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Mythological Creatures Made of Stone/Dirt?

Discussion in 'Research' started by Ophiucha, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    So far, I've got... golems.

    Any folklore will do, I just need a bit of inspiration for things to populate this world. If nothing else, creatures which turn things into stone (like Medusa) will be appreciated, but creatures made of the stuff is definitely preferred. :)
  2. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

    This is hard. Here's the closest I can get;
    • "Mayan myth holds that Tepeu and Kukulkán (Quetzalcoatl) made the first humans from clay, but they were unsatisfactory." - Wikipedia. Other mythologies include the creation of man from clay, including Greek, but they usually are humans, so this Mayan myth is one of the only mythologies with the potential for them being other creatures.
    • The game Age of Mythology uses clay men as a Greek myth creature inspired by the above, but I don't think they actually appear anywhere in mythology. Similarly, you could have a colossus myth creature in Age of Mythology, but they're just inspired by the Colossus at Rhodes which was a statue of the titan Helios, and not actually a creature.
    • The Elder Scrolls has elemental atronoch creatures. They're a variation on the golem, and the closest to stone is called a 'storm' atronoch. It's made of stone, but represents lightning I think.
    • You could have gargoyles, which are stone in the day, but come alive at night.
    • I've seen living stone statues in different stories (most recently in the last Harry Potter film, but others I can't quite remember). Usually they aren't exactly alive, but being controlled via magic.
    I know, it's not all exactly what you asked for, but it's the closest I can get. I think this is something you'll have to be original with. Perhaps you could take one of these creatures and adapt it, coming up with something unique to your story.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  3. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    Turn things into stone: basilisk, cockatrice. (In some versions; others simply have "instant death.") Versions on this appear in nearly every mythology I'm familiar with: Balor, in Irish myth (his gaze was generally said to be fatal, not petrifying), for instance. Most cultures developed some story of people turned to stone, often as explanation myths for stone formations that were held to resemble people.

    Made of stone... hmm. Not too many come to mind. Most of the references I know of concern the creation of humans from stone--or clay, mud, dirt, dust: in all cases, not what you're looking for, I imagine. (Though at least in a few, the "humans" retained the attributes of the material they were made of.)

    The Greek Talos was a giant made of bronze (again, in some versions--a qualifier that is almost universal when speaking of Greek mythology). Also from the Greek, there's the sculptor Pygmalion, who falls in love with his creation and it comes to life courtesy of divine intervention; Daedalus was supposed to have "given voices" to statues, though I'm not clear on whether this is meant to suggest animation or simply clever mechanism; Hephaestus had automata for his workshop (metal, I believe). In Daniel (2:31-32), Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a giant made of (working downward) gold, silver, bronze, and iron, with feet of clay... which, of course, was meant to be symbolic, not literal. (Also, there's the Biblical story of Lot's wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt... and the Norse story of the first man, Buri, who was released from a salt lick by the divine cow Audhumla. Would be interesting to consider whether the cow could have restored Lot's wife.... :p ) There's the "Stone Guest" motif that appears in several dramatic variations on a Don Juan tale: the statue of a person Don Juan has killed shows up at dinnertime... that's always a fun one. Not sure how antiquated the tale is: versions of the play date back to at least 1665 (by Moliere).

    I'm sure I've seen references to stone beings in Native American mythology, but can't recall anything specific; if I run across it again, I'll let you know. Same goes for Hindu mythology.

    Found this on the net--the text is Andrew Lang's Myth, Ritual and Religion, and is reproduced from Project Gutenberg (an outstanding source for public-domain texts, for anyone not familiar with it). Given that the copy date is 1887, it can't be said to reflect contemporary research... nor style, which is unfortunate. Still... it's a bit sparse as far as names go, but has some interesting (if brief) references to stone beings and/or beings turned into stone:

    Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/173 - Wikisource

    I'll keep an eye out for more.
  4. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

    Ahh, I forgot about Talos, and the automatons. I would have thought there'd be more stone-based mythical creatures, but this is really hard.
  5. Aside from the Golems you've already mentioned - the only other creature I can think of that was made of stone were Gargoyles.

