As stated above, Moss People (women) are sometimes referred to as Wood Wives. Included are descriptions of old forests; forest customs, temples and sacred groves; mythical forest creatures such as witches, fairies, demons, wood spirits, the "wild huntsman," and wood nymphs. From the early Middle Ages up into the early 20th century, for many folk living in the rural countrysides of Europe the wild aspect of nature was still untamed. If one of their saplings is carelessly crushed underfoot, however, they will chase the offender out of the forest! Also several sacred writings of India refer to forests and their power. Trees marked with a cross offered a safe haven where the Wood Wives could scurry inside and ride out the storm. It was as if one stood amid the inhabitants of another world.”. — Outlook. In Germanic and Celtic mythology, the Wild Hunt would occur during Yuletide. The nymphs from ancient Greek myths can be considered as fairies and they existed as early as the time of Homer writing the Iliad and the Odyssey. Written by A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com Staff Writer, Copyright © AncientPages.com This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of AncientPages.com, The Forest in Folklore and Mythology by Alexander Porteous. In appearance, the Moss People are typically short in stature and appear elderly; but this does not imply frailty, rather an image of aged wisdom. Travelers are warned to stay close to the path for the Leshy may seek vengeance by leading them deeper and deeper into the wood only to abandon them and disappear laughing! The other give away is that if the Huldra is approached from behind, her body appears hollow! Bloomington, IN, USA: Indiana University Press, 2019. doi:10.2307/j.ctvs32scr. The fairies are believed to be descended from supernatural beings from another world who came to this Earth to begin their civilization again.  The significance of their encounters is often explained to the knights – particularly those searching for the Holy Grail – by hermits acting as wise old men – or women. Thank you for sharing :). But, he is always described with wild green hair and a beard. The Leshy and his kin fall into slumber when the leaves fall off the trees in autumn and do not reawaken until the new leaves bud in spring. Some stories have sorcerers and witches living somewhere in the depths of the forest. But, the average person interacted with the smaller, more local spirits who surrounded their home, land, and the wilds. I live in the forest in the Eastern US. In the vast, dark and deep forests of North America, an Elf called Mikamwes, was believed to frolic in the moonlight; in the meantime, the forests of Canada were ruled by fairies called Mamagwasewug. Carolyn Emerick (author) on January 24, 2015: Pollyanna Jones from United Kingdom on January 24, 2015: Shared and voted up m'dear. The Leshy is a shape-shifter and he can miraculously appear as a mortal man to confuse and mislead trespassers in his glen. Voted up!  Guillaume de Palerme hid there with the princess he loved, and found a werewolf who would aid him. Sometimes the Wood Wife appears young and beautiful. The existence of supernatural fairy-like beings was believed by virtually everyone across the social strata until the birth of Science during the Age of Enlightenment. The Huldra is a mysterious creature. The mummy’s body disappeared in the 1950’s, so we might never know if it was a real fairy body or not. So lovely articles like this help to calm me. But, they also were home to fierce predators that once stalked the woods of Europe. The Leshy is a forest guardian spirit from Russian and neighboring Slavic regions, where he is known by such similar-sounding names as Lesovik, Leshak, etc. In parts of Germany, Frau Holle was believed to ride with Odin. In Iceland, the word for elves is Huldufólk.  Even in fairy tales, robbers may serve the roles of magical beings; in an Italian variant of Snow White, Bella Venezia, the heroine takes refuge not with dwarfs but with robbers. Woodlands provided sustenance, building materials, and medicinal plants. Whatever the actual causes may have been, these beings were very real to the people who saw them. Following J.R.R. This literally means "hidden people," but it is thought that there may be a connection to Holle/Holda/Huldra. This page was last edited on 28 September 2020, at 22:16. Mythlore 33, no. doi:10.2307/26815941. x. Michael Higgins from Michigan on December 06, 2014: A very nice hub, Carolyn! Toghether my mother and I traveled through Prague and spotted an artisian who carved beautiful puppets. In this celestial forest, there are flowers of light, the plant of immortality grew, and from this plant Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, extracted the divine ambrosia. Perhaps the earliest form of faeries can be found loosely in the mythical beings in Greek mythology, such as the nymphs, satyrs and sileni. Although the Leshy was a fearsome creature, he was not so harsh that he did not have a sweetheart.
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