La Gazette: Historical News Today – 1631

Esteemed Readers, we go on with the historical news. Here are some other events happened in Europe during 1631:

Vienne April 10, 1631: ‘Yesterday Baron Hegenmiller was sent as an Ambassador to the Duke of Saxe. Any day now we are expecting to receive here another celebre visitor from Poland. Germany has never been more perplexed. The city Magistrate obliges us to prepare some provisions foe a year ahead. For that we are shorter of money than of barns & our desire to fill them. We hope that God will help us. That’s why we make 40-hours prayer more often & have doubled the number of processions.Due to that reason we have established peace with Italy. And according to those who write us (on the war’s topic) Spain has not won this war either. Mockers state that  on this occasion the Emperor was too sad to change his robes for garments of a stranger, which are, moreover, not in his style.’

Camp near Magdebourg (an important battle field of the year) 16 May, 1631: ‘Our siege is becoming disastrous & if the King of Sweden is late for at least 3 days, it will be too late, because we already stay in their trenches from where we mine their ramparts. They have not done anything remarkable since the sortie on the 9th of this month. That time they were bravely pushed back & moved to their lairs, lost 26 good men. A Major Sergeant & a Colonel were among them.’

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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Russian Mythology: B’aba Yag’a The Bony Leg



Baba Yaga is one of the most fascinating & complicated character in the Russian mythology. She is an active participant of most thriller-sort tales, where humans to fulfill their mission must collaborate with strong spirits. Although I can hardly call her a spirit. Baba Yaga is a pretty serious personage. She might seem weird, scary, but she performs an important task: connects the world of living with the world of deads. Her aspect, her house & a way of living are attributes pointing to the fact that she is alike god Pluto but in a female body. Baba Yaga means a complete transformation & she helps the hero to pass all the necessary steps to reach it.

She is usually depicted as an old, often ugly woman with a hooked nose, almost toothless, hunchbacked, lame or with a bony leg. She has a bad sight, but able to feel a human presence. As a rule meeting a hero she says: “I feel the human spirit.” She combines functions of a witch, queen of the forest & animals. She is an almighty old lady, who has some supernatural powers & keeps the balance between two worlds.

Her magical attributes are a broom, a mortar she flies into, a turning & a chicken-legged hut where she lives. There are some tales, mostly too dark ones, which also add a fence made from lightening skulls around her dwelling. I guess that it symbolizes her connection with the world of deads. In Russian the name of her house sounds “izb’ushka na k’uriij n’ogkah” and unlike many folklorists linking the notion “kurij” with “kuritsa” (chicken), I suppose that there might be other varians of this idea. For example, the Scottish Gaelic gives us peculiar sound correlations cùbhraidh (ku:ri) (sweet, fragrant); cuir (kur’) (put, send; sow, plant). My own supposition is that Baba Yaga might burn fragrant plants around her hut or simple grow them. They might be medicine plants, as she is a known herbalist. Perhaps, her original dwelling was a hut on piles, turned afterwards into chicken legs.

The hero is never afraid of Baba Yaga. On the contrary, before the mission, he comes to her for advice, to learn the future & to obtain some powers or weapons. Baba Yaga always welcomes him well. She prepares b’anya (the Russian sauna), washes him, then gives a festive meal. In some tales, to get this VIP service, the hero must prove he is worthy of it. Baba Yaga might make him scary by saying that she will bake him in the oven or simply make a quarrel. When the hero has proved his serious intetions, she receives him as a guest & learns how to fight the evil.

Speaking from the point of view of the modern reality, Baba Yaga demonstrates us clearly that wise women will save our sinful world…and men into it.

Maria KethuProfumo

More about Yaga in wikipedia: Baba Yaga

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Minor Water Spirits of the Russian Mythology

Keeping up with the Russian spirits, I’d like to focus on some water ones as I find them more peculiar than the rest. Modern sources represent water as danger, that’s why water spirits are comprehended as ones bringing evil & damage to humans. Let this point of view be…It might be also connected with the fact that too few humans could swim that time.

So, Vodyan’oj, the Russian Neptune, is usually surrounded with Rus’alki (the Russian mermaids) or Vodyan’itsi (the Russian Naiads).  All of these female creatures might appear in any water source, including wells or artificial ponds. Most beliefs tell about Rus’alki & Vodyan’itsi living in dark forest springs or in bogs, places forbidden to be visited by humans. I have always been attracted with mermaid real existing. After having gathered some proves from various centuries, I wonder why they have become mythological characters. Yet in many Russian regions, people face them daily. A true mermaid is indeed half a human & half a fish, she might have a long hair but she is very ugly! They make some special sounds to attract their victim. I suppose their vibrations make you sleepy or too relaxed for them might grab you. In some cases they manage to draw you under the water, but if you begin speaking with them, they disappear. So, just be attentive if you meet one while fishing 🙂

It was also believed that in ba’nyas (Russian saunas) lived the water spirit named B’annik. He might do various evil things: to scare you while washing, throw stones from the oven or even to raw. He always washed after all the humans at night accompanied with demons, L’eshijs, mermaids & other minor spirits. To please Bannik people left a broom, a bar of soap & some water in a bathing barrel. Besides it was forbidden to build a house on the sauna’s place. This area was considered to be cursed.

