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Yelbeghen (Йилбегән, Yilbegän or Yelbegän, Tatar: Cilbegän / Җилбегән) is a multi-headed man-eating monster in the mythology of Turkic peoples of Siberia, as well as Siberian Tatars.

Turkish Dragon[edit]

In some myths Yilbegän is a winged dragon or serpent-like creature, while in others he is an ogre-like behemoth who rides a 99-horned ox. Some epics feature multiple Yilbegän with different numbers of heads who are the offspring of Altan Sibaldai, "the golden witch", a cohort of the lord of the underworld. Some epics also mention a Yilbegän king named Yelmogus.

In a legend of the Altai, there was a seven-headed ogre, Yelbeghen, taking revenge from the Sun and the Moon, and used to eat them. The god Ulgen shot arrows to Yelbeghen. This ogre sometimes chewed the stars in his mouth and broke them into pieces and then spit them out. Therefore, stars used to run away from him into the sky... According to Altai people, eclipse of the Moon used to take place because of this ogre. For this reason, when there is moon eclipse they say: ‘’Again Yelbegen (seven-headed ogre) ate the Moon...’’

Yelbeghen, sometimes Yelmogus is generally considered to be a creature separate from dragons and a polar opposite to them in its nature. It is a being of pure evil, a dragon-like beast and dreadful monster with no reason, that usually lives in dark and hostile places, or guards unreachable locations in fairy-tales. It is often multi-headed (with 3, 7 or 9 heads) and breathes fire. It is considered as "extremely intelligent, wise and knowledgeable" creature of "superhuman / supernatural" strength and proficiency in magic, very rich (usually described as having castles of enormous riches hidden in distant lands) and often lustful for women, with whom it is capable of making offspring. It often breathes fire and is generally accepted as a highly respected being, and while not always being benevolent, never as an entirely evil creature. Legends were spread about many historical and mythical heroes that they were conceived by a dragon.

Yalpaghan Khan[edit]

Yalpaghan Khan (Turkish: Yalpağan) is the dragon god of Altai and Turkish mythologies. He is the king of all the dragons. He also seems like a dragon with seven heads at any time.

See also[edit]


  • (in Tatar) "Cilbegän/Җилбегән". Tatar Encyclopaedia. Kazan: The Republic of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences. Institution of the Tatar Encyclopaedia. 2002. 
  • (in Turkish) Türk Mitolojisi Ansiklopedik Sözlük, Celal Beydili, Yurt Yayınevi