    Creatures that can turn people into stone were the Cockatrice and the Gorgons (Medusa was the most famous of these creatures, but she had 2 other sisters - that myth tells us about and unlike her sisters; she was not immortal).
  6. Fnord

    Fnord Troubadour

    Some alternate angles:

    --The Terracotta Army: What if they weren't statues but an actual army? What did this army serve to do?
    --Pyornkrachzark, the rock-biter from the Neverending Story: A large, seemingly slow but good-natured creature made entirely of stone who also *eats* stone (a cannibal? :eek: )
    --Creatures from roleplaying games: I'm most familiar with the D&D monsters, many of which are based off folklore (like the aforementioned basilisk and cockatrice) but also intelligent creatures such as the galeb duhr (large-boulder-esque humanoids that live on mountains), the vilstrak (bipedal humanoids with stony skin and insectoid heads that can walk through stone like it was air) or the pech (which aren't made of stone, but have a near-religious attachment to stone).
    Geo likes this.
  7. Hans

    Hans Sage

    I would not say cannibal. Humans are made mostly of organic materials and eat a lot of organic stuff. But not every human is a cannibal. At least I hope so.
    There are lots of different stones, like there are lots of different organic materials.
  8. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    There is the elementals,
    earth elementals,
    I'm thinking mud monsters, and clay but don't remember their names
    reviewing I did find:
    Stone and mud golems, living statues, and elementals.

    Wasn't there a monster added that ate rocks, but prefered gems and precious metals?
  9. DameiThiessen

    DameiThiessen Minstrel

    Berber mythology would be a good place to go for ideas.

    "The Garamantes appear to have had an advanced system of religion and mythology, in which sacrificial stones and pyramid-like burial chambers played an important role."

    "Rocks were considered to be holy by many prehistoric peoples, including the Berbers. Saint Augustine mentioned that the polytheistic Africans worshiped the rocks. Apuleius stated as well that rocks were worshiped in the second century A.D.. The megalithic culture may have been part of a cult of the dead or of star-worship. There are prehistoric megalithic constructs in several North-western African sites, although they have not been studied thoroughly. The Phoenicians had also their megalithic sites, which they called Bethel (House of God). The Mogador monument on the Atlantic coast is sometimes believed to be of Phoenician origin."

    It might be worth looking into.
    African Mythology - Berber Mythology [N. Africa]
  10. Crimson Phoenix

    Crimson Phoenix Dreamer

    A long time ago I wrote a short story with a similar problem, in the end I wound up creating my own creatures. I made a concept that when a 'being' died on the planet, it's soul was returned into the earth and when it was reborn, it's body was shaped from natural matter. On the birth of these creatures, the power of the soul itself mixed with the power of mother earth created the body of a person from the world around them. I had beings made of brick, metal, wood, stone etc. Anyway I didn't really execute the concept very well and the story was below par, but I always liked the idea. If you get stuck for existing folk lore, maybe you should try something similar.

    Hope you figure it out!
  11. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

    You may want to look into elementals, particularly those in the "gnome" category. Dwarves often consider themselves to be of the earth, or have some earthen aspect to their religion or aesthetic appearance.
  12. deepikasd

    deepikasd Acolyte

    I don't know if this would count but outside Japanese temples there are usually statues of komainu or foxes (depending on the temple) that guard the temple. [The Chinese equivalent is the Shishi or guardian lions.] Though these are just stone, they are said to protect the temple. I forget exactly which anime/movie it was from (sorry I don't want to guess wrong), but at night these statues would come to life to protect the temple like gargoyles (though this anime featured gods and magic -- which would explain why they were alive).
  13. Tom Doysch

    Tom Doysch New Member

    Along with Golems and Gargoyles, Rock Trolls spring to mind, and I seem to remember from Norse mythology that some giants were effectively just mountains, in the same way that the giant in the Gilgamesh myth is sometimes referred to as a mountain...

  14. D.G. Laderoute

    D.G. Laderoute Dreamer

    The Ojibway (Aboriginal peoples who live around the upper Great Lakes, in Canada and the U.S.) describe "Missabikong", the "Little Man of Iron" or "...of Stone". He's an obscure and elusive spirit who inhabits "grottoes and unique formations, deep chasms where there was a place suitable for visions." This is taken from the book Ojibway Heritage by Basil Johnston. While this is a very specific and unique being of "stone", it serves to show that some digging around in various mythologies can be worthwhile.

    For example, the Ibong Adarna is a 15th-century Filipino epic poem about the clash between three princes to inherit their father's throne. The Adarna is a magical bird being sought by the princes; it's an elusive thing, and dangerous, because it can turn people to stone (in one instance, by pooping on them while they slept!) I've got this tucked away among bits and pieces of folklore I intend to use (no, really!) someday...

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