urco
King Pedro the Cruel, the Prophetic Boy and the Urco
A Poet’s Fictitious Urco
A Sensational Newspaper Report
The Urco Today
The Asturian Güercu and Güestia
The Huéspeda de Ánimas or Hueste of León

Black Dogs
Black Dog Syndrome
Frightening or Dangerous Black Dogs
The Moddey Dhoo – Isle of Man
Tibicena/Guacancha – Canary Islands
Shakra and the Black Dog – India
Black Shuck – England
Dóelchú and the Death of Celtchar – Ireland
Miguel and the Black Dog – Cantabria, Basque Country
The Hanging Judge and the Black Dog – Ireland
The Black Thing on the Handlebars – Ireland
The Cailín Deas Curse – Ireland
Benevolent Black Dogs – England
A Black Dog Survey – England
Saved from Robbers – England
The Midwife and the Black Dog – England
The Cadejo – Central America

Púcas – Ireland
Forms of the Púca
Puck and the Púca
A Redcross Púca
A Northern Ireland Púca
The Resident Avoca Púca
The Kildare Pooka
The Piper and the Púca
The Hill of the Speaking Steed
Protective Púcas
A Púca Warns of Impending Death
A Púca Prevents an Ambush
The Porridge Púca

Other Dogs
Dogs in Heaven – India and widespread
Sheehan’s Bastard-hound – Ireland
Rescuer Dogs – Ireland and England
The Wolfhound of Antrim Castle – Northern Ireland
A Prescient Dog – Scotland
Gelert’s Grave – Wales
Clever Nart Dog – North Caucasus
A Psychic Dog – Italy

Hero Horses
The Importance of the War Horse
The Adventures of Bayardo and Rinaldo – France
Broiefort, Ogier the Dane’s Horse – France and Avalon
Papillon, Morgan le Fay’s Horse – France and Avalon
Sharatz and Marko – Serbia
Toruchaar and Manas – Kyrgyzstan
Rakush – Faithful Steed of Rostam – Greater Iran
Cúchulainn’s Grey of Macha and Black Sainglenn – Ireland
Conall Cernach’s Dewy Red – Ireland
Nart Horses – North Caucasus
The Horse Lurja – Georgia
Mongolian Talking Horses
The Táltos Horse – Hungary
Pardallo, Íñigo Ezquerra’s Horse – Basque Country
The Spirit Horse and Ku-suk-seia – Pawnee, United States
Bucephalus and Alexander the Great – Macedonia
King Alfonso’s Horse and the Hidden Chapel – Spain
Babieca, the Mount of El Cid – Spain
Buraq and Muhammad’s Night Journey – Middle East
The Pursuit of the Gilla Decair and his Horse – Ireland
The Strange Colt – Ireland
The Crazy Horse – Galicia, Spain
The Horse of the Lake – Spain
The Phantom White Stallion of Skull Valley – United States
Léim an Eich: The Leap of Máire Rua’s Stallion – Ireland
Sleipnir, Odin’s Horse – Scandinavia
The White Horse and the Healing Well – England
Tam O’Shanter and Meg the Mare – Scotland
Kelpies and Other Water Steeds – Widespread
The Diañu Burlón – Asturias
The Horse and the Fairy Tune – Isle of Man
A Proud Horse – France
The Pope’s Horse – Greece
Trick Horses – Italy

A Monstrous White Cat – Isle of Man
The King of the Cats of Cnoghbha – Ireland
The King of the Cats of Cruachan – Ireland
The Cave of the Cat – Ireland
The King of the Cats – Scotland
Beware the Cat – England and Ireland
The Kilkenny Cats – Ireland
The Troll Turned Cat – Zealand, Denmark

Cranes as Guardians – Ireland
Cranes and the Curse of Saint Colmcille – Ireland
Cranes and the Glám Dícenn – Ireland
The Cruel Crane Outwitted – Jataka, India
The Birds of White Lake – Wales
The Rooks of Ardfert – Ireland
The Jackdaw – Ireland
The Magnificent Bridge of Feathers – Asia
A Robin Warns of Danger – Ireland
King Sindbad and his Falcon – Persia

