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Russian Fairy Tales


The Russian Bathhouse (a form of steam sauna) is one of the most important places in Russia, it’s the place where women give birth, the place where women are purified before their wedding, and where important divinations are performed. In many ways the bath house is one of the most sacred places in ancient Russian beliefs. No Christian Images were allowed in the bathhouse for they might offend the deity/fairy like creature which resided within it, or the spirits and fairies of the forest which they invited to share a bath with them. The Bannik is the spirit of this bathhouse. The bannik was a diviner who would tell people if their plans would turn out well or bad. To receive the bannik’s advice one stood with their bottom or back facing the open bathhouse. If the bannik stroked a person gently then they would know things looked good for them, but if the bunnik saw danger or problems they would pinch or claw a person. Bunniks were also protective spirits, purifying and protecting a person from illness and evil spirits In one story a girl runs into a bathhouse and calls for the “grandfather” bunnik to protect her from the vampires which are chasing her. The bunnik jumps out and wrestles the vampires until dawn when the vampires become corpses once more.
At the same time the bunnik can be dangerous, smothering or even flaying the skin from those who don’t respect them.