“So let’s look at myths and folklore today. Try to pick a random culture, find an interesting character in their mythology or an awesome folklore story and write about that.”
I travel a lot for work, both nationally and internationally. I wanted to chose a place that I had visited, one with a little extra personal meaning for me. I decided on Ukraine and it was not disappointment!
I came across the myth of the Domovoi*. He’s a Slavic house creature whose main role seems to be keeping the peace and enforcing good manners and behaviour. Like a hairy Nanny McPhee. If you are rude or refuse to eat your greens, he might rattle the windows, bang the doors or even shake the walls. You could appease him with tobacco, salt, bread and porridge. If he was happy, he helps out with the garden and domestic chores. If he’s really, very unhappy, he’ll leave you forever. The height of shame on your family.
But there was one ‘bonus points’ suggestion, extra points for a ‘naturalistic’ play. I was dead chuffed. I had created this normal, low-stakes world where a creature is just chatting away, eating porridge and smoking a pipe. No magic, no special effects. 100% Au natural. Until I realised that the entire thing was a monologue, spoken by a creature that is not only very aware of the audience, but directly addresses them and implicates them in his story. Who needs a fourth wall (or bonus points…) anyway?!
Without further ado, please enjoy my foray into the world of Slavic legend and the dear old Domovoi*.
*It means literally ‘of the home’ and is sometimes colloquially used as a synonym for ‘Granddad’. I think that tells you everything you need to know right there!