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Russian Fairy Tales


A form of living dead which drains the life of humans by drinking their blood they can appear as a bloated rotting corpse or as a handsome person. In the fairy tale “The Soldier and the Vampire” the vampire befriends a soldier (who doesn’t realize what the vampire is) and they travel together for some time before going to a wedding were the vampire drains every one of their blood. The soldier attacks the vampire then and fights it until dawn when it falls down unable to move. The soldier then throws the vampire into a fire at which point all its ashes turn in spiders, rats and other similar creatures. In the story should even one of these vermin escape the vampire will be reborn from it. The vampire is a result of the many complex systems of belief about death which the Russian’s and the Slavic people in general hold. The Spirits of the dead and other similar demonic creatures or fairies were very important to the Russian peoples. In Russian belief it was believed that the soul stayed near its body, wondering around the world for a number of days before moving on to the afterlife. Further the belief that some beings held multiple souls was likely something they encountered from the Uralic and Altaic peoples who lived near or within many of the Russian provinces. This idea is seen in their belief that those babies born with teeth had two souls one of which would become a vampire owl on the person’s death.
During the time a soul remained on earth it could reinter the body of a dead person or even attack those who had wronged them in life in order to regain their life. Thus there are a number of dead creatures in Russian mythology which might be equated to vampires. In “The Fiend” a girl meets a nice and handsome boy who she eventually agrees to marry. After this however, she sees him in the graveyard devouring the corpse of a dead person. Realizing he’s been discovered he starts killing off her family. In “The Dead Princess” a boy sees a princess take off her head in order to comb her hair more easily. Seeing her do this causes her to die, in order to come back she has to kill the boy within the next few days, before her soul passes on.
Vampires could also come from not giving a person a proper burial. Purity was an important part of Russian belief systems and those spirits which were not purified would rise up to kill the living. The vampire is an unclean spirit, thus the reason they most often have a rotting body. In order to stay alive it needs blood. Further vampires also appear to be angry at the living that they were not purified properly and so must suffer with undeath.