(Image: Perkins 97)
The dragon of the western hemisphere is very different from those of the East. Found mainly in the stories of Europe and the Americas, it is described as a sort of giant lizard, with sharp claws and large bat-like wings to help it fly. These dragons often have the ability to breathe fire or noxious fumes onto any who attack them (Rose 104). Almost always, these dragons were ruthlessly evil, laying siege to castles or raiding small villages. Feeding on livestock and humans, they steal treasure and women and bring them back to their lair, where a young, brave warrior slays them and retrieves what was stolen (Rose 104-105).
Since they are horrible hoarders, the Western dragon may be a warning against the ugliness and evil of greed. Stories of the hoarding dragons being slain may have been intended to stop people from being greedy or hoarding wealth. Dragons are also slain by brave heroes, and these heroes may inspire ordinary people to be brave in their own lives.