Folktales and Legends

The Domovyk

A village house often has just one or two rooms. The one below has many rooms. The PICH is a very big stove which heats the whole house.

The Domovyk is a house spirit. He lives in every house and guards it. He looks like a man but is small and very hairy.
The people who live in the house try to be nice to him. They leave him food. He likes milk and sweet food.
He lives where it is warm in the house.
Watch the video below where Nadiya describes when she saw him and what he looked like.

Now go into the house below and find the Domovyk.
Click on the “?” in the kitchen.
Where does he like to live?


More about the Domovyk

In Ukraine people believe that every house has a spirit.
This spirit is called Domovyk.
The Domovyk can have a name or he can have no name. You just call him Domovyk.
Do you want your Domovyk to have a name?

The Domovyk is like a person, but not quite.
He is asleep during the day and awake at night.
He is short, probably as tall as you.
He has hair ALL OVER, not just on his head. This is not like you.
He has big, round eyes and pointy ears.
Can you draw a Domovyk ?

The Domovyk likes to eat bread and milk.
He likes to live near the stove where it is warm.
The Domovyk loves his house.
He likes the house to be neat and clean.
He likes everything in its place.
He does not like it when people in the family fight.

The Domovyk helps the people who live in the house.
He protects them.
People in Ukraine believe that there is a spirit in every house.
Sometime two Domovyk who live near each other are friends.
Sometime they are enemies and they fight.
If a bad Domovyk wants to do bad things to your house, your own Domovyk will protect you.
He will chase the other Domovyk away. He will scare him.

Ukrainians believe that there is a forest spirit, a spirit of the river, and a spirit of every place outside.
They are BIG, much bigger than the Domovyk .
They can be nice and they can be mean.
If they attack the house, the Domovyk will protect the house and chase bad spirits away.

The most important thing that the Domovyk does is keep out the Zlydni.
Zlydni are BAD little things. They destroy everything they see.
They can get into a house if it is dirty.
They can get into a house if it is a mess.
They can get into a house if people in the family fight with each other.
Once they get in, it is very hard to get them out.
Watch this video about Zlydni.

Now you know to make sure that your house is neat and clean.
Make sure you do not fight.
Keep your domovyk happy.

Suggestions for teachers:

On there is a video called Zlydni about 12 minutes long. Some versions have English sub-titles.


Story Time

Here we have a Ukrainian story called The Mitten