Leucrocuta

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A Leucrocuta
The Leucrocuta, (or sometimes the Leucrota, Leucrocotta, or Leocrocotta) is a mythical beast, supposedly the offspring of a lioness and a hyena. Pliny in Book 8 of his Natural History says categorically that it is "the size of an ass, and has the neck, tail and breast of a lion, the haunches of a stag, cloven hooves, a badger's head, and a mouth that opens from ear to ear, with ridges of bone instead of teeth. It is the swiftest of wild animals, and is said to be able to imitate the human voice."

According to the compilers of mediaeval bestiaries the Leucrocuta would use its sweet voice to lure travellers into its clutches and then cruelly devour them. It may be this which caused Jonathan Strange to associate it in his mind with Christopher Drawlight, for when the latter is magically drawn to Strange within the Darkness that shrouds him in Venice, Strange greets him with the unpleasant appellation: "I know you...You are a Leucrocuta!" He then threatens to transform Drawlight back into the shape of that mythical beast, and though he is only in joke the wretched Drawlight is terrified. (The humour of a madman is never congenial, and that of a mad magician even less so[59].)