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Bestiary
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Uwan

Uwan

A bodyless voice that scares in abandoned Japanese homes and temples. Passers-by outside hear nothing, but the intruder's hearing is hit by a shrill scream.

Even though it is only an acoustic being, illustrators, such as Sawaki Suushi, have given him the appearance (and hence the body) for his purpose, so I can open this page of the Bestiary with an accompanying illustration from Suushi's Hyakkai-Zukan.  

 

Illustration by Sawaki Sūshi (佐脇嵩之, Japanase, *1707, †1772)
(scanned from ISBN 978-4-336-04187-6.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

12.4.2019 (23.9.2018)


Hadwabl

She haunted in the woods near Horní Slavkov near Loket, a town in West Bohemia. Once upon a time there was a castle in the forest, and its mistress hid her huge fortune in the dark forest. Later she began to watch its as a ghost. She was scaring away random as well as non-casual visitors. Her other appearance was the form of a little girl in red stockings, with a big key on a red tape and a coffer at her feet.

17.5.2019 (25.4.2010)


Hýkavý Martin (Braying Martin)

A figure of common Czech folktale, a one of misers who pushed the milestones at night. Most of them became fire spirits, but somebody ended up like Hýkavý Martin: wandering through the nights, screaming and halking on the back of the mockers. Martin, who haunted near Jankov, a village near Budweis, beside an usual ask: “Where do I give it,” brayed like a donkey. Past present in previous sentence is absolutely fine, because once someone has finally advised him (“Where you took it.”) and the spirit of the former local harpoon has been freed.

24.5.2019 (1.5.2010)


Ještědský duch

Ještědský duch (Jeschkengeist) is a genius loci of Ještěd Mountain in northern Bohemia. He used to be seen in the form of a great mountaineer with a hat and beard.

As the mountain is a place of many legends, Ještědský duch was not the only supernatural inhabitant of the region. The company read a number of revelations: elves, guarding gold and silver veins; a ghostly hunter, chasing a deer with a golden cross between antlers; occasional Wild Hunt; as well as annual Witches' Sabbath.

3.6.2019 (1.5.2010)


Zashiki-warashi

Zashiki-warashi

Even Japanese employ household gnomes. Zashiki-warashi (zashiki-bokko) from Iwate Prefecture looks like five-year-old kid with red cheeks and his presence brings good luck to the house. His leaving then means a leaving of luck, it is therefore better to tolerate his occasional childish pranks.

As usual, few people can see him (sometimes he leaves traces of his tiny feet in the ashes). Above all, they are children who, as we know, see a lot of things. However, he will never be seen by anyone who does not belong to the inhabitants of the house.

 

Illustration Ueda Akinari (上田秋成, Japanese, *1734, †1809) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

19.6.2019 (14.3.2010)


Marishi-ten

Soldiers keep her picture under their helmets, though no one really knows how this Japanese goddess actually looks. Which does not prevent people from inventing it: She often has six hands, three heads (to see in all directions), and riding seven boars. She also has a sword, a bow and arrows.

She was born from the first sunbeam; she is invisible, but she listens and when she hears her worshiper, she gives him courage and great strength.

1.7.2019 (21.12.2008)


Zámecký sedlák (Castle Farmer)

I have two pieces of news. The good one first.

There is a treasure hidden in Zámecký vrch near Česká Kamenice, a town in north Bohemia.

Now the worse part of the information.

On the same hill the specter of a peasant farmer, a beardless old man in shorts, bright shoes and a blue cloak with a fur collar appears. If you — if you go looking for that treasure — get in the way of a pale face of the Castle Farmer, you can expect something unpleasant to happen in the near future.

9.7.2019 (1.2. 2004)


Sântoaderi

Sântoaderi haunt in Romania. At first glance they resemble young men; at second sight you will find that they are equipped with hooves. They appear in groups of seven, or — who would think — of nine. Wearing hoods on their heads. A nice conglomerate, especially when I add that when they appear, they sing and beat the drums, dancing and spreading diseases, especially rheumatism. Their main goal is girls, but these victims sometimes get the gift of beauty instead of illness. It only seems to me or is there a real connection with the Greek satyrs?

8.8.2019 (16.1.2011)


Huehuecoyótl

Huehuecoyotl

The “Ancient Coyote” is a truly ancient deity, even suspected of having served not only the Aztecs, but their predecessors. Which is not surprising for the patron of dance, music and uninhibited sex. The Coyote is a well-known creature in the southwest of North America, acting in the role of Trickster, the later rulers of the Basin of Mexico came from somewhere north, so it is possible that seven tribes, which later put together a well-known empire, brought Huehuecoyótl from there.

 

Ilustration by UnknownUnknown author (This image was created with Adobe Photoshop.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

14.8.2019 (21.10.2018)


Hraničník (The Borderer)

A forest spirit that appears near Česká Třebová in the east Bohemia. Unobtrusive, silent, wearing a gray suit, he suddenly materializes beside the traveler (or behind his back). He works especially in rainy weather and disappears as soon as it stops raining.

