Monster Monday: Vila

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Vila.

Miloš, Marko and the Vila by Paja Jovanović
Miloš, Marko and the Vila by Paja Jovanović

The Vila is a fairy-like spirit in Slavic folklore. Vilas are associated with mountains, hills, and high mounds. They are said to be able to cause violent storms and winds strong enough to lift a house in the air. They appear as beautiful maidens and may wear gowns of a variety of colors, often blue, green, or white.

Vilas are jealous and capricious beings. They can be dangerous and harmful and will kill a person who defies them. It is said to be bad luck to trod upon the places where they dance. They also lure men away to dance with them, a situation that does not always end well for the man as they often dance the man to death.

But they can be helpful as well. They have healing powers and can see into the future, and sometimes offerings of cakes, fruits, vegetables, and flowers are left for them at their sacred places in order to gain their favor.

Vilas figure prominently in the epic poetry of Croatia and Serbia.


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