I always thought the movie “Dragonslayer” was a bit goofy and slow in some places but there is one memorable scene that pretty much sells the movie, I think, to anyone who sees it. That’s where the dragon’s head rises up to dwarf the young magician who really has no clue about what he’s up against.
I think whoever came up with that scene must have read Tolkien. In the story of Turin Turambar in The Silmarillion, after Glaurung has destroyed Nargothrond and sent Turin north to Dor-lomin on a hopeless quest, Morwen and Nienor leave the safety of Doriath. They are overtaken by Mablung and a company of Elven horsemen who are nonetheless persuaded to accompany the women to Nargothrond.
There by the river Narog Glaurung raises a mist and disperses Mablung’s company. Morwen is carried off by her maddened horse and the Elves never hear of her again. But Nienor recovers her wits and retuns to Amon Ethir, the Hill of Spies, which stands directly east of Nargothrond (across the river). “And looking westward,” we are told in the story, “she stared straight into the eyes of Glaurung, whose head lay upon the hill-top.”
Now, that is one big dragon.
I think most fans would say that dragons and Tolkien go hand in hand. Tolkien definitely likes to tell dragon tales. Yet surprisingly he only told us two full stories about dragons. In 1954 Naomi Mitcheson asked Tolkien some questions about Middle-earth after she looked over the galleys for The Lord of the Rings. In Letter 144 he responded to a question about dragons with:
Some stray answers. Dragons. They had not stopped; since they were active in far later times, close to our own. Have I said anything to suggest the final ending of dragons? If so it should be altered. The only passage I can think of is Vol.I p. 70: ‘there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough’. But that implies, I think, that there are still dragons, if not of full primeval stature….Tolkien’s first dragon tale is long since lost, and probably wasn’t very long anyway. Of that story he could only recall one detail, years later, when writing to W.H. Auden in Letter 163: “I first tried to write a story when I was about seven. It was about a dragon. I remember nothing about it except a philological fact. My mother said nothing about the dragon, but pointed out that one could not say ‘a green great dragon’, but had to say ‘a great green dragon’. I wondered why, and still do.”
When time came to tell the tale of a Hobbit, Tolkien needed a monster greater than all other monsters. He had goblins and wolves and spiders, but he wanted something more terrifying, more powerful. He wanted a dragon. Of all the creatures encountered in The Hobbit, only Smaug seems invincible except for the one bare patch on his chest. One could well imagine Beorn charging the dragon in his bear form only to end up burned to a crisp. As great a warrior and hero as Beorn was, he was no match for a dragon.
Bard the Bowman, on the other hand, was the descendant of ancient kings whose realm had been destroyed by Smaug. Fate was on his side, and the power to speak with thrushes. But perhaps if Bard had not had the black arrow which passed down to him from his ancestors of old even his skill and courage might not have been sufficient to bring down the great dragon (which was not green).
The black arrow was made by the Dwarves of Erebor before Smaug destroyed their kingdom. Why should it be a potent weapon against dragons? Dwarves had no love for dragons, and the dragons had certainly been a plague upon the Dwarves. But was the arrow really an “arrow of dragon-slaying” or was it just an arrow of exceptionally good quality?
Tolkien’s Dwarf and Dragon conflicts extended all the way back to the First Age. The Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost were allied with the Noldor against Morgoth. Telchar of Nogrod made a helm shaped in the image of Glaurung, father of dragons. This helm was given to Azaghal, lord of Belegost, who in turn gave it to Maedhros, who in turn gave it to Fingon, who in turn gave it to Hador, first Lord of Dor-lomin.
While Hador wore the Dragon-helm he was invincible in battle. Hador may not have worn the dragon-helm when he led a rearguard action for Fingolfin soon after the Dagor Bragollach. Hador and his younger son Gundor fell before the walls of Eithel Sirion, the mighty fortress which protected one of the chief passes over the Ered Wethrin into Hithlum. Galdor the Tall, Hador’s elder son, inherited the dragon-helm with his father’s lordship, but “Narn i Chin Hurin” says that “by ill-fortune Galdor did not wear it when he defended Eithel Sirion”, seven years after his father’s death, “for the assault was sudden, and he ran barehead to the walls, and an orc-arrow pierced his eye.”
