The Burrow: Four Fearsome Creatures

by Rachael Johnson

JKR created a new and intriguing world of fantasy when she wrote HP. Where as the books are works of creative genius, not all of it came from the author’s head. To younger readers, and maybe to even for older readers with whom Hp is the only fantasy they’ve made contact with, they may not know the references to several myths. Some of these references that I am writing about come in the form of creatures. The Sphinx, Cerberus (Fluffy), the Redcap, and the Kappa will each have a summary of their original myths as well as a description of their appearance.

Cerberus: Appearing in the Hp series as Fluffy, Cerberus is the three-headed dog of the Underworld. The popular myth that most know him by is the Twelve Labors of Hercules. A quick look at Cerberus’ role in that myth is that Hercules had to take him out of his underworld home and to the surface to King Eurystheus. Hercules achieved this by simply out-muscling the enormous dog, subduing all three heads. After Hercules completed the task, he returned Cerberus safely back to the realm of Hades. Remember how Harry had to play for Fluffy to get past? Cerberus makes another mythical appearance in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. When Orpheus descends into the underworld in an attempt to retrieve his departed wife, he too gets past Cerberus by playing music.

The Kappa: This creature dwells in the rivers of Japan. A small greenish creature, it has a tortoise-like shell on its back. It also has a hollow in the top of its head that must be filled with water. According to it’s myth, it’s a creature that eats people who come too close to the river bank. It also says that, should you come across one, bow to it. In return, the Kappa will bow back; this causes the water to pour out of it’s hollow and leaves it helpless.

The Redcap: This little gnomish creature has a beak and talons like a hawk, but looks very much like a bearded old man. The name comes from it’s tendency to dye it’s cap in it’s victims blood. The defense against this creature (you would find one is a ruin) is to quote a few words from the bible or to reveal a cross.

The Sphinx: A lionesses’ body with a woman’s head and eagle wings, the sphinx was sent as punishment to Thebes. Her purpose was to stop all travelers and ask a riddle; if they answer correctly they live, wrongly and they don’t. We all know that Harry got past the sphinx by answering a riddle, and so did Oedipus. The sphinx asked Oedipus, “What creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday, and three legs at night?” Oedipus answered correctly, can you? (The answer is below if you high-light it)
A human; babies crawl on all fours, adults walk on two legs, and the elderly need a cane.

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