I love the way fear was described in mythology and folklore. I stumbled across Fenrisulven, or Fenrir, as I was doing some research into Norse myths.
Fenrir is a giant wolf who was living happily in Asgard, the home of the Norse gods. At first he was a bit of a cutie, but he quickly grew into a monstrous beast and became so frightening he even scared the people of Asgard. The gods decided he’d have to be bound somehow so he couldn’t harm anyone. They used all their strongest locks and chains, but they were no match for Fenrir.
Eventually the dwarves managed to spin a thread out of the roots of mountains, the racket made by cats, the sinews of a bear, the breath of fish, the beard of women and the spit of the birds (which is pretty much the best list of ingredients out there). The final product looked like a tiny silk thread, but nothing in this world was able to tear it in two. It was even given a name, Gleipner.
Fenrir realised something funny was going on and before he allowed the gods to place the thread around his neck one of them had to stick a hand in his mouth. In the end Tyr, the god of heroic glory, agreed to do it. Like any good hero he lost his hand as soon as Fenrir discovered he’d been bound and trapped in Joutheim, the home of the giants. And that’s where he’ll stay until Ragnarök when the world ends.