Leshy leshen lesnik slavic mythology

Leshy - Leshen - Lesnik

Leshy or Leshen is a tutelary deity of the forests in Slavic mythology. Every forest has a Leshy who protects it and maintains the circle of life in it. He was a well-respected deity in times when people were in closer contact with the wild. Similar to a fairy, he is a temperamental being. His treatment of humans is dependent on their attitude towards his forest. Leshy shares many characteristics with Pan, Sylvan, and Faunus, including a nature partial to playing tricks on humans and anthropomorphic appearance.

Descriptions of Leshy vary depending on the region, but he is mostly depicted as an old man with long hair and beard that are sometimes green. Deer antlers crown the top of his head. He is dressed in fur and carries a wooden club in his hand. Sometimes he is described with goat legs, similar to Pan. In his forest, Leshy can be as tall as the trees, but he can also shrink to the size of the blade of grass. It was said that he makes a lot of noise when approaching, yelling and screaming all the way, but that he plays the flute beautifully. He can also take on human appearance, but there are ways to see through his disguise: he has no shadow and is missing an eye or eyelashes.

Leshy can be a lonely creature, accompanied only by wild animals, mostly bears or wolves. But according to some legends, he has a wife and children. He would take in the lost, cursed, or abandoned children, raising them as his own. Leshy is fond of shepherds and helps them guard the herd. Being the protector of both the domestic and wild animals, he is in charge of maintaining the balance between them. Although benevolent to humans, Leshy has a trickster nature. He is known to lead travelers astray and make them consume poisonous fungi. He would also abduct young women and make them dance in circles to his flute. 

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