DARREN: Open question – which mythological figure has the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a scorpion? Here’s a hint – it’s also the title of a novel by Robertson Davies.

RORY: Oh, manticore.

The manticore is a Persian mythological creature with a human head, body of a lion, and a tail of venomous spines – some depict it as like porcupine quills, while others give it a scorpion tail, as Darren says. There are some accounts that the spines can be shot like arrows, making the manticore a lethal predator. It devours its prey whole, using its triple rows of teeth, leaving no traces of its victim behind. Its name comes from the Persian for “man eater”.

The Manticore is a 1972 novel by Canadian author Robertson Davies. It is the second volume in his Deptford Trilogy, three interrelated works set in the fictional town of Deptford, Ontario. The plot of The Manticore revolves around themes of Jungian psychology and psychoanalysis, and the journey towards becoming fully human.

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