Oliver of Paderborn, writing in about 1220, says that the Baltic peoples, before their conversion in the time of Pope Innocent III, walked in darkness and worshipped the pagan deities, 'Driades, Amadriades, Oreadas, Napeas, fHumides (Semideos?), Satiros, et Faunos'; their holy places were groves untouched by any axe, springs and trees, mountains and hills, rocks and valleys.43 The classicizing list of rustic gods is conventional, the first three being the same as those which Cosmas (above) ascribes to the Slavs, and we

41 South Slavonic *diva; Ukrainian bohyna, Polish boginka, Czech bohynka; VaUa (1992), 110 f.; U. Dukova, Orpheus 4 (1994), 6 f.

42 Grimm (1883-8), 436, 492, 1406, 1595; Unbegaun (1948), 427 f.; N. Reiter in Wb. d.. Myth.. i(2). 193, 203 f.; Vana (1992), 111 f.; E. J. W. Barber in Dexter-Polome (1997), 6-19.

cannot trust it as being an accurate typology of Baltic nymphs. But it is not to be doubted that the Balts recognized beings of this character. Among the pagan deities that Jakob Brodowski enumerates under 'Götze' in his German-Lithuanian dictionary, compiled in the first half of the eighteenth century, are 'Najades: Deiwaites, Göttinnen der Brünnen und Flüssen' (sic).44 Deivaites means literally '(little) goddesses'. There were evidently female water-sprites to whom the term was applied in Lithuania.

Another appellation of nymph-like creatures is Laümes. They are beautiful, with long fair hair, and good at spinning and weaving. They live in forests or near expanses of water and stones. They like bathing, and when sighted are usually naked. They sometimes have sexual relations with men, or even marry them, though the marriage never lasts. They can be malicious when offended. They are also in the habit of stealing children or substituting a changeling.45

A few of the Latvian songs refer to 'Daughters of the Sea', Juras meitas, who sit on the waves and weave bright and dark shawls that represent the visual effects seen from the shore.46 We might class them as sea nymphs, but they may be local poetic creations rather than Indo-European heritage.


We turn now to the male or mixed populations of the woods and mountains. Naturally there is a wide variety of these in the folklore and mythology of different peoples. A general account of all of them would not be profitable and cannot be attempted here. We are concerned to identify distinctive motifs such as may point to genetic relationships.

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