Folklore

Folklore: Bukavac

Stay away from the water

Today I want to tell you about the Bukavac.

Not a lot is known about the Bukavac in all honesty, beyond that, it lives in bodies of clear water, such as lakes and rivers. Generally, it is imagined as a large six-legged creature with large horns, and its favourite method of hunting is apparently strangulation.

Interpretations of this creature differ slightly, not surprisingly given that there’s not a lot of information out there in the first place. Some have it looking toad-like, others envision it as much larger and give it an almost dragon or crocodile-like design.

In several tellings, the creatures tend to lurk in water, much in the manner of crocodiles and alligators, with their horns looking like driftwood. Some descriptions have them as being ungainly on land due to the six legs, but others have them being extremely fast because of this. Consistency seems to be an issue.

It is Slavic in origin and appears today mostly in games, in particular roleplay type games where it is used as a standard monster for a party to face. They don’t seem to be overly popular or even that well known which makes them excellent creatures to use in fiction as they are so flexible.

Due to the lack of information and conflicts with the information that does exist it is difficult to say why people invented the Bukavac, possibly to explain deaths near water, or people falling into water and becoming trapped and entangled in plants. It is truly impossible to tell, but regardless we’ve been gifted with an interesting creature and given a hell of a lot of freedom of interpretation.  

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