Hurin could wear the helm but because of his short stature he was uncomfortable with it, and he preferred to look his foes directly in the eye. So the helm stayed behind in Hithlum when Hurin rode off to fight in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and Morwen his wife sent the helm with their son Turin to Doriath. When Turin grew to manhood and left Doriath Beleg brought him the dragon-helm, and with that heirloom of his house Turin began to earn a name for himself. Unfortunately, because of Hurin’s pride and defiance Morgoth set his will against Hurin’s children, and all of Turin’s endeavors turned to grief.
The day came when Turin persuaded Orodreth to ride to open battle with Morgoth’s armies, and Glaurung destroyed Orodreth and his people. When Turin returned to Nargothrond he wore the helm and Glaurung was afraid of him. But the dragon goaded Turin into lifting the visor and in so doing Turin exposed himself to Glaurung’s power.
The dragon-helm was thus a very powerful artifact, and with it Turin might have had stood a chance of doing battle against Glaurung. Or would he? Even though Glaurung couldn’t daunt him, would the dragon have been so vulnerable to Turin?
Glaurung’s first appearance two centuries before had resulted in a victory for Fingon and the Elven archers of Hithlum. They rode around the young dragon and pierced him with many arrows, driving him back to Angband. Glaurung fared better in the Dagor Bragollach and he undoubtedly wrought his vengeance against the Elves with glee. But barely a generation later he led a group of dragons against Maedhros’ army in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and this time they were opposed by the Dwarves.
Azaghal of Belegost went up against Glaurung and wounded him, though the deed cost Azaghal his life. Glaurung and his children retreated from the field of battle. When the dragon reappeared later he seems to have avoided trying to crush warriors with his belly, as he had tried to crush Azaghal, who fell beneath him.
In Turin’s final confrontation with Glaurung he dealt the dragon a mortal wound in almost exactly the same fashion as Azaghal had wounded the beast, and the sword Turin used had been made by Eol, who learned a great deal about smithcraft from the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost. Glaurung was smart and wary, but when he crossed the ravine of the Teiglin, he had no idea that Turin waited for him below.
Glaurung felt such pain he leaped across the ravine and thrashed around on the far side, spewing flames until he became too weak to continue. The sight of the dying dragon would have been horrific to anyone nearby. Turin simply strode back across the ravine and drew his sword out of the dragon’s belly. And yet Glaurung was still living, and he had enough strength to stare at Turin again, and use what remained of his power to overcome Turin’s will and cause him to faint.
Killing the old dragon was just not an easy task, and there was no greater warrior than Turin in his day. So could Turin have done the deed without the element of surprise? I don’t think so. Simply stabbing Glaurung in the belly wasn’t sufficient. Azaghal had done that, but his blade was too short. The wound had to be deep and I doubt most weapons would have sunk that deep. The Noldor most likely didn’t have dragons in mind when they made their weapons.
The Elves didn’t do all that badly a few years later when dragons helped destroy the city of Gondolin. Turgon’s people had learned much from Maeglin, Eol’s son, about mining and smithing. That’s not to say they actually killed any dragons. Rather, it took all night for the dragons, orcs, and balrogs to destroy most of Turgon’s people. These dragons had probably not yet come to their full growth. But it may also be that Gondolin was simply better defended than Nargothrond, whose army had perished mostly in the open field.
Still, since the Dagor Bragollach the score had become dragons 4, elves 0, dwarves 1/2. Turin remained the only individual to actually kill a dragon until the end of the First Age. Then Morgoth unleashed the winged dragons against the Host of Valinor. If the ground-based dragons were formidable the flying dragons were overwhelming, and the Host gave way before them until Earendil and the Eagles of Manwe arrived to do battle.
Tolkien doesn’t tell us how long the battle lasted, but it was probably not a short one. Many Eagles must have perished but also many dragons, including Ancalagon himself. Ancalagon appears only briefly in The Silmarillion, but Gandalf mentions him knowledgeably when speaking with Frodo. I infer from Gandalf’s remark that the great dragon must have terrorized the Host of Valinor for quite some time. He had not only been named, he was still remembered with a certain awe and dread nearly 7,000 years later.
