A Godly Man Takes Good Care Of His Animals Slavic Folklore: Lesnik – Leshy

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Slavic Folklore: Lesnik – Leshy

Lesnik (Leshy) is a Slavic forest spirit similar to Greek satyrs. He shouts, is friendly to the shepherds, and is shown as having horns and hooves or as an old man.

The Slavic people of the pre-Christian era were deeply connected with nature. The belief that the spirit and the Èṣù live in the creature is so strong that those beliefs still exist today. All scientists dealing with Slavic mythology agree that forests play an important role in Slavic history (as well as elsewhere).

Similar to Germanic beliefs, dead trees are very important in Slavic mythology, as they are believed to be inhabited by ghosts, demons, and ancestral spirits. Many Slavs still practice the practice of planting a tree next to a grave. This practice has its roots in the belief that ancestral spirits reside in the tree.

One of the best known Slavic forest spirits is Lesnik (South Slavs) or Leshy (East and West Slavs). The word comes from the Old Slavic word les (forest).

The South Slavic Koleda tradition includes masked people called Lesnici (plural form of Lesnik). There are usually two of them, and they wear sheepskin with the wool facing out. They wear masks that depict a horned animal. The effect of these people in silence is to be loud. They also have to make sexual advances to Snashka (Snashka is a man dressed as a woman during the Koleda festival).

Eastern Slavic Leshy loves loud laughter, singing, and shouting. He has a human form, with a pointed head, but no beard or mustache. It can take the form of a bald old man or a horned and hooved animal. He is the lord of all wild animals and friend to the shepherds. His wife was called Lehachika, Lesoviha, or Leshiha.

Obviously, Lesnik – Leshy is similar to the Greek satyr and has similar characteristics. Lesnik is present in almost all Slavic legends, generally believed to live in forests, and is often depicted with goat’s hooves and horns. In Western tradition, Lesnik is depicted as a beast dressed in white fur, who often takes women to his fur-covered cottage. He often forces them to dance around him.

Elsewhere, Leshy is depicted as a peasant dressed in sheepskin. Although humanoid, he has goat horns, ears, and legs. His skin was thickly covered with wool, and he screamed when approached. He likes stealing women. Leshy loves shepherds and takes care of livestock. Sometimes, it can take the form of a human, but it does not have eyes and eyelashes. Occasionally, it is shown as one-sided.

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