The Piper and the Drummer and the Wolf – Galicia, Spain
The Wolves and the Pipers – Galicia, Spain
The Piper and the Wolves of Fraga do Eume – Galicia, Spain
An Imprecation against Wolves – France
The Wolf Who Saved a Woman – Native North American
Mac Cécht and the Wolf – Ireland
The White Wolf and the Shepherd – Galicia, Spain
The Wolf of the Chest: How Luarca Got its Name – Asturias
Fostered by Wolves: Cormac mac Airt – Ireland

Saints and Animals
Saint Colman mac Duagh – Ireland
Saint Colman Elo or Ela – Ireland
Colman Son of Luachan – Ireland
Saint Columbanus – Ireland/Europe
The Monk and the Bird – Ireland
Saint Kevin of Glendalough – Ireland
Saint Ciarán and the Dun Cow – Ireland
Saint Francis of Assisi – Italy
King Saint Edmund – England
Saint Gerasimus and the Lion – Palestine
Gnats and Mosquitoes – Mesopotamia/Turkey
Saint Gobnait’s Beehive – Ireland
Saint Roch, Patron of Dogs – Italy, France
San Adrián and the Snakes – Galicia, Spain
The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus and their Dog

Shape-shifters and Shape-changers

Barewalkers – United States and Canada
The Barewalker Wolf
A Wolf Story – Ireland
The Crane Wife – Japan
The Golden Ass by Apuleius – Greek/Roman
A Woman in Horse Form – Ireland
A Hare-witch Shape-shift Spell – Scotland
A Protector Coyote – Mexico
The Chullachaqui – Peru
The Tue-Tue – Chile

The Black Pig’s Dyke – Ireland
Variants of the Black Pig’s Dyke – Ireland
Midir and Étaín – Ireland
Bran and Sceolán – Ireland
Sadhbh – Ireland
The Children of Lir – Ireland
Gulbán – Ireland
Cursed to Be Wolves – Galicia, Spain
Werewolves of Ossory – Ireland
The Swine of Drebrenn – Ireland
Shape-changed to a Horse – Scotland
Nicholas the Fish and Other Amphibians – Majorca, Spain
Triple Shape-changing: Gwydion and Gilfaethwy – Wales
Saint Patrick’s Deer – Ireland

Other Beasts
Bees – Galicia, Spain
The White Butterfly – Japan
A Spider Saves King David – Romania
A Spider Inspires Robert the Bruce – Scotland/Ireland
The Saviour Gnat – Italy
Origin of the Dragonfly – Romania
The Alp Luachra – Ireland
The Tortoise and the Geese – Jataka, widespread
Laelaps and the Teumessian Fox – Greece
The Salamander – Middle East and Greece
The Goat and the Dog – Jataka
The Fox and the Wolf – Mongolia
Buddha and the Hare – Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
The Cat on the Dovrefjell – Norway
The Three Cows – Ireland
The Riabhach Days – Ireland
The Milk-white Milch Cow – Wales
A Cock and Bull Story – Ireland
The Dragon of West Clandon – England
The Lagarto of La Malena – Spain
The Serpent of Orderías – Asturias
The Simurgh and Rostam and Rakush – Greater Iran
The Simurgh and the Daughter of the King of the East
The Hedley Kow – England
Batcombe Cross – Dorset, England
The Buggane of Saint Trinian’s – Isle of Man
Conneelys, the Seal People – Ireland
Rat-charmers – Ireland
The Avoca Non-leprechaun – Ireland
The Gormanston Foxes – Ireland
The Coyote and the Snake and the Man – Mexico
The Kindness of a Mad Elephant – India
Negotiating with Lions – Africa
The Chupacabras – The Americas

Douglas Hyde
Extracts from The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries
Equus ferus caballus: Asturcón, Galician, Icelandic, et al
Legendary Horse Names Recycled
Rakush: the First Appaloosa?
Simurgh Saxum
Striking the Ground
A Modern Talking Horse Incident
Lethal Effects of Sound
An Effective Curse


About the Author

Early Review

 Richard Marsh’s Hellhounds and Hero Horses introduces the reader to a vast menagerie of fantastic mythical beasts from around the world. Legends and anecdotes featuring the canine and equine title creatures receive the most attention, but Marsh does not stop there. The book includes tales of cats, birds, wolves, many reptiles and insects plus a variety of shape-shifters and shape-changers. He obviously has done his homework; the scholarly Introduction and extensive list of Sources make this a valuable reference book for anyone interested in pursuing this topic. After reading this book, you will never look at certain animals in the same way.

Wynn Montgomery
Erie, Colorado