Monster Monday: Sirin

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 Sirin.

Sirin, Nineteenth-century Russian print
Sirin, Nineteenth-century Russian print

In Russian folklore, a Sirin is a creature with the head and chest of a woman and the body of a bird. She is said to live in the East near the location of the Garden of Eden. In general, she represents happiness and joy and sings songs about the saints. However, it is generally considered unlucky to hear her sing, because like her Greek counterparts, the Sirens, any man who hears her will immediately leave whatever he is doing, forget everything, and happily follow her until he dies with a blissful smile on his face. Therefore, people would try to save themselves by firing cannons or guns, ringing bells, or making other loud noises to scare her away.

In some stories, however, the Sirin’s songs foretell future happiness, and only very happy people can hear her song. In art, she is often depicted as sitting in the Tree of Life in Eden.



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