27.8.2019 (15.12.2008)


Grootslang

When the Gods made up the world and its inhabitants, they mistakenly gave one species a little more than they wanted. Huge power as well as high intelligence and ability of using them. So they had no choice but the creatures we know today under the name Grootslang, (which certainly cannot be their true name, because at the beginning of the world was certainly not spoken in Afrikaans), to divide. To Elephants and Snakes. Whence we can deduce what those ancient beings looked like. Huge pachyderms with snake tails.

But how can we be so sure?

Not all grootslangs did not avoid the halving of appearance and abilities. One of them was said had escaped. It hid somewhere in Richtersveld, a rocky desert area in the southwest of present-day South Africa. It liked the warm lake or river water, but settled in a cave called Wonder Hole (otherwise called Bottomless Pit), and fed on the elephants it lured into it. It was said in the county that this Bottom Pit was connected to the sea sixty kilometers away and full of diamonds.

According to legend from Benin, Grootslang´s precious stones collection came by simple blackmail – the monster chose them as ransom for kidnapped travellers.

 

Grootslang by Jeff McArthur (Guategeek) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4.9.2019 (28.1.2018)


Tariaksuq

Shadow people the Inuit report about. They are no different from us. They live their shadow lives in shadow houses in the shadow country, just they are not visible. You can see their shadow, of course, but themselves only by killing them. If they are direct observed immediately flees to their shadow realm.

25.9.2019 (15.9.2019)


Dones d'aigua

Ladies, corresponding to ancient Greek nymphs. However, they live in a number of myths and legends of Catalonia. They are home to all places where clean water can be found. Fish from the waist down, but beautiful girls from the waist up with two excellent qualities – they guard the treasures and they're nice.

Some of these water mermaids dwell in caves or forests (which making their Mediterranean origin more evident) and some have chosen the bird's lower body instead of a fish's tail.

2.10.2019 (11.4.2002)


Börries

Börries haunts in Dutch Friesland. If you meet a big black poodle with glowing eyes there, then know that it is a devil in disguise.

4.11.2019 (2.6.2019)


Alyp Chara Aat Mogojdoon

The English name of this Yakuts abasy was "Black wizard, noble dragon". Yes, I am talking in past tense because this metal man-eating giant was part of the story of warrior Njurgun Bootur and as it goes, he did not survive until its end. The hero was helped by giant brother-in-law Chaan Ďargystaj, but judging by his foe it for sure was fair fight.

As was said before, this giant was made of metal. This is very important but before I say why, let's look at his description, because Alyp Chara Aat Mogojdoon is not of common appearance. Three heads, each with one eye and sharp teeth and six pairs of limbs. From the top they looked like eagle's talons, swords, axes, spears, bear paws and moose (or bull) hooves. With an opponent this equipped it was hard but both of friends managed it together. At first sight it may resemble Heracles' cooperation with Iolaus and their fight against Lernean hydra, when the hero was chopping of heads and his assistant helped by burning of the stumps, so they do not regenerate. However, Yakuts slayers of monsters had it easier, because with each beheading, one pair of limbs became paralysed. Headless body ended up in a swamp, where it rusted.

5.12.2019 (12.12.2010)


Olentzero

Giants of Pyrenes once saw a shining cloud nearby town known today as Lesaka. Well, they saw it, but they could not see it, the shine was too bright. Only one old and nearly blind man could inspect this heavenly spectacle. After he had done so, he announced that this was indeed a sign. And not some ordinary sign. Far away from there, on the east, son of god was born. With him came new world and new faith. Old man did not want to live in this new world and said it would be better to throw him from a cliff. The giants did as he asked and then followed him down. They did not intend to – they just fell down because they were pushing each other at the edge of a cliff. Only one remained.He visits basque children at Christmas to give them gifts. Most of the time he arrives at night on Christmas Eve, however to some towns and villages he comes later, at 27th of December. In Ermue children have to wait until 31st. Spelling and pronunciation of his names differ, sometimes he is even known as Onenzaro or Orentzaro. This is everything for the first version, mythological one, adaptation of pre-Christian rituals.  

 

Once upon a time one fair-haired fairy found a newborn baby in a forest. She named him and because she knew that best caretaker for a human would be other people, she gave it to an elderly childless couple. She gave him a name and raised him. (Choose according to your preferences.)

Whether he was raised by a fairy or a human, they raised him well,  Olentzero grew into a strong man and became a coalman. He likes to carve toys from wood, carrying them in his coal bag and give them out to children. Fire, however, became his doom. On one winter, when a strong windstorm convinced everyone to stay home, this kind and strong man was returning home. He did not make it. When he saw burning house and children trapped inside, he had to help them After carrying all the children to safety, building collapsed and buried him in ruble. At that time fairy returned to him, that fairy who once saved him as a baby. This time she gave him eternal life, so he could continue bringing joy, at least once a year. He is followed by elves clad in red called Prakagorri. Same elves that were there when fairy saved Olentzero all that time ago. This is all for version number two, the more modern one.

