Likho, liho (Russian: Лихо, _be. лі́ха, _pl. licho) is an embodiment of evil fate and misfortune in Slavic mythology, a creature with one eye, usually (but not always) depicted as an old, skinny woman in black (Лихо одноглазое, One-eyed Likho) or as an evil male goblin of forests; it is a small and ugly creatureFact|date=August 2007. It is not a member of the Slavic pantheon, it is a personage of fairy tales, some of which contain traces of the Odyssey's episode with Polyphemus cyclops.

"Likho" is not a real proper name, but a noun meaning bad luck in modern Russian ("Don't wake likho while it's quiet" proverb), similar to Polish (sayings "Cicho! Licho nie śpi" -"Quiet! Licho does not sleep", "Licho wie" -"Licho knows" = only licho knows – nobody knows). In old Russian the root meant "excessive", "too much" with pejorative connotations. Compare to Russian "lishniy" - one in excess. The word is likely to be related to Indo-European "leikw" meaning something to remain, to leave. The derived adjective "likhoy" can be used to describe someone who is a bit too daring or brave. In Czech, "lichý" means odd (number), idle, vain. In Polish, "lichy" means shoddy, poor, flimsy. In Belarusian language, "ліхі" means bad, evil (like in prayer), odd (side of clothing).

There are several basic versions of tales how a person meets with Likho, with different morals of the tale.
*A person eventually cheats Likho as in the Odyssey.
*A person cheats Likho, runs away (with Likho chasing him), sees a useful thing, grabs it, the person's hand sticks to it and they have to cut off their hand.
*Likho cheats a person and rides on his neck. The person wants to drown Likho, jumps into a river, drowns himself, but Likho floats out, to chase other victims.
*Likho is received or passed to another person with a gift.

Within the framework of superstitions, Likho was supposed to come and eat a person. In particular, this was used to scare small children.

Recently, some Slavic neopagans attempt to "retrofit" Likho into the Slavic Pantheon.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Likho — Likho, ou Liho (Лихо) est une personnification du mauvais sort et de la malchance dans la mythologie et les contes slaves. C est une créature effrayante n ayant qu un seul œil (Лихо одноглазое), souvent décrite comme une vieille femme décharnée… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Slavic mythology — is the mythological aspect of the polytheistic religion that was practised by the Slavs before Christianisation. The religion possesses many common traits with other religions descended from the Proto Indo European religion. Zbruch Idol. Contents …   Wikipedia

  • Cottingley Fairies — The first of the five photographs, taken by Elsie Wright in 1917, shows Frances Griffiths with the alleged fairies. The Cottingley Fairies appear in a series of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins who… …   Wikipedia

  • Folklore — For other uses, see Folklore (disambiguation). Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of… …   Wikipedia

  • Gnome — This article is about the humanoid creature. For the computing desktop environment, see GNOME. For the lawn ornament, see garden gnome. For other uses, see Gnome (disambiguation). A gnome /ˈnoʊm …   Wikipedia

  • Nymph — This article is about the creatures of Greek mythology. For other uses, see Nymph (disambiguation). A fourth century Roman depiction of Hylas and the Nymphs, from the basilica of Junius Bassus A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature… …   Wikipedia

  • Naiad — For other uses, see Naiad (disambiguation). A Naiad by John William Waterhouse, 1893; a water nymph approaches the sleeping Hylas. In Greek mythology, the Naiads or Naiades (Ναϊάδες from the Greek νάειν, to flow, and νᾶμα, running water ) were a… …   Wikipedia

  • Perun — This article is about a Slavic god. For historical money, see Perun (money). Perun spring, east, fertility, athmosphere, thunderbolt Symbol fire, oak, iris, eagle, axe Consort Perunika or Mokosh Christian equivalent Elijah …   Wikipedia

  • Kelpie — This article is about the aquatic creature from Celtic mythology. For the Australian dog breed, see Australian Kelpie. Kelpie The Kelpie by Herbert James Draper Mythology Celtic mythology Grouping Myt …   Wikipedia

  • Kobold — This article is about the sprite from Germanic folklore. For other uses, see Kobold (disambiguation). Kobold The kobold Heinzelmann Grouping Mythological creature Fairy Sprite Country German …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”