By Alan G Hefner
Daimon is the Greek derivative for the term demon. In this sense the term "demon" means "replete with knowledge." The ancient Greeks thought there were good and bad demons called 'eudemons' and 'cacodemons.' The term 'daimon' means "divine power," "fate" or "god." Daimons, in Greek mythology, included deified heros. They were considered intermediary spirits between men and the gods. Good daimons were considered to be guardian spirits, giving guidance and protection to the ones thy watched over. Bad daimons led people astray. Socrates said he had a life-time daimon that always warned him of danger and bad judgement, but never dictated his actions. He said his daimon was more accurate than omens of either watching the flights or reading the entrails of birds, which were two respected forms of divination of the time.
Demon, supernatural being, generally malevolent in character. In general the more civilized Pagan societies came to consider demons as powerful, supernatural beings who lacked the dignity of gods and who, depending on the circumstance, might be either benevolent or malevolent in their dealings with men. Some demons, like the Greek Pan, were nature spirits; still others were spirits of disease and insanity or dream spirits. Some demons were considered to be intermediaries between men and the gods. It was not until the development of late Hebraic and Christian thinking that demons came to represent the unqualified malelovence so common in European demonlogy of the 16th and 17th centuries. This period was a high point in the study of demons, in the speculation on their nature, number and specific fiendishness. The list complied in 1589 by a demonologist named Binsfield was considered to be highly authoriative; in it he listed the following major demons and their particular evils; Lucifer (pride), Mammon (avarice), Asmodeus or Ashmodai (lechery), Satan (anger), Bezzlebub (gluttony), Levithan (envy), and Belphegor (sloth).
Source: Columbia Encyclopedia
In medieval and modern usage, a demon is an evil or malicious spirit. The word demon was first adapted in the New Testament from the earlier Greek word daemon. The Greek word meant something different from the medieval notion of demons, and some scholars argue that Jews and Christians in the 1st century used the word demon in its original Greek sense, rather than in the later medieval sense. In most polythestic religions, the distinction between demons, gods, and demigods can be fairly vague, and not all demons would be considered malevolent.
In contemporary Christianity, demons are generally considered to be fallen angels who fell from grace by rebelling against God. However, this view, championed by Origen, Augustine, and John Chrysostam, arose during the 6th century. Prior to that time, the primary sin of fallen angels was considered to be that of mating with mortal women, giving rise to a race of half-human giants known as the Nephilim.
Demons are found in many religions, and many cultures have developed a rich mythology of demons. The study of demons is called demonology, while the worship of demons is known as demonolarty. In Judiasm and Christianity, the chief of demons is generally known as Satan or the Devil; in Islam he is known as Ilbis. Many classic books and plays feature demons, such as Paradise Lost and Faust.
Source: Demon Encyclopedia
Encarta World English Dictionary
1. Evil Spirit: an evil supernatural being such as a ghost or spirit.
2. Personal fear or anxiety: a fear or anxiety that torments somebody.
3. Expert: Somebody who is extremely good at something.
13th century Via Latin daemon and medieval Latin demon "evil spirit" from Greek daimon "divine power, guiding spirit"
When skies above were not yet named
Nor earth below pronounced by name
There was water...
and Tiamat mingled her salt seas with the fresh waters of Apsu, her consort, and bore populations of gods who lived within her darkness until finally Apsu could no longer beath the disorder and clamor of the young gods. He attempted to destroy their offspring. Naturally enraged, Tiamat collaborated with her son and destroyed Apsu. Generations passed until her great-great-grandson, the solar god Marduk, challeneged her dominion. Marduk was a perfect hero. He had four eyes and found ears and could breathe fire. In preparation for the battle. Marduk made a bow and arrow and a huge net. Carrying a spell on his lips, an herb in one hand that worked against Tiamat's poisons, and a mace in the other, he mounted his terrifying storm chariot and marshaled the seven winds to follow him into battle. Tiamat was infuriated. From her rage came forth monsters, demons, horned snakes, bull men, fish men, filled not with blood but venom. Her army was radiant and terrible. She appointed Kingu, a monster offspring, to be her spouse and to lead her brood into battle. But Marduk challenged her to single combat. He caught her in his net and then sent evil winds toward her. She opened her mouth like a mammoth cave to swallow them, but the winds were of such power her jaws were forced to remain open. The winds distended her belly. Marduk entered and saw within her an entire army of gods, snakes, and demons. He shot his arrow. It split her heart in tow. She perished. He stood on her body and smashed her skull with his mace. Then Marduk sliced Tiamat in two like a cosmic clam, and raised one half of her to become the roof of the sky. He bolted it to hold the waters in check. With her lower half, he created the earth above the subterranean waters. From her eyes he created two rivers, from her udder, mountains and foothills. From her saliva he made rain and clouds; from her poisons, fog. After Marduk named each thing and set the stars and gods in their palces, he created man out of the blood of Kingu, poisonous spouse-creation of Tiamat.
Once a man went to the lagoon to fish. When he got there he climbed up into a tree and carelessly shot many arrows into the water from above. After a while, he climbed down into the water to retrieve his catch. But when he pulled his arrow only a stick came out. He knew this was a bad sign, but her persisted, climbing back up into the tree to shoot at fish. The Munuane came sidling by on his raft, pushing his way through the water with a long pole. Seeing the reflection of the tree man in the water, the Munuane shot an arrow into it, and was surprised when it didn't hit him. Finally, with a slow-wittedness large demonic species mercifully exhibit, he realized, it was only a reflection he had shot in the water. He retreived his arrow and aimed at the real thing. This fisherman had shamanic powers, and the munuane's arrow was unable to kill him. But the impace of the arrow made the fisherman falll into the water, whereupon the munuane pulled him onto his raft and paddled away determinedly, calling out to his wife: "I'm bringing something home to boil for soup!" He repeated his words over and over again as he headed for home. But as the munuane pushed forward with his paddle, the fisherman crept slowly to the back of the raft and slipped silently into the water. When the munuane realized what had happened, he shouted out, "My soup escaped!" The munuane began to feel around rather stupidly in the water with his hands while far away ashore the fisherman watched his futile search. Then suddenly, the munuane spotted the man, climbed from the raft, and the chase began. The man climbed up a palm tree and, using his magic powers, made it grow taller until it bent over like a bridge to the other side of the lagoon. He jumped off, and immediately the tree shrunk back to its original size, thrwarting the demon's pursuit. The following day, the munuane reached the man's village. When his family saw him approaching, they tried to shoot arrows into its body, head, and arms. But the fisherman knew the important secret: A munuane must always be shot in the knees. The man shot the munuane in the knees and it immediately perished.