Earendil must have done some fancy talking to get Manwe’s permission to lead a counter-assault against the dragons. He had been forbidden to return to Middle-earth, and the will of the Valar wasn’t something one easily turned aside. So the situation in Beleriand (or what remained of it) must have been desperate. And one must ask how Earendil could fight the dragons from a flying ship anyway? He had the Silmaril with him but was that all? Or did he, like Bard thousands of years later, wield a bow and arrow of great potency? Who would have made the bow, Aule himself?
Earendil’s battle with Ancalagon lasted a day and a night. The fighting must have covered a lot of territory, so that only the Valar and Maiar might have been able to see the final conflict. Earendil would have been a shining spot in the sky, but his opponent would have rained fire around him. The re-engineered Vingelot either had modulating multi-phasic shields or someone was looking out for Earendil. Nonetheless the mariner in the sky must have been hard-pressed on occasion. It couldn’t have been a simple case of dragon-hunting for him. He had to guide the ship and figure out where Ancalagon would be attacking from next.
Earendil’s battle with Ancalagon had to be the mother of all dragon-hero fights, and words fail to describe adequately what can be glimpsed only by the imagination. But when Ancalagon fell and it became clear that all was lost, what happened to the remaining dragons? Did no more than two, a male and female, survive the final onslaught? And, if so, why didn’t the dragons re-emerge in the Second Age?
For that matter, what the heck is a cold-drake? The only mention of a cold-drake is a brief anecdote in Appendix A to The Lord of the Rings where Tolkien says that a Dwarven king and one of his sons are slain by a cold-drake in front of their hall. People have wondered through the years what the difference between a cold-drake and a regular dragon might be. Gaming systems tell us the cold-drake must be a dragon which breathes cold air, using frost as a breath weapon rather than fire.
I’m not so sure Tolkien envisioned various breath weapons. The cold-drakes may simply have been dragons which didn’t breathe fire. Although that may seem a bit of a let-down, dragons don’t have to breathe fire in order to be terrifying and powerful. People have enough trouble rationalizing how Morgoth could have bred dragons and then winged dragons from non-winged dragons like Glaurung. Their massive size, their ability to just stare you in the eye and mesmerize you, their incredible strength — these would be sufficient armaments for the typical hungry dragon. Tossing in frost-breathers, water dragons, and all the DnD variants trivializes Middle-earth’s monsters. Tolkien’s dragons were creatures you just didn’t go messing around with. For example, no one ever seems to have killed the mysterious cold-drake.
The only two dragons to be named in the Third Age were Scatha and Smaug. Smaug, as noted, is featured prominently inThe Hobbit. We can read lots about him. Scatha, on the other hand, merits barely more than a footnote in an appendix and one comment from Eowyn in the main text of The Lord of the Rings. What’s up with that? Scatha didn’t even enter the canon until Tolkien was reviewing the galley proofs for The Lord of the Rings. So, unfortunately, there just isn’t much of a story to tell there.
But we know that Fram was the son of Frumgar, and it was Frumgar who led the Eotheod north in the year 1977 to claim the eastern lands of what had once been the realm of Angmar. The Eotheod must not have known there were dragons in the area, or else they just felt they had no choice but to get up there. If Frumgar was a man in full vigor in the year 1977 then he probably died sometime around the year 2000. But when did Fram die? My guess is probably sometime after the year 1981. That was the year the Dwarves fled Khazad-dum, and many of them settled in the Grey Mountains, which ran eastward from the Misty Mountains.
With Dwarves and Men moving into the region, and with the demise of Angmar, the handful of dragons in the north may have been stirred up. But why would there have been only a few dragons? One would think the Witch-king of Angmar would want to keep one or two broods on hand to help out in the wars. And yet there is no mention of dragons troubling the Dunedain in Eriador. There isn’t even a dragon in the final war with Gondor and the Elves. Tollkien’s love for the great monsters seems to have been tempered with caution. Like the Eagles, which he felt should not have been abused as literary devices, the author seems to have refrained from tossing a dragon into the mix every time a nasty old monster was required.
