#1 Nessie. From monster to ladle
Scotland. A land of wild beauty, endless rolling bare-rock hills, and sheep carelessly grazing. But visitors might also spot something else… something bigger, aquatic, and with sharp fangs.
In the heart of the Highlands, one of the biggest lakes in the country stretches like a scar: Loch Ness. Extending itself for 37 kilometres, or 23 miles, its dark waters hide more than fish, and the occasional joyful otters splashing around. Loch Ness is home to a bloodthirsty creature, with a taste for human flesh. Preferably undercooked, with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
Warmly nicknamed Nessie, by the fearful neighbours of tenebrous Loch Ness, who know of its existence thanks to several… blurred pictures.
Several sonar expeditions starting from the late 50’s, claimed to have found large, mysterious, underwater targets. The likeliest explanations, range from Nessie plotting its next human victim, or, tired of its miserable monster loneliness, searching for a Nessie-partner to team up and terrorise the helpless locals.
*Nowadays the once fearful monster has been recycled by the Capitalist industry in this adorable soup ladle
Little do visitors, respectable scientists, and journalists care about the scarcity and fragility of evidence, because there was a saintly man who claimed to have made Nessie’s acquaintance. His name was Columba.
#2 The missionary (Not to be confused with the sex position)
Columba was born in 521 in Gartan, modern day County Donegal, in Northern Ireland. He was brought up by a priest called Cruithnechán, and when Columba found it impossible to keep pronouncing such tongue-twister of a name, he left and moved to Clonard, the Oxford of the medieval churches in Ireland.
“He couldn’t make any friends because of his name. I suggested him to change it, but he refused”
Columba, about Cruithnechán. 540 AD
In 563, Columba departed Ireland, as all Irishmen tend to do, but since the U.S. didn’t exist to emigrate to yet, he chose the beautiful Scotland. Not that Scotland existed yet either. It was divided between different people and kingdoms. Columba’s kinsman, Conal mac Comgail, king of Dal Riata in western Scotland, gave him the tiny island of Iona.
#3 Columba visits Nessieland
Aware that Conal mac Comgail’s enemies, the Picts, worshipped false gods, Columba decided to become a Pilgrim. Which was the coolest thing to do back then. Like an Instagram influencer, posting travel pictures and getting paid for it.
Columba travelled to Pictland, in north-east Scotland, expecting to visit King Bridei of the Picts, and convert him. He stuffed a suitcase with a change of habit, and a floating stone to impress Bridei. That was his trump card when dealing with local superstitious rulers, who stubbornly refused to believe in the grace of God. Those stupid pagans. Amen.
However, taking a break from his divine mission, Columba and his squad stopped in the shores of Loch Ness, where they took selfies, bought souvenirs, and did all the kind of stuff tourists do.
There, Columba saw the local Picts burying a dead companion. He asked what happened, and they told him he had been mauled and killed by a sea monster, living in the depths of the loch. Likely saving a piece for dinner later, the monster had dropped half the corpse, and the locals had managed to pull the remains back to shore with hooks.
#4 Hunting Nessie
Columba, pondered, and did what every sensible friend would do: he ordered his companion Lugne Mocumin, to swim across the Loch to retrieve a small boat, moored on the opposite bank. Lugne, who was either an idiot, or didn’t listen the Picts describing their buddy’s horrible death, stripped off and jumped into the water.
Just as Lugne had almost reached the boat, he was startled by big ripples in the water. And then, so close that he could almost touch it, the monster emerged, letting out a frightening roar. Surely hoping that the naked idiot, swimming before its fierce yellow eyes, would taste better than the average Pict.
Swiftly, Columba darted to rescue Lugne. Leaping from a tree top, he landed on the monster, delivering a devastating holy elbow. Nessie was wary though, and blocked Columba’s with its flat, grey fins.
Both opponents exchanged blows and flying kicks, wrestling each other, equally matched, despite the considerable size of Nessie, who some swear, was able to surround the Earth and bite its own tail. Oops, wrong tale. That was Jörmungandr, from Nordic mythology. Never mind, point is, Nessie was big and strong:
“It was skilful. I believe the fiend was trained in the Kung-Fu of the Mantis, and familiar with the Tiger style, and the Crane”
Columba, about Nessie. 565 AD.
Nessie, an educated monster for being a plesiosaurus, a species allegedly extinguished 66 millions of years ago, matched its adversary praise, but claimed that Columba had unjustly provoked the fight.
“I got into a bad mood when those idiot tourists interrupted my nap”
Nessie, about Columba. 565 AD
Eventually Columba gained the upper hand and, making the sign of the cross, banished the monster to the depths of the loch. Some experts later said, that invoking the mighty power of God was foul play. Columba also had to face slander, about him taking drugs and steroids.
#5 Nessie’s modern hunters
Be that as it may, Columba’s epic match against Nessie earned him the title of World Heavyweight Champion. Besides the less important title of Saint. He retained both, undefeated, until his death. He also built churches, and other uninteresting things lacking sea monsters.
Nessie, ashamed of having lost against a tiny monk with a ridiculous tonsured head, has avoided the human media since then. But that doesn’t stop millions of visitors making their way to the Highlands every year, closely watching the waves breaking the lake surface, hoping to catch a glimpse of the legendary monster of Loch Ness.