Two children, a boy and girl, used to play near the wahwee's deep water hole and dig for shellfish. They were young and innocent and never realized that the place was owned and occupied by a wahwee. The elder members of the tribe knew of the wahwee, and that it might be getting angry. They tried to warn the heedless children, but to no avail. Meanwhile, the wahwee, who could see the children through its hole, watched and waited. Time is nothing to demons. It waited until they grew up. It saw how deeply the boy loved the girl. Once day, as the girl now a young woman waited for her sweetheart, an old woman approached her, weeping. The girl asked why she wept, and the old woman said it was because she knew what destruction the girl would cause her people by stealing shellfish from the wahwee's home. Shocked, the young woman said she would rather sacrifice herself than cause any harm to her people or to her beloved childhood sweetheart. "Then return tomorrow," the old woman said. "And I will tell you what you must do." After the girl left, the old woman turned into an eel and slithered down into the water hole. The next day the girl met the "old woman" as she had promised, and was given a choice: if the girl had courage enough to plunge into the hole, all would be forgiven; if not the wahwee would call for the rains and destroy the village. The girl immediately agreed to follow the old woman into the water hole. When the boy came to meet his sweetheart, she had vanished. Everybody knew that the wahwee had taken the girl. The boy wept and wept, crazy from loss. Every day he sat by the water hole and sang for her. One day he noticed a little green leaf unfold in the water. Each day, as he sang, another green leaf unfolded before his eyes. He called again for his friend, and this time a red lily opened in the water. The boy plunged into the water and found his sweetheart. She clung to him. He was changed into a water rush, and soon, the water hole was covered with lillies and rushes.
One west coast kelpie shape-shifted into a handsome young man and had great success with consecutive mortal maidens. One night he fell asleep by the side of his latest when she happened to notice a bit of sea grass in his hair and something equine about his appearance. She fled. He followed her home, vowing to get her back. After a while the poor maiden managed to forget the brief encounter and met her true sweetheart. But on her wedding day, just as the bride was on her way out the church door, she was seized by a huge black horse and was last seen heading to the water. Some say her face bobs up from time to time, looking quite pale in the light of the moon. A kelpie can be caught only by trapping it with a bridle that is engraved or adorned with a cross. A captured kelpie can be used for hard labor. It is tireless, works like a demon, and has such stamina it can carry its rider endlessly. Unfortunately, at the end of each day it must claim one human victim. One day some people working in a field heard a strange voice crying: "The hour is come but not the man!" Just then, they sighted a kelpie rising from the water and then sink down again. Suddenly they saw a rider appear on a horse who was speeding toward the water. The workers jumped up from their labors, and tried to catch hold of the rider. They warned him about the nearby kelpie and the dangerous water, but he paid no heed. Determined to save the strange rider despite himself, they carried him, struggling to a nearby church, and locked him within. They told him they would free him soon as the prophesied hour had safely passed. But when they returned to unlock him after the dangerous time, they found the poor man drowned in a trough of water near the door.
One morning a man entered his hut and was horrified to see what looked like a tikoloshe on his way out. That night the husband pretended to leave the hut again, but this time he hid just outside and waited to see if the tikoloshe would return. When he did, the man silently entered his hut and, much to his dismay, witnessed his wife copulating with the short hirsute demon. He killed the tikoloshe, but resisted killing his adulturous wife. He demanded that she tie up her slaughtered lover, and when she had done so, they marched together into the village carrying the corpse to show the others what had happened. The man no longer wanted the woman as a wife and the villagers understood that. They returned the cattle he had paid for his wife's dowry, and with the cattle but without a wife, he sadly returned to his hut. The other husbands knew it was only a matter of time before the tikoloshe struck again.
It was on a moonless night near the sea that Tammie first saw the nuckelavee approach him on a deserted road. He had first thought the creature was only a horse galloping toward him, but identified the demon by the fins flapping loudly on his legs and the hideous wide mouth snorting steam in his direction. What caused Tammie utter terror was the skinless body. He saw it all: the muscles and sinews all raw and dark and pulsing as the thing moved closer and closer. Riveted, he couldn't turn his eyes away from the nuckelavee. He knew it was futile to try to run. It was just then, as the horrid maw of the demon opened for its dinner, that Tammie remembered the antidote. It was well known that the species was repelled by fresh water. For one thing, it never appeared in the rain. Hoping desperately that this was true, Tammie headed straight for the loch. When he neared it, just ahead of the nuckelavee, he accidently splashed the demon's legs with some loch water. The nuckelavee reared and backed off instantly. So it was true! Tammie leaped into the freshwater loch. He crossed it, to fall exhausted on the bank, but lived to tell this story.
The vodyanoi is said to be a fallen angel cast into the water by the Archanger Michael. He lives in a shining underwater palace with exquisite furnishins and chandeliers and considers himself a property owner in charge of all the many fishes and spirits of his pool or pond. It is said that when a new mill is built, the vodyanoi will seek revenge by taking at least one human life because it tampers with his habitat. The vodynaoi is reputed to have a single-minded purpose to drown human beings. The only people he maintains a special relationship with are the miller and a few fishermen. The miller has been suspected of sorcery and of making a pact with the vodynaoi akin to the Devil in some local opinions. He is said to dine with him in his underwater palace on ocassion.
Once there was a widow who after tragically losing her children, all but one, lost her will to live. She gave her only living daughter a stick and sent her off to her uncle's house, instructing her to tap the ground outside his house with the stick. The mother promised that all her possessions would rise from the earth. She said farewell; she planned to end her own life. The girl reluctantly left home. When she had gone a little way, she looked back and saw her mother's house burning. She knew her mother had set fire to the house intending to immolate herself, and that she could do nothing to help. She continued walking on, keeping to a path on the bank of a river. She soon encountered what she thought was a man sitting on a rock, who announced that whoever got wet when walking near the water must go in to bathe. Then he thrashed his hidden tail on the water so hard that water splashed the girl in the face. Obediently, she went in to the river to bathe. While she was in the water, the mbulu took her clothes and put them on. When the girl came out of the water and asked politely for her clothes, the mbulu told her he would return them as soon as she was dry. Trustingly, the orphan walked on with the mbulu at her side and, later, again asked for her clothes. This time the mbulu said he would return them when they arrived at the next village. When they arrived at the village and the girl begged for her clothes, the mbulu instructed her to tell everyone that she was his servant girl. The girl was afraid of the mbulu now, for she realized she was dealing with a powerful and strange being. She obeyed him, so people imagined the mbulu to be an important woman with fine clothes and her as his servant girl. They did wonder why his voice was so deep for a woman, but he said he had been quite ill. After a while, the mbulu married a man from the village, while the poor girl was sent to work in the fields. While working, she regained her voice and began to sing sad songs about her enslavement and adventures. A woman who worked near her finally heard the words of the song and made a plan to see if they were true. Since it isknow that the tail of a real mbulu is always hungry, hidden, and has a will of its own, the girl set a trap to expose the creature. She dug a hole and filled the bottom with milk, then demanded that everyone in the village jump over the hole. The mbulu, posing as a wife, was naturally relctant but had no choice as everybody was participating. "She" tried to jump quickly, but the tail was out of control. It couldn't pass up delicious milk and came out of hiding to drink. Outraged, the villagers killed the mbulu and buried it in the hole. The man who had mistakenly married the mbulu married the girl. She had a child, and one day while it was playing a pumpkin grew from the ground where the mbulu had been buried, and it tried to kill the child. The villagers hacked the pumpkin to pieces, burned it, and threw the ashes into the river. Finally rid of the threat forver, the girl regained her courage and set out with her husband and daughter and magic stick to visit her uncle. There she tapped the stick upon the ground and all her possessions rose as promised and she shared them with her family.
