Fiery Friday: The Guivre

Blushing Guivre,Copyright Liz Vitale 2015

Blushing Guivre,Copyright Liz Vitale 2015

In Medieval France, a guivre was similar to a dragon.

The words “guivre” (wurm, wyvern –which is derived from it– or serpent) and “givre” are spelling variations of the more common word “vouivre”. Vouivre, in the Franc-Comtois dialect, is the equivalent of the old French word “guivre.” All these forms are derived ultimately from Latin “vīpera”, as is English “viper”.

Guivres were said to reside small bodies of water like pools and lakes, forests, and any damp place. They possessed long, serpentine bodies and a dragonlike heads. In some accounts they have small horns. They were said to be especially aggressive and would attack unprovoked.

Since guivres often lived in shallow lakes and ponds,they often encountered people who were nude in preparation to swim or bathe. Guivres were afraid of naked humans, and when they witnessed them, even in the midst of an attack, they often became flustered, and blushed and looked away, sometimes even hurriedly disappearing beneath the water.


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