Tarasque float (front)

A Tarasque float.

The Tarasque is a legendary dragon from Provence, in southern France, that was tamed by Saint Martha of the New Testament. The dragon's story is very similar to that of King Kong's and the Beast's from Beauty and the Beast - it is the inspiration for the Dungeon & Dragon's monster, the Tarrasque.

The Legend

According to the Golden Legend, a collection of the biographies of the saints and ecclesiastical leaders, the Tarasque terrorized the area Nerluc, causing massive devastation. The creature was also believed to have been born to the Onachus, a bison-like beast who burnt anything it touched, and the Leviathan, a supposedly serpentine-like creature discussed in biblical texts. Its place of birth is believed to be Galatia.

The king of Nerluc attempted to kill the beast by sending in his knights and catapults, but they both failed to defeat the beast. It is then that Saint Martha tamed the creature by using hymns and prayers. She then returned the tamed creature to Nerluc. The Tarasque was immediately killed by the fearful residents of the town despite the fact that the creature didn't try to defend itself.

After the creature's death, Martha converted many of the townspeople to Christianity. The people of Nerluc felt very remorseful for killing the Tarasque, and renamed the town Tarascon as a tribute to it.


It was a dragon that had six short legs, which were similar to that of a bear's , a turtle shell to cover its body, an ox-like body, and a scaly tail that had a scorpion's stinger at the end of it. It also had a lion's head.