In very old times people tried to give names to their fears and their imagination created a various number of mythological creatures which are nothing else than the materialization of these fears. But people also needed to invent stories about heroes who defeated these mythological creatures, because in this way they could somehow control the world they strived to live in. Moreover, inexplicable phenomena had to be made clearer and therefore magic played an important role in people's lives. It is interesting to observe that although every culture has their own monsters or magic creatures, these sometimes seem to be imagined by a universal mind that creates them regardless geographic location, culture or even time. Dragons are ones of the oldest mythological creatures, well known in many cultures. Most of the times they were harmful and dangerous, but - especially in ancient times, they could also be protective and even useful. When Christianity spread across the world, dragons started to represent only the evil, Satan. In medieval times, people, having little knowledge in what concerned the existence of dinosaurs, thought that the large skeletons or bones they found were the proof that dragons really existed. No matter the culture, the dragons seem to have the same appearance: body of a serpent (and, as it happen in Bulgarian folklore, body of a human and tail of a serpent), multiple heads (very rarely just one), sometimes having wings, breathing fire or even being able to speak, living under the oceans or rivers or in caves or forests in the mountains. More evil than the dragons are the devils that appear in many legends. They are either the tempters who try to lure the faithful to abandon their faith or they want to punish people for their disbelief. No matter what the legend is about, there is evidence about the story: a stone, a bridge, a mountain or a column, showing that people needed explanations for the presence of strange rocks in unusual places or stone bridges of significant technological achievement which were built in The Middle Ages.
But not only male evil characters are presented in the legends. The most important female mythical creatures are the Nymphs, Dryads, Naiads (in Greek mythology), Iele (in Romanian mythology) or Samodivas (in Bulgarian mythology). They are depicted as beautiful, graceful maidens, with magic powers, who are sometimes mischievous and are regarded as divine spirits associated with Nature. Another mythical feminine creature is a mermaid (half woman, half fish) who also has magic powers and interferes with the human world either to help people, but more likely to produce perilous events, such as storms and drowning.
However, legends are also populated with real characters, such as rulers, princes and princesses, who either founded cities or are at the origin of legendary characters (such as Dracula). Other real characters are the people who sacrificed or were forced to sacrifice themselves so that the construction of a monastery, a castle, a bridge or even the formation of a mountain might be completed.