Since I can say I am stuck in Vienna for an indefinite amount of time I guess I can start collecting stuff and stories about it. Sit close kids, I will now tell you a story…
The Cockatrice (basilisk)
A Cockatrice is a beast born from the egg of a cockerel. It inherits its father-mother’s head, but has the eyes of a frog, the body of a dragon, the wings of a bat and the tail of a snake. A cockatrice that hatches from the egg of a usual rooster is relatively harmless and meeting it would result in some extra tan and random burns, but a black rooster gives birth to an aggressive type that not only burns everything around but also has the ability to turn anything he glares at into stone. That was exactly the cutie that decided to make his safe-house in a water well near Schönlaterngasse 7 (not far from the city center Stefansdom) back in the end of June 1212.
The well started to smell terribly, so the citizens deducted that something died in it and rushed to clean the well as it was their only source of water. However the guy lowered down to check it out climbed out pale and shivering because of a monster he saw down there. The local healer determined it to be a fairly undead Basilisk. The healer was smart enough to refuse to get rid of it though. People started praying and crying that they would all die, while the witty apprentice of the Baker who lived with his Master in the nearby house number 7 realized that:
1) The Baker’s daughter would soon have to get some water from this well
2) She is too gorgeous and rather than adoring her stone sculpture he’d rather adore her alive
So he used his chance and as soon as the Baker announced any reward to the one who gets rid of the monster in the Well, the boy got the biggest silver mirror he could find and climbed down. The Basilisk looked at its own reflection and successfully turned himself into stone. All the Baker’s Apprentice had to do was pull the sculpture out of the well, lay it before the Baker and ask to marry his daughter.
The Apprentice and the Backer’s daughter lived unhappily ever after, as it happens in 95% of cases, he became an atrocious drunk grumpy, she became a fat jealous scoundrel and they both got grey hair over the naughty kids they bred. But the citizens happily placed the stone Basilisk on the wall of the house, drew a picture and described how it all happened for the future generations to share the wisdom. And there it stays till nowadays.