One night in the palace of the Sumerian city of Uruk that Gilgamesh had built and ruled, Gilgamesh's friend Enkidu had a nightmare, the meaning of which he could not decipher. Concerned, Enkidu and Gilgamesh made offerings to the sun god Shamash, who revealed the meaning to them: the heroes' mission was to kill Huwawa and to cut down the seven cedars of the sacred forest that he guarded on Cedar Mountain to build a temple in Uruk. Despite the misgivings of his community and hism other, Gilgamesh (part-divine, part-human hero) had weapons made, and set forth with Enkidu to the Land of the Cedars. They traveled northwest for more than two years over seven moutains to the edge of the world. When they finally reached Cedar Mountain and beheld the towering evergreens lit by the sun, all their mighty deeds seemed suddenly minute. They felt small and vulnerable in this giant landscape, and as the sun descended and then vanished, they became afraid. Again they made a sacricie to Shamash and waited for dawn. In the morning they called out to Hawawa, but he did not answer. They trembled in the utter silence. Suddenly Huwawa appeared, roaring like a thunderstorm. The ancient cedars bowed at the sound. Gilgamesh was stunned by the horrid, vast head of the demon. In the terrible, fierce battle that followed, Gilgamesh employed the savage winds of Shamash to rage against the might Huwawa. Finally he stabbed him with his weapons and it was Enkidu who cut off the head of the creature to carry home in victory. Then, together they stripped the mountain of cedar trees. The duo returned home in glory, dressed in golden robes. Because of his shining attire, Gilgamesh attracted the eye of the goddess Ishtar. When he rebuffed her rudely, she took offense and sent the bull of heaven down to destroy him. The two men fought the bull and won, but now they had gone much too far. To teach Gilgamesh a lesson, Enkidu was killed by Enlil, who was the portector of Huwawa. Gilgamesh spent the rest of his days grieving, searching for Enkidu, and learning about the limits of human life and the meaning of mortality.
A Zen parable tells of a hunter who was in the mountains. He came across a snake killing a bird. Suddenly a boar appeared and began to devour the snake. The hunter thought he should kill the boar, but changed his mind because he did not want to be a link in such a chain, and cause his own death by the next predator to come along. On his way home he heard a voice call to him from the top of a tree. It was the voice of a tengu. It told him how lucky he was, for had he killed the boar, the tengu would have killed him. The man subsequently moved into a cave and never killed another animal.
In northern England, home of the original Knockers, the spirits often served to warn of disaster about to happen by knocking mysteriously and alerting the miners to aberrant sounds. Once in a while they could be helpful, as in the case of "Blue Cap," a famous Knocker who appeared as a blue-flamed light that flickered through the mine, landed on a tub of coal, and mysteriously moved the heavy tub as if by the force of many laborers. But when playful or vengeful they would steal candles and hide tools and, at their worst, set the mine on fire. Tommy-Knockers do not like to be seen by humans and often react with extreme volatitlity and capriciousness when they know they've been spotted. One story tells of a coal miner whose load so outdistanced the others each morning that his fellow workers wondered how. He never seemed to tire or be over-worked and when asked hom he managed to do such a hard night's work, he simply shrugged. Some coworkers crept in one night to see what was happening, and there was their friend sitting quietly in a shaft. When they peered over his shoulder they discovered a huge team of Tommy-Knockers working for him. The Tommy-Knockers, according to this report, wore tall red hats and used minature mining equipment. Soon as the wee demons realized they'd been sighted, they turned on their mortal companion in a fury, perhaps thinking he told his friends about them, and within moments the entire mine erupted in flames. Other Knockers called Coblynau, haunt the mines and quarries of Wales and point out ore by pounding or "knocking," on the walls. They are said to be half a yard tall, and hideously ugly. They imitate the miners in dress, and carry tiny work tools, picks, and lamps. They work constantly, but never get anything accomplished. If not treated with great respect, they are known to cause rock slides. Thier German cousins are the Kobolds, demon miners who take pleasure in malevolent games and trickery, and the Wichtlein (Little Wights), tiny men with long beards said to be death portents. The Witchlein announce death by knocking thee times on the wall.
Once a traveler in the mountains realized he was on a unfamiliar path and feared he was getting lost. As night fell, he spied a woman not far off and called loudly for help. But as he did, she seemed ever farther away. At last, exhausted, he stumbled to the ground and, looking about, found himself in completely unknown territory. It was then he heard the old woman cackling. Her laugh was awful, the telltale sign of a gwyllion. Shaking, he pulled out his knife and held it high over his head. The steel blade flashed in the moonlight. It was the one sure repellent and it worked. She instantly vanished.
Every asura knows he must die eventually, for although supernatural, he's not an eternal being. Aware of his mortality, Mahisma meditated for over a thousand years to gain the power to ask a boon of the god Brahma. When he had earned this right, Mahisha asked for immortality. He phrased his plea as a trick requiest: I want to live, he said, until defeated by a woman. He assumed if Brahma granted this request, he would be assured of immortality. His plea was granted, but the seeds of destruction are always planted by one's own action, and Mahisha had radically underestimated the female gender. Having won what he thought was immortality, Mahisha decided to take over the universe. He gathered all demons, and he went out on the battleground to win the heavens. He was so formidable and his army of millions so determined, that the god Indra went to enlist the support of the three major gods: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the protector; and Shiva, the destroyer. Thus all the Hindu gods became engaged in this cosmic war. After an initial, mind-boggling skirmish, Mahisha pulled his illusory cloning trick. Finally, with much roaring, earth trembling, and cosmic dust flying, the gods all finally made a getaway. They knew they could never defeat this raging buffalo demon and his armies. Mahisha ruled the heavens and tyrannized the world while the displaced gods, in hiding, plotted to overthrow his evil rule and win back the world for the forces of Good. But how? They remembered his fatal flaw and decided to send a woman. But where would they find such a goddess? Devi is the Great Goddess and in her wrathful form is known as Durga. She is also called Nanda Devi, who is believed to dwell near Nepal, on the peak with her name in the Himalayas. Devi, the Great Goddess, was created from the unnamed, unknowable Source of their own emnation. She was a vision of inexpressible beauty and was described as the Sublime Warrior Maid. She had eighteen arms; each held a weapon. Devi wore all the rainbow's hues, was clothed in a red gown, and was seated on a lion. She embodied the energy of the entire universe. Rumor of this luminous new presence quickly spread to the demon camp. Devi was so described as to waken Mahisha's appetite. In his arrogance, he decided he'd marry her if she was all they said. He sent a messenger to convey his wishes to Devi. She said in reply: Tell him he will die. The radian Goddess explained that she was there to guarantee his destined end. Mahisha was finally forced to confront her threats. He tried killing her lion with his mace. He was nearly crushed. Slow-witted and coarse, he wondered if perhaps she just didn't like buffalos, and if another shape might tempt her into a change of heart. He metamorphosed to human form. Dressed up and well groomed, he tried another marriage proposal. "Vanish!" she commanded, "Or die." Mahisha, unable to fathom how a woman could reject him, persisted until the frustrated Goddess whammed him with her mace and discus. Then he resumed his buffalo shape for a snorting, roaring, no-holds-barred fight. Mahisha-Asua, using his illusion-making powers, transformed himself into an elephant and the Great Goddess cut off his trunk; then he shape-shifted to a lion and she slew him, but a demon rose from his neck; then he became a huma man whom she killed with arrows. Meanwhile the millions of demons fought her and she sliced them to pieces, but demons in pieces can fight on with missing heads or limbs. The whole world was a raging battlefield. The blood flowed for over a century. Mahisha threw trees, and finally he ripped up mountains and hurled them at her like pebbles in his rage. With her eighteen arms and weapons, Devi stood her ground. She saw through each of the demon's illusory shapes until finally she drank a bit of the elixir of the Divine life force, jumped up into the air and landed on Mahisha-Asura just as he was transforming from human to buffalo, and chopped off his head. She stood calmly on his body as he turned back into a buffalo. And he died.
