A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 20: Fantasy Squad – Questing Beast

QToday I’ll be considering the virtues of the Questing Beast for my fantasy squad; a creature from Arthurian legend. It has been referred to by other names, including the Barking beast; an intriguing monster and the subject of many a quest!

Q is for Questing Beast  by Grifforik - Anthro / Digital Media / Drawings©2008-2015 Grifforik
Q is for Questing Beast
by Grifforik – Anthro / Digital Media / Drawings©2008-2015 Grifforik

Depictions of the Questing Beast are conflicted, but my favourite is probably the version in which the creature has the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, haunches of a lion and the feet of a stag. It is said to emit a sound from deep within its belly, which is akin to barking.

Its origins are varied, but one tale involves the Questing Beast being born of a human princess, one who lusted after her brother and made a deal with the devil because her love was rejected. She clearly didn’t think this through, because everybody knows you should never make a deal with the devil if you’re not prepared for the consequences! I’m paraphrasing, but basically her brother was killed by a pack of dogs, and the princess gave birth to a monstrosity which reflected the sounds of the pack – serving as a symbol of the unjust death.

As interesting as the creature is, let’s relate it to media:

  • The Questing Beast appears in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur
  • T.H. White gave a more humerous account of the beast in his novel The Once and Future King.
  • In the final episode of Merlin, Season 1, the Questing Beast appears – reminiscent of the earlier descriptions.
  • The Questing Beast has appeared in many stories, including those written in French, Spanish and Italian.

There are so many others, but I’d like to hear from you. Have you read any stories featuring the Questing Beast? Are you a fan of Arthurian legend? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time.


20 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 20: Fantasy Squad – Questing Beast

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      The beast has made several appearances, but T.H. White changed things up a bit in The Once and Future King, and added a humerous slant. It appeared in a few thirteenth century texts including the Prose Tristan and Perlesvaus.

      1. trentpmcd says:

        I think T.H. White did such a great job with it that i think of him. I’m sure I saw it referenced elsewhere and just skimmed over it. Of course I read The Once and Future King for the first time when I was 9 or 10 so it was the first time I saw it 😉

      2. mbarkersimpson says:

        I think he did an excellent job too. I especially liked how the beast was feeling ‘unloved’ and needed to be brought back from the edge! I haven’t read it for many years either. Writing this post makes me want to drag out all my favourite stories 😀

      3. mbarkersimpson says:

        I love it when that happens – when we can revisit a book we’ve enjoyed. It will be like experiencing the journey again in many ways. I think I might join you – or certainly the quest between the pages!

  1. Jacqui Murray says:

    I’ve never heard of a Questing Beast. I was wondering what you’d come up with for Q. I have a few ideas for Z…

    BTW, this sounds like a short story collection. A-Z of mythical creatures.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      I have a fantasy novella coming out at the end of April, which is an introduction to the series. I’m also in the process of creating serialised fiction and will endeavour to fit a few of these lovely creatures within a season or two! What are your ideas for Z? All I have is zombies and that’s so predictable!

  2. Alex Hurst says:

    This is actually my first time hearing about this one… I’m more familiar with the chimera. But this sounds like a backwards chimera, so that’s amusing! 😀

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