A bit on fairies🧚🏻♀️ 🧚🏻♂️
Fairies are a kind of demon in Slavic lore. They may have a surreal or unnatural and odd appearance. They may have long hair or fur, the hooves of a goat, the wings of a hummingbird, and beak of a duck. They can also look beautiful and human-like. Their souls might sprout from trees or bushes, forming with leaves and blossoms. Others might form in the underworld and slither up through the ground, feeding on plant roots, while growing their limbs and wings. Fairies are thought to be especially fond of the moon, as they often like to dance at night on riverbanks beneath her glow.
Some guard forests and rivers, mountains and streams and require payment if you need to pass through or drink the water. Some folk customs urge you to leave a small token, like a coin or ribbon, next to a stream so the fairies don’t wish ill upon you. Others act as prophets, telling the future to weary travelers whether they wish to hear it or not, and others are life-long guardians to new born babies who they choose to watch over.
A more sinister fairy or spirit might swap a fairy child for a human child. The “human” child is referred to as a changeling. The concept of the changeling was common in medieval literature and was used to explain developmental disabilities or disorders in children. The Polish Mamuna or Boginki spirit would swap babies in the cradle. The ones she left were noticeably different with an abnormally large abdomen, a small or very large head, furry body, a humpback, thin arms, and long claws on its fingers. In order for a mother to keep her child from being kidnapped/swapped by the Mamuna, she would tie a red ribbon around the baby’s wrist, place a red hat on its head, and keep it out of the moonlight.
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