Monster Monday: The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.

Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, H. Lee (1887)
Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, H. Lee (1887)

The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary is a legendary plant said to grow in Central Asia that bore sheep as fruit. The sheep was connected to the plant by a stalk similar to an umbilical cord. The stalk was flexible and allowed the sheep to graze on the foliage around the plant. Once all the foliage was eaten, the sheep and the plant would die. Likewise, if the sheep was separated from the plant, both would die. The sheep was supposedly fully animal, however, with wool, flesh, and blood. It’s wool could be spun into yarn, and it’s meat cooked and eaten. It was said to taste like honey.

The legend was inspired by a real plant, a tree fern called a barometz.

 

 

One thought on “Monster Monday: The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary

  1. solsdottir November 11, 2015 / 9:20 am

    This one of my favourite tall tales because it’s so weird. What kind of plant sprouts an animal – clearly categories were more fluid back then.

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