Monster Monday: Ala

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 Ala.

Francois-Louis-Joseph Watteau, The Storm
Francois-Louis-Joseph Watteau, The Storm

An ala is a female weather demon in Balkan folklore. The ala usually appears as a giant dragon in the storm clouds and destroys crops with heavy wind, rain, and hail. In many stories, an ala can also take the milk from cows and sheep.

An ala can also take the form of a human when she is not causing storms. In these stories, her house is in the clouds or in lake or high in the mountains or some other remote place. A person meeting an ala in her human form must not remark about anything unusual in her house. If the person does, the ala will punish them, usually by eating them. If the person treats the ala as a normal human, the ala will reward them.

In some stories, an ala can be defeated by a good dragon. In others a giant eagle fights the ala, and in still others, a saint must confront the ala. There are also many magical spells that can be used at the first sign of a coming storm.



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