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Mythology (Slavic)

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Shoshannah
1100027.  Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:25 am Reply with quote

Any mythology is a treasure-trove of magic, fascinating stories and quite interesting traditions. But how much do you know of Central and Eastern European myths? Slavic beliefs were just as fascinating, if not more, as the Greek ones. And the creatures that populated their stories deserve a whole library section.

A great example of one such creature is Mamuna. It was a demon, shaped a little like a human but incredibly ugly and evil, that would steal babies out of their cribs and replace them with her own spawn. Suddenly, a sweet, plump angel would become an ugly, angry, screaming child that would grow to become a lazy, dim-witted and mean adult. The one method of trying to force Mamuna into bringing back the stolen child was for the grieving parents to take the demon’s spawn outside, put it on a pile of dung and whip it with a switch. The child’s crying was supposed to get Mamuna’s attention, make her run back to stop the beating and bring the stolen child with her.

Gnieciuch (also known as Gniotek – both words derived from the root meaning: to squish or knead) was a small creature that lived in dark nooks of people’s houses, which would leave its hiding place at night, lured by the smell of digested alcohol. It would sit comfortably of the chest of the sleeping person, who was emanating the wondrous smell and simply enjoy it all night, pressing and squishing down on its victim. The poor person, who had just happened to have a little to drink the night before would wake up sore, tired and unable to work. Obviously, Gnieciuch was to blame.

Showing clearly what used to be considered an especially vile crime was the creature called Miernik (from the word: to measure). It was a spirit of a technician whose job, before death, had been to measure the land but who would falsify the results of his measurements in favour of rich landowners, harming the poor peasants. His spirit would wander the world, carrying a border stone and repeating the falsified numbers over and over again. Miernik wasn’t aggressive and sometimes would even help people by lighting their way in the dark. It was important to thank him and, if you were feeling particularly nice, you could even stop his punishment. If the demon showed you the stone it was carrying and asked what to do with it, you could say: Put it back where you found it. Those words would set him free.

Another fascinating example is the one of White People. Those were really tiny creatures, living in roadside puddles, waiting for someone to step in the water or for a cart to ride through it. When that happened, the creatures would climb up and hide in people’s clothing until the night-time which was when they would climb through people’s noses and mouths into their stomachs and cause disease. There were many ways of fighting sickness caused by the White People and one of them was to drill a hole in a tree, breathe into it and cork the it shut.


References: "Bestiariusz Słowiański" by Paweł Zych and Witold Vargas, BOSZ, 2012
"Mitologia Słowiańska" by Czesław Białczyński, Baran & Suszczyński, 1999

 
spursystarman
1218676.  Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:01 pm Reply with quote

Shoshannah wrote:
Any mythology is a treasure-trove of magic, fascinating stories and quite interesting traditions. But how much do you know of Central and Eastern European myths? Slavic beliefs were just as fascinating, if not more, as the Greek ones. And the creatures that populated their stories deserve a whole library section.

A great example of one such creature is Mamuna. It was a demon, shaped a little like a human but incredibly ugly and evil, that would steal babies out of their cribs and replace them with her own spawn. Suddenly, a sweet, plump angel would become an ugly, angry, screaming child that would grow to become a lazy, dim-witted and mean adult. The one method of trying to force Mamuna into bringing back the stolen child was for the grieving parents to take the demon’s spawn outside, put it on a pile of dung and whip it with a switch. The child’s crying was supposed to get Mamuna’s attention, make her run back to stop the beating and bring the stolen child with her.

Gnieciuch (also known as Gniotek – both words derived from the root meaning: to squish or knead) was a small creature that lived in dark nooks of people’s houses, which would leave its hiding place at night, lured by the smell of digested alcohol. It would sit comfortably of the chest of the sleeping person, who was emanating the wondrous smell and simply enjoy it all night, pressing and squishing down on its victim. The poor person, who had just happened to have a little to drink the night before would wake up sore, tired and unable to work. Obviously, Gnieciuch was to blame.

Showing clearly what used to be considered an especially vile crime was the creature called Miernik (from the word: to measure). It was a spirit of a technician whose job, before death, had been to measure the land but who would falsify the results of his measurements in favour of rich landowners, harming the poor peasants. His spirit would wander the world, carrying a border stone and repeating the falsified numbers over and over again. Miernik wasn’t aggressive and sometimes would even help people by lighting their way in the dark. It was important to thank him and, if you were feeling particularly nice, you could even stop his punishment. If the demon showed you the stone it was carrying and asked what to do with it, you could say: Put it back where you found it. Those words would set him free.

Another fascinating example is the one of White People. Those were really tiny creatures, living in roadside puddles, waiting for someone to step in the water or for a cart to ride through it. When that happened, the creatures would climb up and hide in people’s clothing until the night-time which was when they would climb through people’s noses and mouths into their stomachs and cause disease. There were many ways of fighting sickness caused by the White People and one of them was to drill a hole in a tree, breathe into it and cork the it shut.


References: "Bestiariusz Słowiański" by Paweł Zych and Witold Vargas, BOSZ, 2012
"Mitologia Słowiańska" by Czesław Białczyński, Baran & Suszczyński, 1999

I was very interested (should that be 'quite interested'?) in mythology as a child and came across this slavic creature called Bannik, which would, when your back was turned, scratch you horribly with his long, sharp claws. It scared the shit out of me for years!

 

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