Rustem, the hero of the Shah-Nahmeh, was barely recovered from an important encounter with the much larger but similiar looking species Div Spid (White Demon), whom he managed to quell in the mountains of the Tabaristan. While Rustem slept, exhausted from his latest battle. Akvan came upon him in a surprise attack. Certain of his victory, akvan asked which kind of death the hero might prefer. Would he rather be thrown from the mountaintop and be devoured by beasts on the rocks below, or perhaps thrown into the sea and to be devoured by whales? Rustem, aware of akvan's quirky contarian nature, opted for the mountain toss. He was thus thrown into the sea. He of course was a strong swimmer and quite able to navigate his way out of this soft landing he swam safely to shore. After a remarkable career of dragon and demon quelling, Rustem's life was prematurely ended by an evil human king who lured him on horseback into a pit filled with spears. As Rustem died he managed to kill the king with his own bow and arrow.
Once a king, a priest, and a farmer set out on a journey to Kamrup, land of Yaksas, on a desperate mission to bring Lokanatha, god of grains, back to their starving people. They soon came upon a huge and unmovable "man" asleep and blocking the mountain path. The king ordered him out of the way and told him of their urgent quest. "How can you are to attempt to bring Lokantha back without my permission?" the giant shouted angrily as he changed himself into a huge and threatening serpent. The priest realized that this spirit was the naga Karkotak, and he humbly asked his forgiveness. The enraged naga continued to glare down at the trio, and the priest begged him not to be angry and praised him for being so adroit at shape shifint. "Can you also become very small?" the priest asked. Karkotak showed off by becoming the size of a single hair, whereupon the priest captured him in a pot, cast a spell, and subdued the spirit. Karkotak, helpless but impressed, said that he now realized how far superior in cleverness was humankind. The naga then swore allegiance and offered to aid the three travelers in any way he could. Off went the quartet until they reached an impassable river. Karkotak shape shifted into a very long bridge and the trio walked across his body safely to the far bank. After several days the group found themselves at the borders of Kamrup. There they camped and prepared whatever was necessary to make themselves acceptable to the Yaksas. The priest created a thousand goats, a thousand sheep, and a thousand buffaloes by throwing soybeans on the ground and transforming them with special incantations. The animals were fabricated in great quanitity because the Yaksas were known to be meat eaters with excessive appetites. The king then asked Karkotak to go on ahead, make himself tiny, enter the body of the Yaksa king, make him ill, and stay there until they arrived so the could cure him. Karkotak did exactly as he was instructed and the demon king soon grew very sick. Nothing could cure the pain in his stomach. When the king, the priest, and the farmer arrived in Kamrup, they announced that they were physicians from Nepal. The desperate Yaksas pleaded, "Please help our king, for he is dying!" The trio huddled over the sick Yaksas, and on the fifth day after the three began "treatment" with herbs, Karkotak left the king's body, according to plan. The Yaksas had an exuberant and festive celebration. They ate all the animals the travelers had manufactured and drank vast amounts of wine to wash them down. After the feast, the grateful demon king asked what he could give them in return for their cure. They asked for Prince Lokanantha, the youngest son of the queen of the Yaksas. This request was met with howls of outrage, and the queen was beside herself with fury. Her eyes flamed, and it became immediately apparent that it was far too dangerous to remain in the demons' kingdom for another moment. They escaped. But outside the borders, in hiding they made a new plan they would capture the spirit of the prince and take it home with them. Elaborate rituals were performed, then Karkotak was sent back to the castle with a bit of magical soot to smear upon the forehead of the child. Immediately the spirit of Prince Lokanatha was seized with an urge to travel. The Yaksas doctor was called in, but the prince was so possessed that his spirit left its body in the night and flew in the form of a sacred bee to the hidden travelers. The next morning, in the castle, the Yaksas queen discovered Prince Lokanatha's dispirited, lifeless body. She woke all the demons and they flew after the king, priest, and farmer. They retrieved the spirit of the prince, placed it back in his Yaksas body, and the viciously attacked the travelers who barely escaped with their lives, went back into hiding, and wondered what to do next. The king thought of waging war, but because of the probably loss of life on both sides, he decided war was not the solution. The priest called upon the deities of Kathmandu who intercede against Evil. The deities arrived and went with the quartet to speak to the Yaksas. Finally, they were able to subdue the demons, and after many more transformations on the road back, the fertile spirit of Lokanatha, also called Karunamaya, the god of rain and grain, was at last brought to Nepal, and the farmer planted rice to feed the people. Thus was the great nurturing and compassionate spirit seized without bloodshed from the land of the demons, where the brave travelers ventured to find him. And since those days, rain and rice and peace and happiness came to the Valley of Nepal.
The White Monkey
One time a traveler and his attractive wife were passing through unknown territory when the husband was warned that a local shen had been actively kidnapping females. Alarmed, the man hid his wife in an inner chamber of the house they were staying in, and he carefully guarded her each night; even so, the White Monkey managed to abduct her. The distraught husband went searching everywhere and traveled further and farther into the mountains for weeks, to no avail. He was about to give up when he suddenly came upon what looked like a huge stone door. He knocked, and the door was opened by a fairy, who told him upon inquiry that his wife was being held prisoner by the White Monkey who lived within. The man was instructed to come back the next day to the cave's entrance and to bring with him a very large supply of wine, ten dogs, and some strong rope. The man returned with all these items and gave them to the fairy. Soon the White Monkey devoured the dogs, an obvious treat, and went on to drink all the wine, until he was in a stupor. The fairy then bound the creature with rope and called in the husband. He reported later that what he saw was an enormous white monkey bound up on a vast bed. Enraged, he killed the creature at once, and his harem of human females were set free.
