Mythical Creatures Series
If a Leshy kidnaps someone, that person returns home with a vague manner, feeling disoriented, and often covered in moss. Be wary of these fairy kind when entering the woods.
What is it?
The Leshy, also known as Lesovik, Leshie, Leshiye, Lieschi, Lesiy) is a male forest spirit from Slavic mythology – some see them as belonging to the fairies. He protects wild animals, birds and forests. Mass migration of animals supposedly happens at a Leshy’s instruction.
If a Leshy crosses the path of a person in the woods, the person will get lost immediately. To find the way out, you have to turn your clothes inside out and wear shoes on opposite feet. Also if there is more than one Leshy who inhabits a forest, they will fight for territorial rights.
The Leshy seems to have a close bond with the wolf and has been known to keep the company of bears.
The Leshy is said to have the ability to shapeshift into any form, animal or plant. When he is in human form, he looks like a common peasant, except that his eyes glow and his shoes are on backwards. In some tales, he appears to visitors as a large talking mushroom. He can also vary in size, shrinking himself to the height of a blade of grass when moving through open fields, or growing to the size of the tallest trees when in the forest.
Leshies are terribly mischievous beings: they have horrible cries, and can imitate voices of people familiar to wanderers and lure them back to their caves, where the leshies will tickle them to death; they also remove signs from their posts. Leshies aren’t evil: although they enjoy misguiding humans and kidnapping young women, they are also known to keep grazing cattle from wandering too far into the forests and getting lost. Sometimes cow herders will make pacts with a leshy by handing him their crosses from around their necks and sharing communion with him after Christian church gatherings; these pacts are said to give the cowherds special powers.
The Leshy love offerings, such as bread and salt, but are just as happy with a cookie or candy left on a stump or log. Also when one enters the forest, they should utter a protective prayer.
He is not often seen, but if he is, he appears as a tall man, but he can change his size from that of a blade of grass to a very tall tree. He has hair and a beard made from living grass and vines, and is sometimes depicted with a tail, hooves, and horns. He has pale white skin that contrasts with his bright green eyes. A leshy has a close bond with the gray wolf, and is often seen in the company of bears as well. He is the Forest Lord and carries a club to express that he is the master of the wood. He has blue blood, which makes his cheeks the shade of blue. He has fiery green pop-out eyes. Legend describes him as having a red scard and his left shoe on his right foot. He also had no shadow. He was really big, but to hide from people in the forest he turned into dwarf-like creatures. (source: Myths and Legends)
Other legends have him as a small creature, weather loose-fitting fur.
Appearances in Culture (thousands more than what is listed below)
- The Wood Demon (1889) – four-act comedy by Anton Chekhov
- A benevolent leshy appears first as a peasant, and then as a gigantic demon-like creature in the comic book miniseries Hellboy: Darkness Calls by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo.
- In the fictional Shin’a'in culture of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books, they use the word leshy’a to refer to spirits or ghosts.
- A family of leshii appear in Josepha Sherman’s 1989 novel The Shining Falcon.
- In Sierra’s 1993 role-playing game Quest for Glory IV, the Hero encounters a leshy in the forest who offers game clues as rewards for solving riddles.
- In the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, the leshy is a monster that appears as a giant, vaguely humanoid and mobile tree.
- In the fifth-season episode “Fallen Idols” of CW television series Supernatural, Leshii is portrayed as an eastern-European forest demi-god that feeds on people who are fans of the form he takes, and as such he takes the forms of Gandhi, James Dean, Abraham Lincoln, and Paris Hilton.
- Leshy is a song by Russell Hibbs and Daevid Allen (it appears an 2001 album called Nectans Glen).
- The corpse of a leshy is the object of a mission in the MMORPG City of Villains.
- The Leshy is described in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game terms in Dragon #119.
- In Linda Medley’s graphic novel Castle Waiting it is suggested that Pindar’s father was a leshy.
Did you know? There are also leshachikha/leszachka (wives of the leshak) and leshonky (children of the leszy).
Marchosias, Ningyo, Abatwa, Cait Sith, Anka, Huldra, iele, Manticore, Hantu Demon, Lich, Joan The Wad, Fomorian, Rakshasa, Hellhound, Sleipnir, Three-Legged Crow, Afanc, Tarasque, Echidna, Alkonost, Landvaettir, Hippocampus, Cockatrice, Shedu,Dryad, The Erlking, Oni, Rusalka, Salamande,Gulon, Krampus,Wendigo, Banshee, Will-O’-Wisp, Draugr, Tengu, Golem, Wadjet,Ordog, Grim Reaper