maiden-hair

Samodiva

Samodivas are woodland fairies found in South and West-Slavic folklore and mythology. Samodivas are commonly depicted as ethereal maidens with long loose hair, sometimes also with wings. They are usually dressed in free-flowing gowns, their garments decorated with feathers by means of which they can fly like birds. Samodivas are most often described as being blonde, tall and slender women with pale, glowing skin and fiery eyes. Samodivas are believed to be very beautiful women with an affinity to fire. They have the power to bring about drought, burn a farmer’s crops, or make cattle die of high fever. It is said that, when angered, a Samodiva would change her appearance and turn into a monstrous bird, capable of flinging fire at her enemies. They are usually hostile and dangerous to people. Men who gaze upon a Samodiva fall instantly in love (or at least in lust), and women go so far as to take their own lives at the sight of such beauty. Sometimes a Samodiva would seduce a man, commonly a shepherd or a trespasser in her forest, and take him as her lover. However, in doing so, she would take all of his life energy, his essence. The man would then become obsessed with the Samodiva and chase her relentlessly, unable to think about anything else (including his own nourishment). The Samodiva, fuelled by the energy stolen from her admirer, would then proceed to torture the man until he dies of exhaustion. Another important aspect of the myths surrounding samodivas is their dance. Neverending and beginning at midnight to finish at dawn, their dance symbolized the raw, and often harmful to the unprepared, energy of both nature and the supernatural world. Accompanied and following only the rhythm of the wind and their own singing, their dance was said to have been often witnessed by lost or late travellers, some of them choosing to join it, seduced by the beauty of their song and visage, only to die of exhaustion at dawn, when the samodivas finally disappeared. Much like the Vila in Slavic folklore, a Samodiva’s power is believed to come mostly from her long (usually blond) hair. A samodiva would sometimes give a small portion of it to her lover to strengthen her control over him via its magical effects. However, if her hair is damaged in some way, she will either disappear entirely or be stripped of her powers and beauty. In Slavic folklore, a Samodiva can blind every person who sets eyes upon her. Whether or not the act of blinding is metaphorical (falling in love with the Samodiva) or a curse that has an actual physical manifestation is not known. In Bulgarian folklore, a Samodiva’s close connection to the forest makes her knowledgeable about magical herbs and cures for all illnesses. It is said that if a person managed to eavesdrop on a gathering of Samodivas he could also gain knowledge of these remedies. In many stories this is exactly what the hero is forced to do to save a loved one, as a Samodiva would never share her secrets willingly. Balkan mythology holds that samodivas were actually the daughters of Lamia. This, combined with their mostly nocturnal nature, leads to them being considered more or less negative, or at best neutral in their nature.

Passengers, please refrain from moving about the cabin and/or going absolutely wild until we reach cruising altitude. We thank you for your cooperation – and for flying Kumo!

(“Kumo” can mean either spider or cloud, so I thought the pun worked ^^)

Pilot Chrollo with stewardesses Pakunoda and Shizuku, as requested by qinyo