When Ravana was born, the universe filled with hideous shrieking noises. His mother was the daughter of a demon chief, and his father was a saint she had tempted in midprayer. Ravana gathered power by ascetism and meditation for thousands of years. When he'd earned enough to ask Brahma for a boon, he asked for immortality, which was not granted. After some negotiation, he was given protection from all elements, but he arrogantly scoffed at the idea of needing protection from human beings. And so Ravana became virtually indestructible. For instance, each of his ten heads grow back immediately if cut off. But he was not ultimately indestructible, because he left a loophole. Ravana was a tyrannical boaster and a womanizer, impulsively quick to fury and always overconfident. He had a huge harem and added to it frequentlyby seizing women by the hair and flying them through the air to his kingdom of Lanka. He was a demon who had everything, even a flying chariot, but he craved more. He was deeply envious of Rama, whose exploits were renown. Rama was a great hero, a god incarnate, living in exile in a forest with his faithful wife, Sita. One day Rama encountered and insutled Ravana's grotesque sister. This was the last straw. Ravana set a trap to get Sita alone. He waited until Rama was out hunting, and disguising himself as a beggar, approached her hut. She was polite and charitable to him so he then revealed himself as the ten-headed handsome demon he believed he was. He invited her to go with him to Lanka and, with great charm, promised her anything her heart desired. When she refused his offer, he seized her by the hair and dragged her to his flying chariot. Before Rama returned, Sita was in Lanka. Sita, the beloved, faithful, and utterly devoted wife of Rama, imprisoned in Ravana's palace, steadfastly resisted the demon. He tried every way to make himself attractive to her, but she ignored him, and wept for Rama. Ravana grew increasingly bitter with each rejection. He finally threatened to devour her whole if she would not succumb, and left her to think it over. Meanwhile, Ravana searched everywhere for Sita. Finally his devoted servant. Hanumat (son of the god wind), discovered Sita's whereabouts, assumed the form of a cosmic monkey, and in one step crossed over the sea to Lanka. Then, shrinking to the size of a tiny monkey, Hanumat sneaked into the walled garden to tell Sita that help was on the way. Despite the numerous and fearsome Rakshasas who populated the forest of Lanka (nor Sri Lanka), Hanumat was not afraid. He gathered his countless troops of flying monkeys to build a bridge of stones across to the island. Rama crossed over the bridge into enemy territory and there he waged awesome battles against the forces of Ravana. Hanumat and the troops destroyed the royal gardens, threw boulders, and set fire to the kingdom. Ther was much shape shifting, illusion, gore, smoke, and roaring until finally Ravana and Rama faced off. As Rama's arrows struck Ravana's ten heads they each popped right back and the demon roared triumphantly. Finally, Rama, using a supernatural arrow of the god Vishnu, struck the demon in the heart, which was not indestructible. And that was how Ravana met his prophesised end by the hands of a mortal. It wasn't over of course. Ravana was only living out one of three demons lives as punishment for a past-life deed he had committed when he was a celestial gatekeeper and refused entrance to the sons of Brahma because they were not properly dressed.
The leshii often keeps grazing cows from wandering too far into the forest and falling prey to a hungry wolf. Sometimes the cowherds make "special arrangements" with the leshii to keep their cattle safe. They take off the cross they wear around their necks and hand it to the forest spirit, then they swear loyalty to the leshii and give him their communion wafer instead of swallowing it. These pacts cause the cowherd to be looked upon as a person with occult powers. Once a cowherd who lived on a remote farm innocently showed kindness to a leshii disguised as a passing traveler. He allowed him to spend the night, gave him supper, and refused payment for the lodging. The leshii offered a "herdsman" as protection, telling the cowherd that his cows would be safe from then on, all he needed to do was drive them out from the gate in the morning and wait for their return at night. He warned him to never go out to their grazing ground. This went on for years until the cowherd's curiousity got the better of him. When he got to the edge of the forest, he saw an extremely old woman acting as herdsman, and when he said good morning to her, she nodded, shrank to nothing, and then vanished before his eyes.
Once a sweet young bride was abducted by an oni on her way to her own wedding. He manifested as a dark cloud and when the sky had cleared the bride had vanished. He brought her to his manison for a wife. The girl's mother bravely went forth to find her daughter, and soon, with the help of a priestess, she located the home of the hideous oni. When the mother was certain the oni was out, she knocked on the castle door. The girl was overjoyed to see her mother again and embraced her, gave her dinner, and then hid her in a massive stone chest. The oni soon arrived home and had a fit of temper when he smelled a human on his premises. The quick thinking girl placated him with some improvised news: "I'm pregnant!" she announced. Elated, the oni called for all his dogs to be killed as a feast and for a lot of sake. He got roaring drunk, and finally passed out. As he snored, the girl unlocked the stone box and fled with her mother. The woman took a boat from the oni's supplies and started to cross the river. The oni awakened to find his wife gone. He discovered that the boat was missing, and in a monstrous fury storde to the edge of the water. He saw the women disappearing into the distant horizon. He did what any oni would do under the circumstances: he began to drink the river dry. The small boat that was carrying the mother and daughter started traveling back to the mouth of the oni as if on the end of a long strand of noodle. In desperation the two women prayed to the priestess for help. They were answered by a quick piece of tactical advice. They turned to face the nearing shore and together they lifted their kiminos and exposed their privates. This completely unexpected sight caused the oni to laugh uproariously until all the thousands of gallons of water spewed from his mouth back to the river. He rolled around in a fit of hilarity while the little boat sped off on the rising waters and carried the women to safety.
In the forest of Lanka, Ravana needed his brother's help to fight Rama in his last epic battle, so he sent his army in to awaken Kumbhakarna. They fed him herds of cattle and rivers of wine before he would even stand up. Finally the demon yawned loudly, stretched, stood, and was ready for battle, but he was still hungry. He swallowed many troops of Hanumat's army before Ram was even able to wound him. So powerful and brute a force was Kumbhakarna that he was able to go on fighting even after he'd been cut to shreds by Rama. Only small, torn remnants of his limbs endured, but the fierce body parts hailed damage upon the forces of Good. Finally Rama sliced Kumbhakarna's head off with his sacred arrow and the was the end of the vast and gluttonous sleeper. At least it was for this lifetime. He and his brother Ravana have one more cycle to go as demons for acting too hastily at the celestial gate before they are free.
Once there was a man who was about to set off on a hunt. His two daughters begged to go on with him until finally he consented, and they set off together. As they walked into the forest, the girls laughed and made a lot of noise. The father warned them to be quiet as there were a number of ant holes on the path, which could mean there were kayeri about. They walked on and on in search of deer until the girls grew tired and decided to return to camp. They bid their father good-bye, and started back. "Beware of the kayeri," he warned, for the demon was known for his lust and particularly for abducting very young women. After a short time, the father's dog managed to catch a deer, and he cut off the best parts and carried them home. When he arrived, he asked his wife where the girls were. The wife said, "They have not yet returned." The man, suspecting the worst, ran back where he'd left them, and there he heard a cry in the distance. "That must be my daughters screaming!" he realized, and headed quickly in the direction of the screams. Sure enough, the kayeri was walking west with the girls thrown over his shoulder. The girls scratched, bit, and poked him to no avail. Then the girls saw their father, and he signaled them to cover the kayeri's eyes. He then shot the demon in the kidneys with an arrow tipped with bone. The kayeri dropped the girls, screamed "Mu mu, mu!" and jumped into the river and turned into a stone. All around the father and his daughters came a terrible sound: a host of kayeri were beating trees with sticks. The human family ran for their lives and made it safely to camp to report this cautionary tale.
