A Look at Russian Folklore, with Larisa Walk
Special Guest: Larisa Walk
Larisa Walk, author of paranormal romance and historical fiction, joins us today with an article about the Fae of Russia and a peek at her historical fantasy novel, A Handful of Earth. Enjoy.
by Larisa Walk
From ancient times and, in some cases, to this day, the Russians have believed that the world around them was populated by many spirits. Some of the spirits were similar to the creatures of the English and Irish fairyland; whereas many others were unique to Russia.
In English folklore, a brownie is a spirit that protects a person’s house and farm and even helps out with chores if the people who own the house please it. In Russia, on the other hand, there are several spirits that inhabit the homestead.
Domovoi – There is the domovoi whose domain is the house. He helps out with chores if he is happy, but woe to the people in the household if they upset the domovoi, because he will rattle pots and pans, howl in the walls and even strangle a person in her sleep.
Ovinnik – An ovinnik takes care of the threshing house where he looks after the proper handling and drying of the harvested wheat.
Dvorovoi – A dvorovoi rules over the yard and cares for the animals that live there.
Polevik – A polevik is in charge of the fields.
Bannik – Even the bathhouse has its spirit, the bannik.
There are also spirits of lakes, rivers, forests, swamps, and even a spirit of the midday sun.
There are many rules about keeping all these spirits happy and not causing mischief to the people. For example, if you want to please your domovoi, the house spirit, you set out a dish of milk or some bread and honey; you keep your house clean; and, if you are to move to another house, you invite the domovoi to come with you.
If someone in the household is about to die, the domovoi would appear to the inhabitants of the house looking like the person who would soon perish. The domovoi may also appear as a dog, a cat or another household animal, but his true form is that of an old man about 2 feet tall with a long beard and shaggy hair.
Russian fairy creatures are part of the legacy from pagan times when people believed in many gods and spirits. With the coming of Christianity the belief in spirits survived, though not without changes. It was thought that the nature and household spirits were once angels that had fallen from grace and were now stuck on Earth. They were considered to be “unclean powers”, though not necessarily demonic or completely evil.
About The Author
Larisa Walk is a writer of paranormal and historical fiction. Her historical fantasy novel, A Handful of Earth, includes some of the creatures from Russian fairyland described above.
Yaroslava is a princess without a throne. Her small city-state in the south of Russia has fallen to the Mongol Horde. Many believe that God Himself opened the gates of Hell to unleash the Mongol demons to punish people for their sins.
She must endure her new life as a slave if she is to free her people and herself. In captivity she is surrounded by many enemies: a fellow slave with an old grudge; a water spirit that wants to imprison her soul in its river; a jealous concubine that can harm with an evil eye.
Yaroslava must find courage to save her people and defeat her enemies in a handful of earth that absorbed the blood of her dying father.
Book Cover Credit:
copyright Larisa Walk, all rights reserved. Used with permission.