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A Zaratan is a grandiose sea turtle found in literature and folk lore. Zaratans are described as having long-life spans and incredible size, to the point where their shells can be mistaken easily enough as small islands, similar to the whale-like Fastitocalon. Jorge Luis Borges's work El Libro de Los Seres Imaginarios (or The Book of Imaginary Beings in English) catalogues the Zaratan. Zaratans also appear in some editions of the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.[1]

Borges notes that one of the oldest legends of the Zaratan mentions it dismissively: Al-Jahiz, an Arab prose writer and zoologist in the 9th century, described Zaratan as an innocent story in his book Kitāb al-Hayawān (The Book of Animals).[2] He contrasts this telling with later writings, including by 13th century author Zakariya al-Qazwini, which tell the story of the Zaratan without the incredulity found in the earlier work.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Saratan". A Book of Creatures. 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  2. ^ a b Borges, Jorge Luis (2015). Book of Imaginary Beings. Translated by 柳瀬尚紀. 河出書房新社. pp. 103–107. ISBN 9784309464084.