The disturbing Man-Hydra of the eastern woodlands is the kindest creature you'll ever know. It has thirty-six heads and each one loves to listen to gossip (except the thirty-fifth, because of a hearing problem). They're all vegetarians.
All Man-Hydras lose their heads during fall, to prepare the body for the cold winter (they grow new ones during spring). The heads will fall to the ground, and while most of them doesn't survive the drop, the ones that do are sometimes found by travellers and taken care of.
The head of a Man-Hydra is somewhat larger than a normal human head. To survive, it must be fed on a daily basis.
Neglecting the head or treating it badly is considered very evil by the ones aware of these creatures. Anyone causing a head to die will automatically have a price on their head, and will be hunted.
I carried a watermelon
If taken cared of properly and treated with respect, the head of a Man-Hydra have a wide range of properties that not only lonely people appreciate (besides being good listeners). Some of them are listed below:
- Whispering a few words in the left ear. Later, when the right earlobe is pulled, the words will be repeated so loud there's a chance it will knock anyone in front of the head off their feet.
- Kissing it on the mouth will make the head blush. There's a 33 % risk the embarrassment will manifest as scorching heat rays shooting out of its eyes.
- Rubbing its cheeks will most often make it burp. The burp is harmless unless the head's been fed meat. In that case, the odour coming out of its mouth is toxic. (Feeding it meat is evil, and it will not forget this.)
- If both eyes are covered, the head will start to whistle. The melody charms anyone within hearing range as long as it keeps whistling.
- Massage, nose scratching, and hugs are vital for keeping the head happy. An unhappy head will most likely lose all its magical properties.
- Covering both its ears will make the head glow. This is because Man-Hydras love to listen, and the glow is a sign of sadness (it tries to attract attention, so someone will come and talk to it). This is considered mean.
- Bringing together several heads will make them smile at the sight of each other, and they will radiate an aura that may slightly heal anyone mortally wounded. Beware though, that they will become sad for a full day when separated again.