Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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SAMODIVA

(Sah-MO-de-va)
Variations: Samodivi, Samovili
A type of vampiric wood nymph from Bulgaria, the samodivi (as they are collectively called) look like young women, wearing their HAIR down and loose, and are occasionally sighted with wings. They live in old trees or in natural caves and dress in simple clothes tied with a GREEN belt decorated with feathers, a bow and quiver slung across their backs. With little to fear, as they not only have the natural ability to fly but also have control over all the elements, samodivi patrol the woods riding upon the backs of stags whose bridle tack is reined with live snakes. Should a samodiva ("divinity" or "devil") happen across a hunter, it will kill him, taking the unfortunate person's head as a trophy and draining the body dry of its blood. Should he escape, it will cause a drought in his village.
Anyone who comes across a samodiva dancingat night in the woods will not be able to resist joining it, and will enjoy its merrymaking all night long. When the sun rises, only the samodiva remains; its dance partner is never seen again.
There is a Serbian myth that a samodivanamed Villa raised Prince Marko, nursing him at its own breast. Because of this, the prince developed supernatural powers. He rode upon a winged horse named Dapple and had a samodiva stepsister named Gyura.
Source: Georgieva, Bulgarian Mythology, 75, 81; Mac-Dermott, Bulgarian Folk Customs, 68, 69; Mc Clelland, Slayers and Their Vampires, 103; Perkowski, Vampires of the Slavs, 42
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