The Library

Animals > Basilisk





This fabulous beast is shown with the head of a cock and the body of a scaled and winged serpent.  The carver has depicted a grotesque female form with well-developed breasts.  The tail is forked with one end terminating in a second cock’s head.  The basilisk or cockatrice was supposedly hatched on a dung heap from the seven-year-old egg of a cock.  Anyone who met its eye would die instantly from the poison emitted; the only way of killing it was to hold up a mirror so that it died on seeing its own reflection.