 

Pedagogical addendum:

Last of the Pyrenese giants, brute with a tendency to overeat and drinking alcoholic beverages, roams the countryside wielding sickle, that he used to freely cut through throats of people that were not fasting before Christmas. Parents use this fact to scare children when they stay up too long and do not want to go to bed. In streets of Ares there is a masker with a sickle, in Berastegi parents add to this legend by throwing a sickle down the chimney.

3.1.2020 (23.12.2018)


Kudibal

Sources describe him as a big hairy man, little devil with breath stronger than a windstorm or a cow-like two-legged creature.You can choose one. This not so well-known Czech boggart was also called kunibal, however, what was always the same was his occupation. Plucking of fowl feathers for making feather-bed and pillows was prohibited on certain days (mostly Saturdays, but somewhere even Thursdays) and he was making sure that this law is not broken. When some overly active woman worked on these days, kudibal rushed into the room, blew away feathers, sometimes even sang a song and then left. With advances of pillow-making technology, he disappeared completely.

8.1.2020 (17.8. 2003)


Skalní muž, Skalní duch and Skalník

Three different Czech beings. First one, Skalní muž (Rock Man) lives in a rock near Železný Brod (Eisenbrod). He leaves his den every evening, taking a form of black dog. Returns back after walking itself. The real appearance of this poor demon (at least in relation to other similar) can be seen only on St. Peter and Paul day. Skalní muž accepts visitors around lunch time.You have to only knock three times.

 

In comparison, Skalní duch (Rock Ghost) is more dangerous creature. Workers in a quarry are very familiar with him. When they heard sounds of running horses or windstorm, it was certain that there would be trouble.

 

Skalník (Rocky) takes form of a three-headed firebreathing raven.He lives on a hill known as Škarmaň near Domažlice, but can be also sean in the Giant Mountains, where he likes to lead drunk people celebrating New Years Eve at the to top of the hill and then pushing them to their deaths.

Other Skalníks can be found at the castle Svojanov, which is filled by supernatural creatures. There are six of them, souls of six masons who built secret passage from the castle and according to conspiracy rules then they were killed after finishing their job.

21.1.2020 (26. 10. 2003)


Kikomora

Kikimora

She has the word "mare" in her name, and it is seen as one in her area of origin – eastern Slavic countries. Kikimora (shishimora) is the first suspect people look at when someone has burdensome dreams and respiratory problems while sleeping. It is easy because she is a household creature; no one is saying that homesteaders have to always work fairly and for the minimum wage. As we know, some of them added in their contract concern of a master's soul; others just misbehave because they want too, and others, like kikimora, just have bad nature. Or reputation.

As partner of Domovoi (who usually gives good impression, however, both of them can cause a lot of damage on the yard, plucking feathers of poor hens, if the poultry is not guarded by their own protector, kuryniy bog) Kikimora used to be dark side of homestead force, the side which educates by punishing. Later she started merging with her partner, which happens to creatures who are in the same field for a long time. But Domovoi’s wife usually is domavitchka, who is living under the floor and showing herself only when she is sought by stray children, or lives peaceful life of an old bachelor. Let's leave it to imps to organize their own personal lives as they wish.

Kikimoras originate either from forests — these are moving to Domovoi under the roof, or from swamps, these choose Lesoviks (spirits of woods) as their partners. The first group (on which we have more information, so we will just leave swamps partners of forest demons) live behind the oven, in the corner on the right from the door or in the cellar. Their presence can be known by the sounds they make – but they usually sound like sneaking mice. However, it is not good if you hear one – they herald misfortune. Even worse is to see them spinning on the bench – that means certain death for the observer. Spinning, as one of the jobs, characteristics to women, is connected to this demon who takes the form of old countrywoman with loose hair. It is important to secure your piece of work with a sign of the cross after dusk. If you do not do so, it will be all knotted in the morning. Same works for embroidering. Dirty dishes left behind can turn into broken shards. Kikimora does not do work for people, she just wants to make sure the work is done. This is what she does at nights all the year, except near Novogorod, when she shows herself only around Christmas.

 

Kikimora by Ivan Jakovlevič Bilibin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

6.2.2020 (29.5.2016)


 

 

 

 

"Things just happen. What the hell."
Didaktylos*
* Terry Pratchett. Hogfather

 

Welcome to my world. For the longest time I couldn’t think of right name for this place, so I left it without one. Amongst things you can find here are attempts of science fiction and fantasy stories, my collection of gods, bogeymen and monsters and also articles about things that had me interested, be it for a while or for years. (There is more of this, sadly not in English but in Czech, on www.fext.cz)

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