Monster Monday: Kikimora

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 Kikimora.

Illustration of a kikimora by Ivan Bilibin (1934)
Illustration of a kikimora by Ivan Bilibin (1934)

In Slavic folklore a kikimora is a female house spirit, the counterpart to the male domovoi, but having a kikimora is not considered to be as fortunate. A kikimora appears as small, old, skinny woman with chicken legs and sometimes the beak of a chicken. She wears her wild hair down. She lives behind the stove or in the cellar, and once she is inside a house, she is almost impossible to get rid of.

Like the domovoi, she may help with the housework and tend the chickens, but care must be taken that she doesn’t steal the chicken eggs. If she becomes unhappy for some reason, she will break dishes and scream in the night, keeping the family from sleeping. She is also fond of bothering children and will tickle them, whistle, and whine at them in their sleep.They only way to appease her is to wash all the pots and pans in the house with fern tea.

She also comes out at night and spin flax, but the spun thread is for her own use, and if a member of the household sees the kikimora at the spinning wheel, that person will die.



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