Female Leshii are called Leshovikha. Descriptions of the Leshii apply to the Leshovikha too except where gender-specific. Leshii and Leshovikha inhabit a parallel universe within the forest. They are romantic spirits who dance within whirlwinds together.

Wanderers in the forest sometimes witness the Leshovikha giving birth. Wait respectfully until she’s finished, then, at an appropriate moment, cover the baby. If you happen to have a shawl or blanket, that’s perfect; if not, use a piece of your own clothing. Do not offer Christian prayers or make the sign of the cross over the baby as this enrages the mother. If these actions are performed graciously, the Leshovikha will offer you a gift:

• If you tell her that the opportunity to be of service is its own reward, your future will be filled with good fortune.

• If you request payment, she will give it to you: it will magically materialize in your hands but once you leave the forest, whatever was given will evaporate into ashes and dust.


Like their male counterparts, the Leshovikha are skilled shape-shifters who take many forms, most typically as an old hag with long pendulous breasts. When they get in her way, she flings them over her shoulders. She also manifests as a beautiful naked woman or as a thin, spectral woman dressed in a white sarafan, the traditional Russian folk dress.


Leshii; Vila


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.