Sirin is a mythological creature of
Russian legends, with the head and chest of a beautiful woman and the body of a bird (usually an owl). According to the myth, they lived "in Indian lands" near Eden or around the EuphratesRiver.
These half-women half-birds are loosely based on the Greek stories about
sirens. They sang beautiful songs to the saints, foretelling future joys. For mortals, however, the birds were dangerous. Men who heard them would forget everything on earth, follow them, and ultimately die. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirins by shooting cannons, ringing bells and making other loud noises to scare the bird off.
Sometimes Sirin is seen as a
metaphorfor God's word going into the soulof a man. Sometimes she is seen as a metaphor of heretics tempting the weak. Sometimes Sirin was considered equivalent to the siren or the Polish Wila. In Russian folklore, Sirin was mixed with the revered religious writer Saint Ephrem the Syrian. Thus, peasant lyrists such as Nikolay Klyuevoften used Sirin as a synonymfor poet.
Vladimir Nabokovwrote some of his first novels and poems under the pseudonym Vladimir Sirin.
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