Monday, December 28, 2009

Day XXVIII - Vodyanoi

Scaly grandfather,
Algae hangs from his beard,
Spirit of water.

A mucky water-spirit of Slavic mythology, the Vodyanoi is a merman-like creature with webbed fingers, black scaly skin and a fish tail. Found floating on half-sunken logs and described as a naked old man with a bedraggled green beard, the Vodyanoi is respected in Eastern Europe as a supernatural 'grandfather' who should be appeased lest he get angry and start smashing up water mills or start drowning things. In Czech and Slovak tradition - where the figure is known as Vodník - fishermen drop tobacco as tribute in hope of getting a good catch and not being grabbed and enslaved as underwater servants. The grubby geriatric gill-man of Eastern European legend strikes me as being pretty groovy in all his web-fingered, watery glory.

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