A sárkány is a kind of dragon that originates from Hungarian legend and folklore. This creature is possibly the original basis for the modern image of the European dragon: it is a huge reptilian beast capable of flying with a pair of expansive wings. According to their earliest recorded literature, a sárkány is born through the transformation of another creature, such as a pike that has rested in the mud over many months or a rooster that spends too much time indoors.
Before the 18th century, sárkányok were revered in ancient Hungarian beliefs. They acted as bridges of sorts between the material and spiritual realms and were commonly associated with natural phenomena such as violent storms, tornadoes and floods. The sound of thunder rumbling was said to be the growl of a sárkány.
Around the 19th century, sárkány folklore had evolved into that of the modern European dragon. Children's tales depicted them as villainous creatures that looted and hoarded vast amounts of gold and wealth and kidnapped beautiful young maidens, whether as food or keepsakes. Such tales depicted the beasts being fought and slain by a valiant knight who would rescue the captive maiden and share the dragon's wealth with the people.