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Mavka

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(Music: Люсі - Мало)

Mavka is a character in Slavic mythology. In Ukrainian and Polish folklore, these are forest spirits living in forests, reservoirs, caves and mountain pastures, usually described as «unclosed», they have a hole on their back with all internal organs are visible. The etymology of the word «мавка» most likely comes from the word «навь» - the personification of death in Slavic mythology, but there are other interpretations. Mavka has very small feet, the marks of which can be mistaken for children’s one. Sometimes it is believed that they are the size of a cat, which clearly refers to another, folk etymology of their name, associated with the sounds that cats make.

Creatures like Mavkas are found in almost all Slavic peoples, but the beliefs about Mavkas originally occupied a fairly small territory (the Carpathians). Since the image of mavka has been developing for a long time, at least two types can be distinguished. On the one hand, these are dangerous creatures that are inscribed in the system of folk beliefs as deceased unbaptized children or young women who died because of unhappy love, destructive and dangerous (comparable to rusalkas and mermaids), on the other - peculiar spirits of mountain forests, the appearance of which was associated with the awakening of nature from hibernation, an omen of a good harvest (comparable rather with ancient Greek nymphs and South Slavic vilas) 🌿

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K-naille's avatar

Disturbing. But fascinating, in a way. Love the bit of folk tale too.