Regarding Tatzelwurms: Elizabeth’s Commonplace Book of Dragons

dragon-bannerDuring the Regency Era, women kept journals called commonplace books where they recorded things they wanted to save. Not entirely unlike a Regency era pinterest account if you think about it.

If a young Elizabeth Bennet grew up hearing and interacting with dragons, no doubt that would be reflected in her own commonplace book. So here is a peek into her world, her commonplace book of dragon experiences.

 If you missed the start of grown up Elizabeth’s adventure with dragons, check out this post . If you missed the first installment in Elizabeth’s Commonplace Book, you can find it here.


May 1801

Papa has told me I should copy dragon lore from his books into my own that I should not forget it. Since I am now friends with one, I shall begin by copying passages about the tatzelwurm. I do not know if Rumblkins will be pleased or annoyed by this though. I think he would find some of what I am about to write very silly indeed.

‘Wurms or Wyrms as it is sometimes written are considered the least intelligent and least reliable of the dragons. Of the wurms, tatzelwurms are regarded the most capricious and least loyal. They rarely choose to be companions to Dragon Friends and when they do, they are aloof, independent and unaffectionate.’

Here I cannot agree, not on any count. Rumblkins is a jolly companion and he would certainly live with us save that a prior housekeeper threw shoes at him and he did not like that. Who could blame him for that? He is not at all aloof. He sits with me and purrs whenever I go to visit him, especially if I bring him a treat. I think him rather sweet and his fur is very soft and silky.

Other names: Tatzelwurms is German for ‘claw worm’, also called Alps Dragon, Stollenwurm, (tunnel worm), Bergstutzen, (mountain stump), Springwurm, (jumping worm), Arassas, and Praatzelwurm

I have no idea was the latter two mean. One sounds like sniffles from a bad cold and the other like a German baked knot—neither of which resembles my little friend.

Territory: Tatzelwurms are mountain dwelling creatures and have been found in Austria, Bavaria, and the Italian and Swiss Alps.

And England—how could they have forgotten to include that? And that they are happy in hillsides, not just mountains. Sometimes I wonder at dragon lore, so much seems incomplete or even incorrect, but I doubt Papa would like it very much if I said so.

Appearance: A true tatzelwurm is rather a diminutive creature, in some cases it is said to be no than three feet long, nose to tail tip. They generally have face and forepaws of a cat. These parts are often sport lush fur and the ears have tufts like a wild cat. Their hind parts are those of a serpent, with neither rear limbs nor wings. The skin is scaled and the color is generally in keeping with the fur. Some varieties have tuft of fur resembling a ridge along the spine.Commonplace book dragon

Why did the lore not mention their very special paws? Rumblkins has thumb toes on his forepaws making him particularly agile and adept at doing unexpected things. He has assured me that all his kind has them, setting them apart from regular cats. I think they are adorable and cannot imagine how anyone could forget to mention them?

Important characteristics: Tatzelwurms are known for their ability to jump and climb

-of course! That’s what their thumbs do best!

Some say they hibernate—

-Rumblkins assures me they do not.

Others insist that they are venomous.

-Which Rumblkins also denies.

I have asked Papa about these disagreements. He assures me that Rumblkins is mischievous and I should rely on official dragon lore for my information. But I am not so sure. I cannot see why Rumblkins would want to play tricks on me.

Dragon lore includes pictures of tatzelwurms from the ancient bestiaries . They are so funny, I shall practice my drawing as Mama tells me to do, and copy them here.

tatzelwurms 1 tatzelwurms 2The first one looks nothing like Rumblkins at all. I am quite certain whomever drew it never saw a tatzelwurm at all.

Look at it, it is no wurm at all. More like a European dragon, I think. The second one is a little better, but the proportions are all wrong, the tail is too long and the creature is far too big–Rumblkins could never take on a full grown hog. He is only big enough to catch rats.

tatzelwurms extra-toesDo tatzelwurms laugh? I do not know what else to call the sounds he is making. I am certain he finds them very funny, too. He insists I do a picture that actually looks like him, so I shall also include a picture of his funny toes.


I think he likes it, he is purring.





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    • Deborah on November 3, 2016 at 1:47 pm
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    I love this little common place Dragon book.

    1. Thanks, I’ve been enjoying it a lot too.

  1. Brilliant! As someone who has kept a Commonplace Book since 2001, I very much like Elizabeth’s efforts, especially with all of the dragon lore. And as we found out in the first volume of the Jane Austen’s Dragons series, her very uncommon commonplace book may very well be of utmost importance to Dragon Friends at large.

    I’ve posted my reviews of Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon already on Goodreads and Amazon, and of course it was brilliant! When shall we see volume 2? By the end of 2017, I hope! I haven’t the patience of a Dragon Keeper, but I hope to at least not be a bother; I just loved the book so much! 😀

    Thank you!!

    Susanne 🙂

    1. I’m deviating a little from a true commmonplace book format, making it a little more of a journal than strictly proper, but I’m hoping it’s still ringing true.

      Thanks so much for reviewing! I really appreciate it. I would like to have volume 2 out by the end of first quarter 2017, the beginning of the second quarter. I don’t think I can wait for the end of the year to finish it! With any luck I’d like to have the third one done by the end of 2017.

    • Anji on November 3, 2016 at 4:09 pm
    • Reply

    What a lovely back story this to the story told in your new book. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Thanks so much, Anji! I’m having such fun with this backstory bit!

    • Carole in Canada on November 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm
    • Reply

    Trying to catch up and I really like this added dimension to the story! I too agree that it will have great importance to the overall story! Looking forward to the next book! I have posted my review to Goodreads now too!

    1. Thanks so much for reviewing, Carole. I really appreciate it! I’m looking forward to doing more Commonplace Book posts!

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