lake-brosnoSeveral Russian lakes have alleged denizens, slavic kin of the Loch Ness Monster, but most are far to the east. West of Moscow, though, in the lands of Tver, is Lake Brosno, the deepest lake in the province, and one which bubbles gently. Alchemists might claim that this is simply mephitic gas released by decaying detritus on the lakebed, but we know better. The dragon is a classic sea monster in reputed shape, a long-necked dinosaurian, with flukes and a powerful tail.

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Is it a patriot, or just territorial? The legends say that when Batu Khan was leading a Mongol army towards Novgorod in the 13th century and his horsemen led their horses to the lake to drink, it savagely attacked, devouring men and mounts alike, sending the Mongols fleeing. But then further back, when Varangians sought to cache plunder from one of their 10th century raiding expeditions into the Rus’ lands on a small island in the lake, the dragon simply swallowed the island whole…