Table of contents:
- When devils came to the widow and how it could have been avoided
- How an evil spirit pretended to be a deceased husband and what happened to her gifts in the morning
- Folk stories about a fiery snake that flies on a cloud from a dense forest and wags its tail
- Protection from evil spirits with the help of prayer and seeds, and why it was necessary to "gnaw lice"
In Russia, they were afraid of evil spirits and gave it a variety of nicknames: devil and demon, monk and saint-tributary. But the most unpleasant guest was the fiery serpent, which came to women and could take away their lives. It was believed that this evil spirits appeared after a loved one died, and at the same time the rite of remembrance was violated. However, most often the snake visited women who, after the loss of their husband, could not calm down and were constantly in anguish. If a widow tormented herself, cried incessantly, grieved, then with a high probability the so-called widow's serpent could become an uninvited guest in her house.
When devils came to the widow and how it could have been avoided
The peasants said that excessive longing for an ex-husband is a disease that easily leads to consumption, and then to a sad end. In order to protect herself, the widow had to commemorate the deceased spouse according to a certain schedule: this is the third, ninth and fortieth day, then after 6 months, and the last time after a year, on the anniversary. After that, parental Saturdays remained for commemoration.
Not everyone succeeded by an effort of will to forbid themselves to grieve and be sad, then they tried to distract the widow from what had happened. The methods were very tough: she was loaded with the most difficult work, given difficult instructions, in general, they did everything to stop her harassing herself. Of course, such measures have not always been effective. In peasant families, the morals were rather harsh, the widow's daughter-in-law was considered a parasite, sometimes they did not behave too affectionately with her. The circle closed, the woman plunged into the abyss of grief, and then the widow's serpent flew in.
How an evil spirit pretended to be a deceased husband and what happened to her gifts in the morning
So, the widow is inconsolable, what could happen to her next. The peasants said that the evil spirits choose just such a woman and visit her, pretending to be a deceased spouse. But not always, often the devil did not waste his strength to take the form of a man, but remained a fiery serpent, flying through the sky and making his way into the hut through the chimney. The most interesting thing is that only the widow saw the devil, and no one else. The others could only hear the whistle and see the sparks, which were said to fly from each tail swing.
Pretending to be a deceased, the demon made his way to the widow and began his insidious actions. He caressed the woman, whispered pleasant words to her, gave her sweets and candies. But everything ended very badly - in the morning, instead of gifts, a woman finds a bone or dung, and from the so-called weasels, there were disheveled or even cropped hair. Yes, very unpleasant.
To prevent this from happening, they tried to protect themselves from the snake, using the so-called ukhtovaya crosses - these were crosses made of a torch. The hut was generously showered with poppy seeds, it was believed that the snake could not stand and was afraid of them. If these measures did not help, then they called the nun, who was supposed to spend the night next to the widow, reading prayers and scaring away evil spirits.
Folk stories about a fiery snake that flies on a cloud from a dense forest and wags its tail
Sometimes, according to the stories of the peasants, the snake appeared before them as an incredibly large fireball with a tail, it could also be a brightly glowing sword or a rag of fire. They said that evil spirits clearly observe the arrival time - from midnight to one in the morning. This was convenient for preparing for an unpleasant date.
Unlike brownies, banniks and other domestic evil spirits, the snake lived in a dense forest, where it skillfully hid among thick trees, bushes and grass. When the right hour came, he flew out from there along with the clouds sweeping over the tops of the trees, showering everything around with bright fiery sparks and emitting an unpleasant whistle.
Even if he pretended to be deceased, that is, a man, he could not completely reincarnate. The widow had the opportunity to understand who was in front of her - it was necessary to carefully examine the "deceased": if they noticed a tail or a hoof, then this is a demon, from which it was necessary to be saved immediately. There was another way to figure out who it was - a beloved husband who heard the pleas of an inconsolable wife or an evil devil who wants to take his soul. If the so-called husband flatly refused to cross himself or sit near the icon, then it was probably a demon.
Protection from evil spirits with the help of prayer and seeds, and why it was necessary to "gnaw lice"
They said that the serpent was very cunning. Taking advantage of a woman's love for her spouse, he could pretend to be a man and get into trust. Sometimes it got to the point that the peasant woman began to cohabit with him. But all this could end badly: evil spirits were able to kill a woman, and in the most cruel way: strangle, drown in the river, set fire. I had to save myself, defend myself. The people suggested various methods that could help cope with this terrible problem.
The most effective has always been the cross and prayers. In addition to the nuns who were on duty at night with the widow, relatives and friends were also invited, with whom the woman prayed together at night. The hut was fumigated with incense, it was believed that the snake hates this smell and does not stick where it smells like that.
It was also said that the devil is very afraid of strange human behavior. For example, the following option was proposed: a woman had to go out into the yard at night, taking with her a lot of hemp seeds, sit on a bench and start treating herself to it. The serpent had to ask what a woman was doing on a dark night in the courtyard. To this it was necessary to answer something unintelligible, for example, "gnawing lice." Such an answer should have surprised and frightened the evil spirits, and so much so that they simply flew away.
But, of course, going to church, frequent prayers, confession and communion were considered the most effective. The devils were powerless against such pressure.
But the widows were in no hurry to marry just anyone. Especially if it was carrots and lumps, for which no one wanted to go.