GLATISANT, THE QUESTING BEAST

Each month, this page is dedicated to a fantastic creature from myth and legend, particularly rare or unheard of mythical creatures.  I'll provide some information, and possibly some links, and maybe even some pictures of the creature in question, and hopefully get some writer or artist inspired to draw or write about the creature presented here!  I like to have some feedback about this site and the creatures presented, so please email me.
Background:

The first creature dedicated here is quite rare indeed.  The Questing Beast is a creature from Arthurian legend.  A good summary and description of the Questing Beast can be found in GURPS Camelot, a RPG worldbook by Steve Jackson Games. There's even a picture of her in the book! Yes, the Questing Beast is female according to the legends, and she has a romantic attachment to the knights that hunted her! In particular, King Pellinore and then Sir Palomides hunted her with devotion.

Origin:

One tale of her origin describes her birth that parallels Merlin's: she is the product of a virgin woman and a demon.  The story tells of this woman, a princess, who has a brother, a prince, who was so handsome even his sister lusted after him.  She even  wanted to sleep with him, but he refused.  So she summoned a demon whom she bargained with to make her brother sleep with her.  The price the demon asked for was that she must sleep with it first.  That night, the demon twisted her passion for her brother into pure hatred, and when she became pregnant by the demon, she accused her own brother of raping her.  The brother was convicted and sentenced to death, but before he died he uttered a prophesy that she would give birth to a horrible creature.  After the creature was born, it escaped into the nearby forest, and the princess finally confessed to what she had done and was executed.  The beast grew up in the forest and tales spread of this creature, who would lure hunters in the forest to their deaths.

Description and Behavior:

The Questing Beast, also named Glatisant for the eagle-like cry she can make, has the head and neck of a serpent or snake, the chest and forelegs of a leopard, the hindquarters and tail of a lion, and the hooves of a hart. There are some interesting stories regarding the nature and purpose of the Questing Beast, but most legends emphasize how she seems always to be a step ahead of her pursuer(s). She seems to relish being chased, but doesn't want to be caught. There's even one tale of how she fell in love with Sir Palomides! But she is never depicted as just a strange dumb beast. Her ability to avoid her pursuers shows that she is quite intelligent.

Good or Evil?

Her demonic origins seem to conflict with her playful lighthearted nature when she's being pursued.  But it's only human nature to give an unknown creature some scary history behind it, whether true or not, to give the creature some flair and make questing knights curious enough to hunt it and find out the truth for themselves!

Personally, I prefer to think of the demonic origin as a "rumor" in the Arthurian legends.  And even if true--well, Merlin turned out to be not so bad at all despite his demonic birth...

An anthropomorphic Glatisant!

I've wondered what an anthropomorphic Glatisant would look like, but it seems that no one has ever tried to draw her like that (or draw her at all), so I commissioned a couple of artists to do it!  The piece below is drawn and colored by gifted artist Clark Alan Corwin.  Please do not redistribute the image.  Since she lives in the forest, I figured that if she were to wear any clothing, it would be simple and practical, and the only "jewelry" she would wear would be of the plant variety (i.e. flowers).

image copyright  1999 by Clark Alan Corwin

What Online Searches Turn Up:

One way I determine how "rare" a creature is, is to do a search online using the creature name as the keyword, and looking at how many hits a search engine finds.  Sometimes, interesting hits turn up:

  • There is a Lost in Space episode, titled The Questing Beast
  • A Grateful Dead Tapelist(?) is also titled The Questing Beast
Links:

http://www.employees.org/~pcorless/pendragon/glatisant.txt
The best link I've found to a very thorough background on Glatisant, and some stats for use in an RPG.

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/images/abbeast.htm
http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/images/hjfbeast.htm
These links just provide some info on a book and an artist's rendition of the Questing Beast.

http://www.maknet.com/~wood/advanced_dungeons_n_dragons/
religion/legends_n_lore/arthur/monsters.html
Has stats for a couple of creatures from Arthurian legend for use in AD&D, including you-know-who. :)

If you know of any other interesting links, please let me know!