Once there were two women who were at a stream fetching some water. One woman was pregnant, and the other, out of envy, threw dirt into her pot while her back was turned. The spiteful woman left, and the pregnant woman found her jug much too heavy to lift. Just then a dodo came by and offered to help. She accepted gratefully. He told her that if her child were a boy it would be his friend, but if it were a girl it would be his wife. The woman, eager to get her jug home and desperate for help, agreed to his conditions. Later the woman gave birth to a girl, and her rival went and told the dodo. He waited. The girl grew up and a marriage was arranged. The promise to the demon was forgotten. But on the wedding day, the rival went to the dodo and told him what was going on. The dodo set off for the wedding, and when he arrived he announced he had come for his promised wife. Ashamed, the poor mother had to explain the debt to her husband. The husband asked, "Whose horse is this?" and, as it belonged to the wife, he said, "Give it to to dodo." The dodo took the horse and ate it whole, but he still demanded the bride. The husband then offered his wife's cattle and the dodo swallowed them whole. They gave the dodo all their food, but that was not enough. "Have the guests!" the husband cried. And the demon did, but still he demanded the bride. The ravenous dodo ate everything, including the father. Alone, the virtuous young bride trembled and cried out for help. A knife fell from above, and naturally the demon ate it, cutting himself in half. All the guests, her father and mother, the cattle, and the horse came out, as well as the bridegroom, and the girl was happily married after all.
Once in a small village in Russia lived a hunchback who could no longer stand living with his mean, hunchbacked twin brother and so set out on his own. He found himself in the forest alone, and since he was tired and it was very late, he lay down to sleep. At about midnight a loud commotion nearby woke him up and he saw a large party of shedim dancing and making a great noise. As soon as the shedim saw him, they grabbed him and pulled him into their wild dance. Scared, he did exactly as the did, making the same sounds and attempting the same leaps and wicked steps. They were delighted and invited him back. But when they sensed his hesitation, they demanded a pledge. He offered to leave various items of clothing or possessions, but the would have none of it. "Give us your hump," they said in unision. Then, with no more fuss, they took it and disappeared. The man was so pleased to be humpless that he proudly walked back to his village to show off his new physique. His envious twin demanded to know how he had gotten rid of his hump, so he recounted the tale. The twin brother set out to do exactly the same thing. He found the forest, lay down to rest, and waited for the dancing shedim to begin their festivities. Midnight came and so did they. He joined them and skipped, leapt, and kicked and yelled as had his twin. Again they were delighted. They said, you kept your word, and they returned his pledge. When they had vanished the twin found himself with a hump on his back and now another on his chest.
Once there lived a good old man who had a large wen on his cheek that was quite disfiguring. He went off into the woods one day to cut some firewood, but it began to rain, and he sought shelter in a hollow tree until the storm passed. It rained for a long time, and then it was nightfall when suddenly there arrived, close by, an entire pack of oni. They were horned, fanged, and hairy, of various sizes and shapes, and all grotesque with their usual three eyes and three toes apiece. He was relieved that they didn't see him in his hiding place. Soon they began a rowdy evening of dancing and demonic noisemaking. They drank too much and feasted gluttonously and danced some more and were so absorbed in their activities that the man was caught up in their high spirits. He went out to join them and executed some amazing high kicks and twirls. The demons were favorably impressed. "Come back tomorrow night," they insisted, and to be sure, they demanded he leave a pledge till then. They took his wen and sent him home. He was handsome again. Word of what had happened immediately began to spread around town. Now, his next-door nieghbor, a mean and envious type, also had a wen, and of course he decided to copy his wenless friend's adventure. So he did. And the oni showed up and he joined their dance. But he was as untalented a dancer as he was mean and envious. so the demons were disgusted with this boring, clumsy performance. "Here," they said, "Take your pledge wen back and don't ever return!" The nasty neighbor now had two wens, one on either cheek. And the forest demons had vanished.
One gentleman of fifty came upon a group of captivating females in a restaurant and joined them to drink sake. He left with one, spent the night with her, and when he awoke the next morning, she had vanished. He realized that the entire group had been foxes and that he'd been targeted because of his own lasciviousl nature. But it was too late. He wasted away and died thirty days later. In other tales the dinner date drinks too much wine and reverts to her fox shape, leaving her escort shocked but safe.
The hero Rama was en route to Lanka to rescue his wife, Sita, from the palace of the demon Ravana. He was just about ready to leave the forest when he ran into Kabhandra. The enornmous barrel-shaped creature slithered toward him like a large spider and blocked his path, rearing up and peering menacingly out from his belly at the hero. Unafraid, Rama attacked him and gravely wounded him. Kabhanda then weakly pleaded with Rama for a favor: he begged Rama to burn him alilve. Rama granted his request. Instantly, from the ashes, Kabhanda rose to his next life as a good spirit. He graciously returned the favor Rama had done for him by releasing him from life as a demon. They left the woods together and went to Lanka. In his new form and life, he aided the hero Rama in his final battle with the terrifying Ravana.
Set was always envious of his glorious brother, Osiris, the mythic founding king of Egypt who gave its people laws and religion. After creating this civilization, Osiris went off to influence other nations, leaving his faithful wife Isis to rule in his absence. When Osiris returned, much later, his brother Set was waiting for him. In an radical act of sibling rivalry, Set tricked Osiris into lying down in a wooden chest, which Set and his seventy-two helpers slammed shut and threw into the Nile. The river carried the chest with Osiris in it to the sea. Poor Isis roamed the entire world looking for her husband. Set claimed ignorance and refused to help. Isis finally found the chest. She carefully hid the chest in a tree. The tree, however, was cut down, and made into a pillar of the house of a king. Again Isis tracked it down and asked for it back, but Set was a step ahead of her and got to it first. In the dark of night, Set removed the chest from the pillar and took the body of his brother out of the chest. He cut up Osiris's body and scattered his parts throughout Egypt. Ever faithful, Isis patiently traveled all over, picking up the pieces, trying to put her husbandback together agian. Eventually Isis located the phallus of Osiris and, with the help of magic incantations, managed to become pregnant with her husband's child. She gave birth to Horus, who was fated to avenge his father's murder. Set attempted to thwart Horus's growing up at one point a scorpion bit the child and killed him, but Isis, with more magic, was able to revive her son. With the protection of other gods, Horus was to grow to manhood and challenge Set. In The Book Of The Dead, the fight between Horus and Set is the classical fight of Light and Good versus Dark and Evil. Horus triumphed over Set, but just when he was about to do in his father's murderer, Isis intervened. She felt mercy for her brother-in-law. And so the influence of Set is still felt and Horus's battle continues to be waged on earth.
