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Vodyanitsy, swimmers and mavki: What did mermaids look like in Slavic mythology, why they should be feared and how to protect yourself from them
Vodyanitsy, swimmers and mavki: What did mermaids look like in Slavic mythology, why they should be feared and how to protect yourself from them
Such a meeting could not end well

Mavki, watercreepers, swimwear, sirens - all these are synonyms for the word mermaid. And according to popular beliefs, she looked different than many people imagine thanks to cartoons. Mermaids are evil, it is deadly to meet with them. According to popular beliefs, there are several ways that will help you stay alive if you still cannot avoid contact.

There are miracles: there the goblin wanders, the mermaid sits on the branches

Artist A. Vinogradova. Mermaid

Most often, people imagine a mermaid in the form of a beautiful girl with long hair and a fish tail covered with silvery scales. No wonder, since many people know about these creatures only from the famous fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen, and some have not read this book, but watched fabulous feature films and cartoons where the mermaid looks like this. In the beloved by many "Pirates of the Caribbean", mermaids are mesmerizing, splashing in the transparent sea water and luring sailors.

But it should be noted that it is the overseas mermaids that appear in this image. And what about the Slavic ones? The poems of Pushkin, where a mermaid sits on a tree, immediately come to mind. It turns out that Russian mermaids don't always live in water. According to legend, they are very fond of using trees near the water as their home, for example, a weeping willow. From Trinity until autumn, they live this way. As if ordinary girls lead round dances, sing and play, swing on the branches. But only at night, and during the day they disappear from sight, hiding in foliage or water.

It is believed that the word mermaid in Russia came from "Rusalii", which means memorial days among the ancient Slavs. There is one more theory: the word “channel” is the cornerstone, therefore you can meet these insidious creatures in the water. Maybe they are called that because they have luxurious blond hair? All assumptions have a right to exist.

In other countries, mermaids have other names: nymph and siren, devil and bobcat, bathing (in Belarusian), Mavka (in Ukrainian).

Dazzlingly beautiful or incredibly ugly?

Artist K. Makovsky, Mermaids, 1879

What do these mysterious creatures look like? In some legends, these are beautiful, admirable young girls with long hair and perfect bodies, with a wreath of beautiful flowers on their heads. According to other legends, everything is quite the opposite, and mermaids are terrible old women, with disheveled hair, a large belly, ugly claws, a humped back, and saggy breasts. In their hands they have a poker or a stick, with which they catch gape of passers-by.

But no matter what the mermaid looks like, in any case, she always belongs to the world of the dead. She is pale and transparent, her eyes look at one point or are simply closed, her hair is never braided and is always loose. Mermaids dress up in white clothes, it can be a shirt, a sundress and even a wedding dress. These are the dead, whose vital energy is not fully used, and therefore in some unknown way manifested itself after death, giving the mistress of the body the strongest supernatural power.

Met a mermaid? Run

Artist K. Vasiliev. Mermaid

What do folk legends say about mermaids? The easiest way to meet them is after Trinity. In the week following this holiday, they become active. An imprudent traveler who went out at this time to walk through the forest or a bather who decided to freshen up in a seemingly quiet river faced mortal dangers. The mermaid could tickle him to death, or simply strangle him, lure him into the water and drown him.The mermaids were careful about the choice of the victim, often they were former lovers who betrayed them during their lifetime. The revenge was brutal.

Love intrigues aside, the little mermaids loved to confuse fishing nets, overturn boats, even spoil millstones near mills. They stole yarn from women, linen, which was hung up for drying. They could also take away a baby left unattended.

In some regions, they believe that mermaids cannot do harm, they only scare a person, joke about him. Most often we are talking about beauties mermaids. As a result, the traveler receives aesthetic pleasure from the contemplation of a beautiful girl, which is spoiled by fright from the behavior of the beauty, her screams, threats or attempts to drown. Seeing a mermaid, a person becomes lethargic, sickly, insomnia overcomes him.

What if you fell in love with a mermaid? There are legends in which it happens that way. The man went to the underwater kingdom for his beloved, and lived there in full prosperity, treated kindly by his new wife. Only one "but": it was already impossible to go back. But most beliefs consider mermaids to be dangerous spirits, which should not be met in any case.

Cross, wormwood and shirt sleeves

Artist S. Solomko. Mermaid and Faun

There are no stories in which mermaids would help people in ancient legends. Therefore, it was necessary to learn how to defend against this evil. For example, if she called out by name, in no case should you respond. They are afraid of the mermaids of the cross, they cannot cross the circle drawn on the ground and shaded with the banner of the cross.

They said that mermaids do not attack a group of people, so it is better to swim and walk in the forest with a company. If you read the folklorist S. Maksimov, then you can find a description of a way to help protect yourself from mermaids. This is a common wormwood. If a trip to the forest was planned, then this plant had to be taken with you. The mermaid could ask the question, what is the traveler carrying, parsley or wormwood? The answer had to be: "Wormwood". Then with a cry "Hide under the tyn!" the little mermaid ran away. But with the word "parsley" it is completely different: with the words "Oh you, my darling" the mermaid will tickle to death.

It was believed that these creatures hate iron. The needle, taken with him and stuck into the mermaid, could help and save from death. After Trinity, during the Russian week, the peasants left gifts for the mermaids - food, canvases and clothes. This was supposed to induce their location and prevent the attack.

Folk omens say that it was impossible to sweep the floor, wash, smear the stove, in general, do any work that could stain the mermaid. It was also impossible to engage in sewing and weaving, so as not to sew evil spirits to clothes. If the meeting with the mermaid happened, then it was necessary not to get lost, but to throw it with any cloth - a scarf, a scarf, and if they are not there, then tear off the sleeve, throw it and quickly run away.

Yes, there are many prescriptions, and all of them are aimed at protecting your home, your world from the unknown, alien, incomprehensible, terrible.

Continuing the topic - 6 places on Earth where you can actually see mermaids.

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