Photo by Craig Adderley

Mystical creatures in stories have a purpose in making the tale more compelling and convey a meaning that should resonate lessons for the readers.

Different stories are told from different perspectives and styles. Most adventure stories follow a character or a hero who faces challenges to pursue. Some of them even include mystical creatures that provide the hero with strong villains to pursue and fight against. But did you know that these mystical creatures actually provide lessons as they are a metaphor for something else?

In Chris Cochrane’s Castle Forks, the protagonist, also named Chris Cochrane, meets a mystical creature in the forest that leads him and his father into a concealed castle with other different creatures. The story happens on Chris’s first hunting trip with his father, uncovering an adventure where he still learns to use his hunting weapon and skills. It is also a story about immortal Demon Shadows, where Chris has to fight against the creatures that want to gain dominion over the world.

As a reader, what do you think the demon shadows represent? Let’s talk about some mystical creatures and what metaphor they carry in the story. Here’s a list of the top 10 mystical creatures in stories and their meaning:


Banshees are popular in Irish folk stories. A banshee appears as the spirit if a woman who screams at a family member who will soon pass away. In stories, this creature is used as a warning for characters of impending danger and death that will come their way. 


German and British in origin, goblins are playful and mischievous creatures related to fairies and other nature spirits. They possess several abilities depending on the story. In stories, these creatures would always mean trouble, mischief, greed, or malice.


Unicorns are majestic creatures of folklore. It mostly appears as a horse with a single horn on its forehead, known to have magical healing powers. Furthermore, the unicorn symbolizes wonder, uniqueness, and rarity in stories. 


Mermaids are half-human, mostly female, and half-fish that inhabit secret rivers and oceans. In stories, it captivates sailors with their beautiful voices into impending doom or provides people with treasures and insights into a magical world. Like the unicorn, mermaids can also symbolize fantasy and wonder. However, in some stories, they could mean warning and danger, like the banshee. 


Fairies or Faeries are nature spirits that are mostly depicted as tiny humans with wings and sparkly dust. Depending on the story, their form could vary as well. Some tales will describe them as tall women in the forest who grant wishes and good luck, while others describe them as mischievous little creatures that provide a lot of problems to characters. Moreover, fairies symbolize magic, mystery, and playfulness in stories. 


Vampires have contributed to shaping fantasy and horror literature over the years. These creatures are mostly described as humans, mostly wealthy noblemen, who have lived for thousands of years. They would consume blood and avoid daylight. In the recent media, popular vampires are depicted as young, handsome men who have been on Earth for thousands of years. Additionally, Vampires or Vampyres symbolize fear, grudge, unconscious drives, and other defense mechanisms. In some media, these creatures also represent sex, wealth, and disease.


The undead or zombies in folklore originated from Haiti. These are reanimated corpses that walk the earth for flesh, blood, and brains. The undead is a popular character in horror, where protagonists would have to face hundreds of them. Most of the time, characters die and turn into the undead, looking for others to infect. In recent media, zombies or the undead symbolize diseases, mental well-being, depression, anger, fear, hunger, and poverty. 


The phoenix is a legendary bird, mostly eagle-like, that can combust itself into flames and return as a younger version of itself through the ashes. This bird is worshipped by many as it is said to grant wishes or heal illnesses. The legendary creature is mostly opposed by another mystical creature – the dragon. nevertheless, the phoenix symbolizes legend, immortality, resurrection, and eternity. 


Dragons are powerful beings that are mostly depicted as serpent-like or lizard-like creatures with wings. These mystical creatures have the ability to breathe out or shoot out fire from its mouth. Their draconic powers also extend to other elements, such as ice, water, earth, and woods, depending on the story. Authors would often describe the creatures as evil, while other literature classifies them as good allies. Dragons symbolize evil, chivalry, strength, skills, wisdom, and power. 


Demons in literature have a lot of forms. They could be depicted as shadowy figures, a ghoul, or a human-looking entity. Sometimes, demons are introduced under different names, such as Satan, Boogeyman, the Devil, Lucifer, and others. These creatures are mostly the evilest villains or the final boss of stories. Demons could mean a lot of things. They could mean evil, personal challenges, betrayal, non-existence, Hell, and the occult. 

Castle Rock, a story about immortal Demon Shadowsuses demons as its prominent antagonist in the story. 

There are still a lot of mystical creatures used in different stories. All of them contribute to conveying the moral of the story and providing wonder in the world beyond the imagination.

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