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Folklore Thursday August round-up

You know what, in the wake of all the awful things happening in the world at the moment (and my own enormous anxiety!), some of these beasties aren't looking so bad!

#FolkloreThursday continues with this round up of August's collection of creatures, beliefs and traditions from British and Slavic folklore. Why British and Slavic? Because that's the folklore I mainly dipped into in the first book in Seven Wherewithal Way.

Poleviks are one of my favourite (rather absurd) nature guardian spirits from Slavic folklore. In Russia they are the spirit of fields, plains and noontime, whose skin and hair mirror the soil and vegetation of the fields, and whose height grows and shrinks with the crops. They can be benevolent or evil, often leading peasants astray, and strangling or smothering lazy or drunk workers sleeping in the fields. But a happy polevik will aid with the harvest, and crops will always be successful.

Warning, though - the poleviks in Seven Wherewithal Way are the creepy type!

Churn Milk Peg is another nature guardian spirit, this time from the folklore of Yorkshire, England. Her job is to guard the unripe nuts (in their pulpy state they are called 'churn milk') from children who might try to gather them (and give themselves a bellyache). There are a number of nature spirits just like Peg, whose job is to prevent natural food resources being eaten by mischievous children. She has a goblin counterpart called Melsh Dick. If children still try to eat the nuts after they have been warned, these spirits will abduct them!

In Wherewithal, I made Peg one of the house's gardeners. Her fondness for her pipe remains!

The Leshy is a prominent figure in Slavic folklore, a tree spirit who protects and defends the animals and trees of the forest. He is seldom seen, but often heard whistling, laughing, or singing among the trees and marshes. Although fond of playing tricks on humans, he is mostly benevolent, or indifferent towards them. Descriptions of the Leshy vary, and he is also a shape-shifter, but it is generally agreed he is a beautiful mix of tree and man. This delighted me, as I have always loved the Ents from LOTR, and couldn't wait to create my own version!

And as for sacred trees, I have written a whole other post about some of my favourite tree beliefs and superstitions in folklore. You can read it here.

You will find all these creatures, and more, in Seven Wherewithal Way, out September 28 with Affirm Press.


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