Werewolf Russia

Smith, Elder & Co., London

Among the White Russians the wawkalak is a man who has incurred the wrath of the devil, and the evil one punishes him by transforming him into a wolf and sending him among his relations, who recognize him and feed him well. He is a most amiably disposed were-wolf, for he does no mischief, and testifies his affection for his kindred by licking their hands.

He cannot, however, remain long in any place, but is driven from house to house, and from hamlet to hamlet, by an irresistible passion for change of scene. This is an ugly superstition, for it sets a premium on standing well with the evil one.

The vlkodlak is transformed into a werewolf by the sorcery of another. It usually shies away from people. The Sloyakians merrily term a drunkard a vlkodlak, because, forsooth, he makes a beast of himself.

The Russians call the were-wolf oborot, which signifies “one transformed.” The following receipt is given by them for becoming one.

The bodark is another Russian name for the werewolf.

“He who desires to become an oborot, let him seek in the forest a hewn-down tree; let him stab it with a small copper knife, and walk round the tree, repeating the following incantation:–

On the sea, on the ocean, on the island, on Bujan,
On the empty pasture gleams the moon, on an ashstock lying
In a green wood, in a gloomy vale.
Toward the stock wandereth a shaggy wolf.
Horned cattle seeking for his sharp white fangs;
But the wolf enters not the forest,
But the wolf dives not into the shadowy vale,
Moon, moon, gold-horned moon,
Cheek the flight of bullets, blunt the hunters’ knives,
Break the shepherds’ cudgels,
Cast wild fear upon all cattle,
On men, on all creeping things,
That they may not catch the grey wolf,
That they may not rend his warm skin
My word is binding, more binding than sleep,
More binding than the promise of a hero!

“Then he springs thrice over the tree and runs into the forest, transformed into a wolf.” (1)

[1. SACHAROW: Inland, 1838, No. 17.]