The dragons may have been to Melkor what the Eagles were to Manwe: special emissaries with a specific mission. But Melkor was removed from the world and his evil will diminished. Some aspect of Melkor (or Morgoth) remained in Arda, and Middle-earth in particular, because he had infused a part of his strength, his spirit, throughout the world and its creatures. Dragons, in particular, must have had a pretty large share of this evil spirit. It would make them both “magical” creatures and very powerful (as well as quite evil — so there is no hope of finding a good dragon in Middle-earth). Tolkien does seem to imply as much in “Narn i Chin Hurin”:
Therefore walking at guess [Nienor] found the hill [of Amon Ethir], which was indeed close at hand, by the rising of the ground before her feet; and slowly she climbed the path that led up from the east. And as she climbed so the fog grew thinner, until she came at last out into the sunlight on the bare summit. Then she stepped forward and looked westward. And there right before her was the great head of Glaurung, who had even then crept up from the other side; and before she was aware her eyes looked in his eyes, and they were terrible, being filled with the fell spirit of Morgoth, his master.When Turin asked the Men of Brethil to help him fight the dragon, he said: “I know somewhat of him. His power is rather in the evil spirit that dwells within him than in the might of his body, great though that be.” I have long wondered what these passages might mean. Did Morgoth imprison or embed some spirit within the body of the dragon? If so, where did it come from? Only Iluvatar could create a spirit, and Tolkien was troubled by the idea that Iluvatar might create something he knew would turn to evil, which must turn to evil. Of course, Iluvatar must have known that Melkor would eventually become evil. So at some point it is reasonable to say that if there is a freedom of choice for the spirit, then Iluvatar would create it. But is there a freedom of choice for such monsters as dragons?
An alternative explanation of these passages is a simpler one: the spirit referred to is literally the spirit of Morgoth. Not the primary will of Morgoth, his awareness or consciousness, if you will. But simply a part of his power, his strength. The One Ring provides an example of how, when a great being’s power is partially externalized, a thing can seem to take on a will and conciousness of its own. The One Ring strove to return to Sauron, and in many ways it tried to corrupt and master those who bore it, or who could potentially take it and use it. Through the years many people have tried to rationalize how this Ring could act on its own accord if it wasn’t a truly sentient thing. Analogies with computers have been devised, but I think such analogies miss the point.
The primal energy of an Ainurian spirit is an incarnate force. Iluvatar gave will to these forces, but the wills are only aspects. The spirit is a thing unto itself, but Melkor and Sauron showed that they could diffuse their spirits, divide their essence among multiple physical shells. Sauron put a great part of himself into the Ring, but he remained in his self-incarnated form, his body. It was the body where his will resided. And yet Sauron would have been able to perceive events and beings through his Ring, if only in a crude fashion. When Frodo put the Ring on and took the High Seat on Amon Hen, he looked upon Barad-dur in the vision which played before him and Sauron was aware of him instantly. Tolkien notes that Sauron was in rapport with the Ring while it existed, but he wasn’t in communication with it. Being cut off from the Ring was like having one’s arm go numb, perhaps, while still feeling a prickling in the fingers even though — in the darkness of night — one could not be sure of where the hand lay.
In “Myths Transformed” Tolkien explained this process further in an essay which explores the nature of the Valar and Ainur in general:
Melkor ‘incarnated’ himself (as Morgoth) permanently. He did this so as to control the hroa, the ‘flesh’ or physical matter, of Arda. He attempted to identify himself with it. A vaster, and more perilous procedure, though of similar sort to the operations of Sauron with the Rings. Thus, outside the Blessed Realm, all ‘matter’ was likely to have a ‘Melkor ingredient’, and those who had bodies, nourished by the hroa of Arda, had as it were a tendency, small or great, towards Melkor: they were none of them wholly free of him in their incarnate form, and their bodies had an effect upon their spirits.Tolkien further explains that:
…Moreover, the final eradication of Sauron (as a power directing evil) was achievable by the destruction of the Ring. No such eradication of Morgoth was possible, since this required the complete disintegration of the ‘matter’ of Arda. Sauron’s power was not (for example) in gold as such, but in a particular form or shape made of a particular portion of total gold. Morgoth’s power was disseminated throughout Gold, if nowhere absolute (for he did not create Gold) it was nowhere absent. (It was this Morgoth-element in matter, indeed, which was a prerequisite for such ‘magic’ and other evils as Sauron practised with it and upon it.)Dragons have an affinity for gold. They like to gather it up in a huge mound and lay upon it. Tolkien’s reasoning may be that they are thus nourished by the Morgoth-element which is present in gold, indeed which is stronger in gold than in other substances (such as silver and water). This could explain how dragons are able to go for long periods of time without actually eating anything. The gold sustains them, and is thus as important to them as food would be to a starving man on a desert island. It could also explain why the dragons experienced a period of decline. Their power would be diminished without Morgoth to control them, and until they could accumulate new hoards they would be very weak.
