When a jet-black rooster laid a giant oblong egg in the middle of town in 1474, the city residents knew that a terrible monster was sure to hatch…

In the year 1474, one Thursday morning, the tranquil city of Basel was beset by a great commotion and panic. A scruffy, jet-black rooster that was more than 11 years old had committed the ominous act of laying a giant oblong egg, nearly as large as itself and speckled with black and green, right in the middle of Gerbergasse – and in broad daylight!

Everyone in the town, from young to old, knew that such an egg could only hatch a terrible monster, the basilisk. The city’s inhabitants could imagine nothing more frightening than that. The basilisk, a terrifying creature over one meter tall, with the head and feet of a grotesque rooster and the body of a dark serpent, was more abominable than the wildest of all dragons. The basilisk caused nothing but death and destruction. Fresh grasses and green bushes withered and became dry thickets as the basilisk trod upon them. With its mere gaze, it had the power to kill, and even the tiniest glance from its blood-red eyes could shatter solid rock. Its poisonous breath alone caused immediate death.


Nothing seemed capable of destroying the monster. Even the strongest and bravest of knights, if he managed to pierce the fearsome creature with his lance, would suffer an agonizing death as the poisonous blood of the basilisk would race through the weapon and rob the would-be hero of his last breath.   

But the proud citizens of Basel would not let the monster terrorize their fair city, so they devised a clever plan to exploit the fearsome creature’s only weakness. The citizens of Basel realized that anyone who came across the rampaging creature must swiftly draw a small mirror from their pocket and aim it toward the foul beast. The basilisk, upon seeing its own terrible gaze in the reflection, would be stricken by its own cursed powers and miserably perish.

Disaster was averted this time, as the evil rooster was quickly caught and beheaded, before it could spread its curses. And the wretched egg met its destruction too, as the citizens cast it into a great fire, crackling and burning, and peace returned to the brave city once again.


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