Pronunciation : (VEE-la)
Variations: Vile, Vily, Wila
In the vampiric lore of Lithuania there is a type of vampiric fay called a veles that is created when a woman who has been frivolous or idle her whole life finally dies. When it returns, its true form is that of a cloudlike spirit, but it can assume the appearance of a beautiful young woman with long, flowing HAIR and the most beautiful-sounding voice ever heard. Its voice is so alluring and memorable that it causes anyone who has heard it to lose all concerns and thoughts for anything else, including the need to drink, eat, or sleep, for several days. As her prey is typically men, the veles usually appears provocatively dressed or naked.
Veles only ever attack when the mood suits them, using its skill of dance and song to lure a man off into the woods where it will drain his life from him (see ENERGY VAMPIRE). A ring of deep and rich grass is left behind where the veles danced. Walking upon it brings bad luck (see FEAR GORTAGH).
Like the SAMODIVA from Bulgarian lore, the veles is a fierce warrior, riding upon deer or a stag, using a bow and arrow when in combat or to hunt. It is so powerful that it shakes the ground when it enters into a physical altercation. In addition to being a warrior and possessing the gift of prophecy, the veles has the ability to magically heal and shape-shift into a falcon, snake, swan, and wolf.
Living in sacred caves, trees, and wells, and receiving offerings of cakes, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, and ribbons will keep it happy enough to not want to hunt. From time to time a veles can be persuaded to lend its assistance to a human, but no amount of bribery can convince it—it must be in the mood to be predisposed to helping already. Any vow that is given to a veles must be taken extremely seriously, as the veles will kill anyone who breaks a promise to it.
If a feather can be stolen from the veles while it is in one of its bird forms, it will be greatly weakened, so much so that if it is ever able to regain possession of the feather, it will quickly flee the region. However, if a single HAIR is pulled from its head, the veles will either instantly revert to its true form or die.
- Alexander, Mythology of All Races, 299;
- Jakobson, Selected Writings, 36 39, 4546;
- Mac Culloch, Celtic Mythology, 300 301;
- Mac Dermott, Bulgarian Folk Customs, 14, 65, 184