It may be that the dragons, when they fled from Beleriand, had to flee into the northern wastes because they were simply too weak to deal with the Dwarves, Elves, and Men any more. They had spent themselves on Morgoth’s behalf and only barely survived. And a dependence upon gold and the spirit of Morgoth might explain why there seemed to be so few dragons until late in the Third Age. They might need gold to breed. Morgoth certainly wouldn’t have lacked for it in Angband, where he could mine the depths of the earth for whatever minerals and metals he required. And as Elvish treasures were brought to him he would be able to breed yet more dragons, greater and more powerful than the earlier generations.
Dragons would thus essentially be living artifacts. People speculate on how Morgoth could breed dragons. That is, what creatures would he have brought together in a controlled breeding program to produce dragons? I don’t think that is quite what Tolkien intended, either. Rather, it may be that he envisioned Morgoth starting out with a couple of creatures, say lizards or snakes, exerting his will upon their bodies. His goal would have been to produce offspring which would be dragons. Glaurung was therefore an experiment, a prototype, and Ancalagon was the final production model. Each brood of dragons thus produced would have been infused with part of Morgoth’s power. They had “wills” but not necessarily independent wills. They were more than puppets but less than true sentient creatures.
Without the aid of Morgoth’s direct intervention, breeding for dragons may have become a great and onerous task. In fact, left to themselves, the dragons seem to have been less efficient than when leading Morgoth’s armies. Glaurung took a long time to make his way from Nargothrond to Brethil. He apparently blazed a path across the landscape, burning trees and everything else, but every now and then just laid down to sleep. The burning rampage would just be an expression of the dragon’s malice, although it also probably ensured that no one stayed around to trouble him during the naps. But it must have represented an incredible expenditure of energy. In “Narn i Chin Hurin”, Glaurung sent an army to attack Brethil and Turin destroyed the army. The dragon waited several months before moving out against the woodmen himself. He may have been charging his batteries, so to speak, building up his energy reserves.
Such a limitation makes the dragons incapable of taking over the world without a greater power behind them. And it also makes it possible for people to live relatively close to the dragons (as the Men of the Long Lake and the Elves of Northern Mirkwood did) without having to find cover every other day. The dragons, so long as they weren’t disturbed, would sustain themselves on their golden hoards until moved to action for some reason. They may have had little in the way of a mating instinct, and perhaps there was a conflict between their need to reproduce and their need simply to exist. A dragon which brought forth children might weaken itself, perhaps even die, unless it had a very, very large hoard of gold. Smaug seems to have been the largest and most successful of the dragons of his generation. But if the hoards of Erebor and Dale were vaster than anything his kind had accumulated since the end of the First Age, he may have become sort of drunk with power, too besotted to go find a mate.
A dependence upon gold and the strength to withstand all but the mightiest of wills would also explain why the Witch-king of Angmar was unable to control or breed dragons. He would simply have been too weak to accomplish the task. Sauron might have been able to exert his full will and gain control over the dragons. Gandalf certainly feared as much according to Tolkien, but Sauron appears to have nearly recovered all his strength by the end of the Third Age (minus the portion stored in the Ring). When Angmar arose around the year 1300 Sauron was still weak and hiding in Mirkwood. He may not have become capable of working with the dragons until much later.
But the re-emergence of dragons in the north in the 26th century may be an indication that Sauron was doing something with them. He returned to Dol Guldur in 2460 “with increased strength”, according to the Tale of Years in Appendix B toThe Lord of the Rings. The dragons reappeared in the north around the year 2570. Coincidence? Sauron could certainly have arranged for the dragons to get a few shipments of gold. In fact, he could have begun working on a dragon breeding program soon after leaving Dol Guldur in 2063 in preparation for his eventual return.
