Lately, I’ve been writing about my adventures in Russian folklore, particularly with Linda Ivanits’ Russian Folk Belief.

One of the most interesting creatures in the book is the Domovoi. The Domovoi are a bit like the house elves in Harry Potter but much more serious. Sometimes, they are believed to be an elderly and deceased relative. (One of the names that they sometimes go by is “grandfather.”) Though they occasionally help out around the place, Domovoi are more like household guardians or fiddly managers with opinions on everything from the behavior of the residents of the household to the color of the horses in the stable.

They’re cranky, but, still, I find Ivanits’ description of these spirits delightful:

If angered by his family’s sloppy management, abusive language, or neglect of him, the spirit would cause the walls of the house to creak, bang pots, tangle needlework, spread manure on the door, and turn everything upside down in the yard.

Okay, so spreading manure on the door isn’t really delightful, but as an over-imaginative child who spent her childhood in a creaky house, I would have much preferred to think that I was just listening to grandpa tapping the walls passive-aggressively than listening to the house settle. At least then I could have asked him to shut up and let me sleep.


While I was looking for a picture to put at the top of the page (Thanks, University of Pittsburgh!), I stumbled on this fantastic (and hilarious) post about Domovoi on Woman. Legend. Blog