Being that the Stag Beetle is active during the hot summer nights, and due to the fact that they’re attracted to bright lights, it has been know for them crash in though an open bedroom window; and being that they’re Britains largest terrestrial insect, which limits them to certain ungainly flight, “crashing” is probably the appropriate term.
Even in this day and age, the sight of this giant nightly insect intruder could obviously be quite alarming, but if this was to have happened in Britain a few hundred years ago, let’s say during the medieval period, well, you could have reacted as if the devil himself had made an appearance!
You see back in the day the stag beetle was tarnished with ill placed ill intent. Due to their horny features they were believed to come from the depths of hell, to be a thing of the devil, and due to their untimely appearance during hot summer storms, they were even believed to be able to summon the power of lightning. Their handsome stag-like horns are in fact its teeth, but with their reddish hue it gave way to the idea that this malevolent beetle could also carry burning lumps of coal - which, of course, it would obviously use try to start fires with.
In contrast, other parts of Europe have more favourable folklore attached to this amazing creepy-crawly: where it was even seen as a protector from evil. The stag beetles Latin name for example, ‘lucanus cervus’, comes from the Italian region of Lucania, which is where they used to make stag beetles into amulets - an ornamental charm often worn to protect the wearer from harm, (the translation of ‘cervus’ is ‘stag’).
In Germany the beetle was revered as the holy animal of Dona, (Thor, the Thunder God), and wearing one on your headwear would actually protect you from lightning. And in Northern France a stag beetle in the pocket could bring you an abundance of wealth.
But if you think our stag beetle is alarmingly large, you should have a peek at the magnificent Giraffe Stag Beetle of India. Those ones could carry a burning sack of coal!
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Anyone who has ever read one of Terry Pratchett’s fantasy ‘Discworld’ novels will know that the fictional flat Discworld rests upon the backs of four gigantic elephants, who, in turn, spin the world whilst walking on the shell of the enormous Turtle, ‘Great A’Tuin’.