Sinbad The Sailor
Shipwrecked, Sinbad raw across a pathetic old man whom he assumed was a fellow castaway. The old man wealy signaled Sinbad to carry him across a brook. Sinbad charitably hoisted him up on his shoulders, and them, midstream, felt the scrawny legs grow powerful around his neck. He glanced at the legs tightening around him and saw that they were covered with rough black skin. Horrified, he tried to shake the old man off, but the terrible legs squeezed him into unconsciouness. When Sinbad awakened, he found the "old man" still crouched on his shoulders. The devalpa commanded him to walk. Sinbad was now in the position of being the old man's camel and trudged on for weeks while his rider picked fruit from the trees as they passed. The relationship grew more and more burdensome each day. Eventually Sindad came across some grapes, which he fermented into a potent wine, whose effects allowed him to forget his desperate situation and lent him a drunken levity. The devalpa noticing the effects of the wine on Sinbad, commanded him to pour some of this beverage for him. The captor gulped down the drink and soon began to relax his grip on Sinbad's neck. As he drank more, the tentacle limbs slipped off slowly, and soon the creature lay drunk on the ground. Sinbad picked up a heavy rock and dashed his brains out.
In the dry season namarrgon stays in a water hole that is to be avoided. Should anybody throw a stone, or drink from the water hole, or even so much as riffle the surface, he would rise up and destroy them with a flash of lightning. He would cause flooding and drown whole villages. During the monsoon season he travels in the air and roars in the coulds overhead. It is his arms and legs that are the flashes of lightning, and as he strikes the ground, destruction is instantious. Some say he throws stone axes down to create the flashes of light.
One night in the town of Posen, a young man, apparently a thief, found his way into the locked cellar of a stone house on the main street. The next morning he was found dead on the threshold of the house. After this incident, the family who lived in the hosue were attacked nightly by spirits who threw their belongs about and did so much damage they were forced to move out. The house stood abandoned for years, but the acitivities extended to affect the entire community. Nobody in town could do a thing to stop the nightly fracas, and so finally the baal shem, famed rabi of Zamosz, was sent for. He forced the demons to reveal their names, and it turned out they believed the cellar was their property because a previous owner of the abode had relations with a demoness who bore him many children. As heirs, they resented the human intruders. Furthermore, their population had so increaded in numbers as is the case with demons worldwide that they were spilling out into the town. The case was brought before a rabbinical court. The demons had papers that substantiated their ancestral relationship, but despite their prior claim, the case was decided in favor of the humans. The demon heirs were told to evacuate their home. The baal shem, by powerful exorcism, was able to send them to the wilderness. The case of the dead thief was solved by the subterranean family he had accidently unsealed.
19th Century Shanghai Newspaper Report
In China, to prevent a bride's feet from touching the threshold, a red cloth was placed over it, and she was lifted from the sedan chair to her bedroom by attendants. Upon this particular ocassion, when the sedan chair arrived to take the new bride to her future house, her friends looked into the sedan and were shocked to find a huge snake in the chair. They warned the bride not to get in, but she ignored them. When she got in the sedan chair, she saw now on the seat not a snake but a strange knife. She tucked it into her tousseau box. After the ceremony, when the new couple was alone, she told the groom what had transpired. He asked to see the knife, and so she took it from the box and handed it to him. As soon as he picked it up his head fell off. She screamed and aroused the household. The accused her of murder, and as soon as she showed it to him, his head fell off. She remained unharmed. It was the talk of the two. They called her the "demon bride."
Changing Bear Maiden
Changing Bear Maiden lived with her loving brothers, twelve skilled hunters and excellent providers. The sibling family living in harmony until one day Changing Bear Maiden became the object of the notorious trickster Coyote's desire. After many tests, she agreed to marry him, much to the horror and resentment of her brothers. Her nature changed as she fell under the control of the seductive, lusty Coyote. One day the brothers were going off to hunt and tried to leave Coyote behind. He begged them to bring him along on the hunt, and at last they gave in. After a while they could no longer tolerate his mischievous ways and sent him home with some meat. They instructed him to go around the forbidden canyon, and not to cut across it, but Coyote did not heed their warnings and was killed before arriving home. The story of his demise is recounted in many ways, but the brothers were not responsible. It was night when the brothers arrived home. Coyote had not yet returned. Their sister asked where her husband was. The brothers answered that they had warned him not to enter the canyon, but that he probably had and may have been harmed. "What have you done with him?" Changing Bear Maiden asked angrily, in a voice her brothers had never heard before. She was certain that they had killed her husband and was filled with rage. Before they went to sleep that night, the brothers sent the youngest to hide and watch their sister. He saw her rise up and face the east, then, moving the way of the sun, she turned and faced the south, west, and north. Then Changing Bear Maiden pulled out her right eyetooth and replaced it with a large tusk. She then did the same with her left eyetooth. He then saw her remove her lower right and left canine teeth and replace them with tusks made of bone. No sooner had she begun to pull her teeth out then hair began to sprout from her hands, and as she continued, the coarse shaggy hair spread over her arms and legs and body. The youngest returned to his brothers to report what he had seen, and was sent back to the hiding place to view more. His sister continued to move in the direction of the sun, pausing to open her mouth at each direction. Her ears grew and began to wag. Her nose changed into a long snout. Her nails turned into large claws. The youngest brother watched until dawn and then went back to report what he'd seen to his brothers. As he spoke, a she-bear suddenly rushed past the lodge and followed the trail that Coyote had taken the day before. At night she came back wounded, and they all watched from a hiding place as their sister who had been a bear walked around her fire removing arrowheads from her body. The next morning a "she-bear" rushed past the lodge, and again returned bleeding and spent the night magically healing her wounds. This continued for four days and four nights, until she had killed all those responsible for Coyote's death. Meanwhile, the brothers, fearing for their lives fled. They left the youngest brother at home. When they were gone, the Wind came to help the youngest brother dig a hole under the center of the hogan, and from this dug four tunnels, each branching off in one of the four directions. When morning came and Changing Bear Maiden returned and found that her brothers had all departed, she poured water on the ground to see which way they had traveled. The water spread out to the east. She rushed off toward the east, overtook the brothers who had gone in that direction, and killed them. Again she poured water, and for the other three directions, found her brothers and killed them. Finally she poured water and it sank into the ground. Changing Bear Maiden quickly dug downward, and there she found her youngest brother hiding beneath her. She greeted him and told him to come up. She held out her finger for him to grab, but the Wind warned him not to accept her help but to climb out of the hole by himself. The youngest brother climbed out of the ole and walked toward the east while Changing Bear Maiden tried to lure him into the deserted hut. But the Wind warned him not to enter so he passed on. His sister then asked him to sit facing west so that she could comb his hair, but the Wind warned him not to do it because it was late in the afternoon, and he would not be able to see her shadow. He was advised to sit facing north. When they both sate down, and as she touched his hair, he could see her shadow transform as her snout grew longer, and he could see the shadowy wagging of her ears. The Wind told him to get up, and pointed out the plant in which Changing Bear Maiden had hidden her vital organs. The boy ran to the place despite many obstacles that sprung up from the ground and he could hear her lungs breathing in the plant before him, and shot his arrow straight into the plant. The bear/woman fell to the ground, with a steam of blood flowing in two directions. The Wind told the boy that the two streams of blood could never meet, for it they did, his evil sister would be revived. The brave brother cut her breasts off, threw them into a pinon tree that had never borne fruit, and they became pine nuts; her tongue became catctus, and her vagina, the yucca fruit. He cut off her head and it became a bear and walked off into the woods, first promising only to attack to protect its species. The Wind helped him revive his siblings. They all built a new hut. Then the youngest brother went off to live at a place called Big Point on the Edge, which is in the shape of a Navajo hut, where he still is believed to reside today.
