This richly illustrated volume offers a feast for the imagination with its fascinatingly odd menagerie of creatures both real and imaginary. Victorian author John Ashton assembled historical accounts of everything from centaurs and unicorns to narwhals and wolves by authors such as Pliny, the ancient Roman naturalist, and Edward Topsell, a 17th-century English clergyman. These credulous treatments provide abundant amusement for modern readers. The compilation ranges from the more familiar creatures such as dragons, griffins, and mermen to now-obscure beings: the lamia, the lamb-tree, the moon woman, and the circhos, to name a few. Some tales offer unusual takes on swans, bears, cats, and other ordinary animals. Since underwater exploration was impractical until the 20th century, a particularly rich vein of folklore centers on sea creatures. Dating from approximately 1890, this fascinating volume is profusely illustrated with 130 images. A detailed index provides easy reference.