Dragons have always been very popular subjects for folklore and legends. There are friendly dragons, but most of them are very hostile and likely to kill on sight with a burst of flames from their nose or mouth. Almost every hero in folklore has killed a dragon at some point in his career, as well as all the other daring feats he is supposed to have performed. But what are dragons, and did they ever exist at all?
The answer is probably that the first stories of dragons sprang out of the discovery by ancient man of the huge fossilised bones of the dinosaurs. These men realised that the bones belonged to enormous lizards, and indeed if you look at old pictures of dragons they look very much like dinosaurs as we know them to have been. No one knows the origin of the tales about fire breathing. It was probably added to make the hero’s courage in killing the dragon seem even greater, although anyone who had the courage to approach a dragon like that let alone kill it would have been brave enough.