North Amercia (Navajo)
Once the domovoi, well known for braiding the manes of horses, took to braiding a maiden's hair every night. She never even owned a comb, but always looked quite lovely. But one day she decided to marry and to comb her long hair. On the morning of her wedding the bride was found dead. The domovoi is a powerful house spirit, and at night his cold hand upon one portends death. He also sometimes chokes people fatally while they sleep. Despite this, his warm soft touch at night always signals future good fortune. The domovoi is believed by some to have been a fallen angel, hurled to earth from heaven by the Archangel Michael. While other spirits landed in forest and water, the domovoi landed in the house. Two subspecies of the domovoi are the bannik and the ovinnik, both vicious and dangerous. The bannik is the spirit of the bathhouse and has been known to peel the skin off visitors. The ovinnik often burns down barns and generally waits until the owner is within. The domovoi is always better behaved than his demonic close cousins, for the ancient guardian role from whichhe came deeply influenced his temparment and he is inherently protective. He simple demands extreme loyalty.
Once there were two gatekeepers of the celestial world who refused entrance to the two sons of Brahma, the Creator, because of the way they were dressed. The sons happened to be sages and worthy of enormous respect and were so infuriated they cursed the gatekeepers to fall to earth and be born in the mortal world as demons. The curse was later modified to a fine period of three demon lifetimes (many millennia), after which the two would again ascend to the celestial world. The gatekeepers made their first demonic appearance on earth as the brothers, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. On the day of their birth, the earth trembled and a comet appeared on the horizon. As they grew they spread terror everywhere. The first brother, Hiranyaksha, met his death in a deluge of his own creation when he was killed and the world was saved by the gods. Hiranyakashipu lived on, determined to avenge his brother's murder at the hands of the gods. He took up eons of austerities to ear the tapas (superhuman powers) necessary for a battle. When he had finally accumulated enough power to demand a boon from Brahma, he tried to word it cleverly: "I seek the following boon: that I not meet my death at the hands of gods or created beings, and through no weapon of any kind, and not on earth or in the air, and not at day or night or inside our oustide my house!" And Brahma said: "Let it be so!" Thinking himself utterly invinvible, Hiranyakashipu let loose a reign of terror, tormenting both sages and ordinary humans. He said that all must henceforth worship him alone. Meanwhile, back at his mansion, his wife had a baby. Despite all paternal training, the boy refused to bow to evil or follow in his father's footsteps. Hiranyakashipu attempted to kill the saintly child thre times, but each time was thwarted by divine intervention. Sure that the child would grow up to be good unlike his other serpent son Hrada, Hiranyakashipu made one more effort to do the boy in, and nearly succeeded. As he sat just outside his house with a raised knife and the boy on his lap, Vishnu could stand it no more. Vishnu, in the terrible incarnation of Man-Lion, appeared. Sitting cross-legged on a small pile of hay at the doorway to the demon's mansion at twilight, the Man-Lion, not on the earth nor in the sky, and at a time that was not day nor night, neither inside nor oustide, destroyed the hiedous in-betweener, Hiranyakashipu. Of course, this was only one lifetime, and Hiranyakashipu had only two reincarnations to live out his sentence before ascending to the celestial world again.
Once a man outwitted a Basket Bearer by gathering small sticks from trees as he was being carried away int he basket. Slowly, passing trees and quietly snapping off twigs as he went by, the man piled wood in the basket until the load seemed heavy enough to subsitute for his own body so the Basket Bearer would not notice his absence. Then he reached up to a tree, held on to a limb, and slipped out of the basket. Isitwalangcenge kept going, unaware that he was carrying mere wood, assuming that the load was the man himself. When the Basket Bearer arrived at the rocks and dumped out his contents, he found no man, just a bundle of wood. The Basket Bearer was enraged, and rushed back to the man's village to retrieve his meal. Unable to find the man, he grabbed a young girl. However, the man who had escaped had told the entire village how he had managed to outsmart the demon as soon as he returned. The girl had listened carefully and she knew what to do. The demon fell for the same trick, and presumably moved on to easier hunting ground.
Once there was a young widow who wept constantly for her departed husband, grieving her loss, until one night, a liderc arrived in the form of a star. When it began landing directly above her house, and everybody in town saw the star vanish every night, rumors began that she was with a liderc. Her father warned her that if this gossip was true her visiotr was an unclean spirit, and she would waste away. At first she denied that she had a lover, but her father said she was looking paler and paler every day, and when she finally admitted it, her father insisted that she at least look to see if one of her visitor's legs resembled that of a goose. "If so," he said, "hide the boot he wears on his other leg." She looked, as her father told her, and lo and behold, her lover had the leg of a goose. So she hid his boot. This so infuriated the liderc he turned into flame and never returned. The widow was sick for a very long time afterward, but she finally recovered.
A young wife's husband left for the army. She was miserable until one night, without so much as a door opening, her "husband" appeared to comfort her. These visitations continued for a while, until one day the young wife confided in a neighbor that her husband visited her regularly, appearing in uniform. The neighbor told her it was impossible that this visitor was her husband and that he might be an unclean spirit. The neighbor was a wise woman and advised the wife to scatter ashes at the door and examine her visitor's footprints the morning after. That was how she discovered his one goose foot just in time, for she too had begun to wither away.
Once there was a farmer's son who was tormented nightly by a mare. One evening he asked a friend for help. Together they closed all the holes in his room except one through which the mare could slip in. As soon as the friend saw anything out of the ordinary he was to plug up that hole as well. He did this, and in the morning the farmer's son found a beautiful girl in his bed. She did not know where she had come from, no did he, but he was enchanted. The two were married and had many children. One day he showed her the hole through which she had slipped into his room. She slipped out of it and was never seen again.
Once a maiden of dazzling beauty named Pandora was created out of clay and water by the god Hephaestus on orders of Zeus. All the gods gave her gifts, put flowers in her hair, adorned her with jewels, and breathed life into her. Zeus then gave her a large vase containing destructive powers along with a warning never to open it, endowed her with curiousity, and sent her to humankind as a punishment. Pandora arrived on earth and once there was seized with curiousity; unable to resist opening the forbidden vase, she unsealed the lid. From the container flew hordes of miseries the dark spirits of greed, despair, envy, wrath blotting out all light with a multitude of wings. Pandora slammed the container shut while it still held a creature called Hope