Vodyany

Legendary freshwater Merbeing or Water HORSE of Eastern Europe.

Etymology: From the Slavonic voda, "water." Plural, Vodyaniye, Vodyanoi.

Variant names: Akkruva (Saami/Uralic), Autrimpas (Old Prussian), Bangputys (Lithuan ian), Ezerinis (Lithuanian), Juras mate (Latvian), Mavky, Upinis (Lithuanian), Vetehinen (Finnish), Vodni panny, Wut-ian uder (Mari/Uralic).

Physical description: In one form, a classic Merm aid with long hair. In other forms, a huge fish covered with moss or a winged tree trunk moving along the surface of the water. Some had paws, large toes, long horns, a tail, and burning red eyes.

Behavior: Said to follow sailors and drag them into the water.

Habitat: Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers— especially around mill dams.

Distribution: Russia; Latvia; Lithuania; Finland; Estonia; Poland.

Possible explanations: Some aspects are similar to both Merbeings and Freshwater Monsters.

Sources: Uno Holmberg [Harva], Finno-Ugric Mythology (Boston: Archaeological Institute of America, 1924); New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London: Hamlyn, 1968), p. 292; Marija Gimbutas, Die Balten (Munich, Germany: Herbig, 1983), p. 221.

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