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Dyeduska Vodyanoy

by Micha F. Lindemans
The Russian 'Water-grandfather'. He is a powerful shapechanger and it is believed that he drowns those who swim at twelve o'clock, be it midnight or noon. He often marries drowned or disinherited girls, but he also has a liking for happily married women. Each time a woman is about to give birth to a child of his, he will go to the nearest village to request the services of a midwife, who will be handsomely rewarded in gold and silver.

The Watermaster can be recognized by his bald head, large belly, round cheeks and his green clothes. He wears a high, pointed hat made of reed. However, he also appears in the shape of a handsome young man or a well-known person from the village. He lives in rivers, pools and lakes, preferably close to a water-mill. He hides during the day as a trout or an old salmon, but during the night he emerges from the water to let his sea cows and sheep and horses graze on the meadows. Sometimes he can be seen sitting on the river bank combing his long, green hair and beard.

On the land he has little power, but in his natural element the water he is all-powerful. It is believed that he hibernates during the winter. When he awakens in spring he crushes the ice in the rivers and pushes large chunks up the river banks. He enjoys destroying mill-wheels, but when he is in a benign mood he guides the fish into the nets of the fishermen or warns against floods.

His daughters, pale and tall and dressed in green, torture the drowned. They like to sit on tree branches, rocking slightly, while singing beautiful songs.


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