Happy bath time! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Source: The Dictionary of the Slavic Mythology Mudrova I.A.

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Christian Fairy-Tale: The Sun Made by God’s Will

Esteemed Readers,

On the eve of the Orthodox Easter I would like to present you a Christian folk-tale telling about the resurrection. The late Russian folklore abounds in curious Bible tales. This story is about the Sun. What amazes me most is the poetic style blended with the Bible spirit. I hope you will enjoy it:

       THE Sun is thirty times the size it appears : looks very small because it is very high up from the earth. The Sun has an apparel and a crown which would befit a Tsar, and fifteen thousands of angels of the Lord accompany him and deck him every day. And when the Sun wanes to the West, then the angels strip off from him that garb and crown which would befit a Tsar, and lay it on the throne of the Lord.

    Three angels remain with the Sun and make him ready, and God has consigned one hundred angels to enrobe the Sun in an apparel and a crown meet for a Tsar. And when the Sun arises from the East crossing to the West, then fiery phoenixes and the nightingale of Paradise fly in front of the Sun, but first wet their wings in the waters of the ocean and asperse with their wings the Sun that he may not sear them with his golden rays. But from the fire of the Sun the feathers even of these birds are consumed, because they are scorched away. And they again bathe in the ocean and are renewed.

  For this reason the cock is a prophet, and it has under its wings a white feather belonging to the other birds. And when the Sun wanes to the West, then the cock’s feathers warp. But when the Lord’s angels take the dress and the crown from the throne of the Lord, the cock awakens, lifts up his voice, flutters with his wings, the first time to announce the resurrection to the world and to tell the angels of the law ; then to say :” O Christ, Giver of Light, look down on us and bestow on the world Thy light”; and the third time to sing : “Christ is the Life and accomplishes all things.” And thus the cock sings to the light, magnifies its Creator, and announces joy to the just. Amen.

Happy Orthodox Easter! Hristos Voskres!

Maria KethuProfumo

Here is the full text: Russian Folk Tale 5

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Happy Easter! Buona Pasqua! Bonnes Pasques! Boa Pascoa!

Esteemed Readers,

happy Easter! May this enchanting piece by M.- A. Cherpantier add some baroque spirit in your celebration!

Hristos Voskres!

(Exclamation we say for the Orthodox Easter which is coming next week.)

Maria KethuProfumo

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Russian Mythology: Spirits

As the Easter day means spring & nature awakening as well, let’s review Russian Pagan spirits, which are believed to have participated in every day life.

L’eshij – the spirit of forest. He is considered to be the main of his kind, his wife is named Leshìha & children are Leshak’i.  He protects forests & hunting. Ancient people believed that if Leshi was in a good spirit he might help them, if not he might be the reason why they got lost in forests. Thunderstorms were believed to be quarrels between Leshij &  his wife.

Vodyan’oj – the spirit of water. He is alike Neptune in the Roman mythology, however mostly he protects rivers, lakes & ponds. The modern interpretations present Vodyanoj as evil, however, I doubt about it. They say he makes people drown, scares & causes various incidents. He sleeps during the winter, awakes in spring when the ice is melted & begins to behave disgracefully, as he is hungry & angry as a bear.

Domov’oj – the home spirit. He is alike Juno in the Roman mythology no matter he is male. As a rule Domovoj is kind, he protects the dwellings, helps his masters. He likes to behold the house arranged & to have sweets & bakery in his own corner somewhere in the kitchen. If these demands are not fulfiled, he knows to turn the daily routine in a chaos, makes his masters poor & ill. If they refuse to comprehend his alarms, he might even burn the house.

Happy Easter, Esteemed Readers! I hope that your Domovoj has prepared for you plenty of wonderful surprises!

Maria KethuProfumo

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Louis XIV Asks Riddles IV

Esteemed Readers, here is another wonderful & mysterious thriller-enigma for you. 🙂 To keep the spirit of latest posts. It is less allegoric than previous ones, so if you ponder on, you will see some hints inside. Good luck!

‘I dwell in forests as well as in animals & old houses are alike best palaces for me. And if there are Princes & Kings there, they are often curious to make me appear. Grand Seigneurs are fond of me, craftsmen like me, my answers are loved by courtiers. I stay more in the country than in the town. I stay simultaneously in Rome & in Paris, admiring, however, something weird.’

REPLY to the Riddle posted on March 20, 2019: LEMON TREE

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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