So it would seem that the story of Scatha was a bit of a fluke. The dragons would have been incapable of wreaking havoc among the northern peoples until the Dwarves started settling in the Grey Mountains in large numbers. Some Dwarf-colony may have awakened Scatha and he slew them, taking their hoard. A few survivors would have spread word that a dragon was living in the mountains. So what brought Fram into the picture? Would he really have set out to slay a dragon in the hope of getting treasure? That seems so unlike the heroic Rohirrim and their ancestors, the Eotheod who helped Gondor. Fram may have been a proud and arrogant man with little love for Dwarves, but I think it would be out of character for him to be greedy and pretentious enough to go dragon-hunting. Scatha must have seemed a real threat to the Eotheod.
If, fueled by a small Dwarven hoard, Scatha decided to seek his fortune in the wider world, he should have come into conflict with the Eotheod. As a lord Fram would have had to take action against the worm, much as Turin had to take action against Glaurung in the First Age, and Bard would later have to take action against Smaug. Brave men just didn’t go seeking dragons unless they were fools or desperate. Scatha was called “the great dragon of Ered Mithrin”, so he must have been the most powerful dragon of his time. If he accumulated a hoard and grew strong from it, his malice could have led him to range farther and farther afield.
Fram’s adventure might thus have played out similarly to Turin’s. He would recruit a few brave companions to help him hunt the dragon. Perhaps there was more than one encounter. It may have come down to only Fram and Scatha in the end, as Fram’s companions may all have perished or fled in terror. Fram would have to devise some means of killing the dragon, most likely piercing him from below. The final struggle would be a valiant battle, with the outcome in doubt. The mountains might have echoed with the dragon’s roars, and the night sky may have been lit up for miles around from the dragon’s flames. The Eotheod would huddle in their homes and sing songs to calm their children. The Dwarves would put down their hammers and harps, and listen as the stone of their halls resounded with the sound of man clashing with dragon.
In the end Fram defeated the dragon, and he lived to boast of the deed. And Tolkien writes that the northern “land had peace from the long-worms afterwards”. The dragons had been dealt a devastating blow with the loss of Scatha. As when Azaghal wounded Glaurung and the dragons retreated to Angband in dismay, so the long-worms may have fallen back to the Withered Heath beyond the mountains. Would fear be their only reason for avoiding Men? Or would it be that Scatha had possessed the greatest power, and with his death that power was lost to dragon-kind? Could it be they had to share strength among themselves to survive, and if a dragon died far from the others they were rendered weak?
Smaug’s departure from the north might thus explain why the dragons became less of a threat, not more. While they were together they were strong. But when the strongest among them departed, their pool of strength would have been diminished. Their collective strength had been sustained and nourished by long centuries of hoarding gold and stealing it from the Dwarves. The Dwarves had been fleeing the mountains for generations anyway. What is the point in staying around a land where you’re likely to be killed by a dragon? So if we assume that Sauron was behind the rise of the dragons, then he must have been pleased at first by Smaug’s conquest of Dale and Erebor. And yet the consequence of Smaug’s death would have been the loss of a great part of the dragon-power of the north.
It’s said that when Augustus Caesar learned that Quintillius Varus had been defeated by the Germans in the Teutoberg Wald, and that three Roman legions had been massacred, Augustus rampaged through his palace and cried out, “Varus! Give me back my legions!” Sauron might have felt a similar rage and despair when he learned about the death of Smaug. He need not necessarily have infused the dragons with any of his own strength (which, in his Ringless state, was precious and spare). But he may have expended a great amount of resources in nourishing them. Such a setback might have radically altered Sauron’s plans. His hope of sending armies rampaging across the northern world would be diminished.
The victory over Smaug thus heralds something more than a chance to restore the Longbeard Dwarves to their former glory. It signals the last time the dragons would be in alliance with an incarnate power greater than themselves. Sauron was overcome less than 100 years later, and though dragons survived without him they were utterly on their own. They would have to begin the long slow process of rebuilding their strength without help. But they would never again produce a Smaug or Scatha, or any worm capable of destroying an entire kingdom. At best they might terrorize the countryside or frighten off small tribes. And they would be without real purpose. Though something of Morgoth’s will survived in them, there would be no outside direction from powers like Sauron and no harmony or real sense of community among them.
The days of the dragons would thus be numbered, as eventually it would become possible for men to hunt them down and seize their hoards. And being hoardless they would eventually fall asleep never to awaken, and the last of Morgoth’s enchanted creatures would recede into distant memory, folklore, and legend.
This article was originally published on December 15, 2000.