Daily Russian Folklore 3 - Pусалка - The Rusalka
Appearance: The specifics of the appearance of Rusalka depends on which part of Russia you ask. In the more temperate areas of Russia, you’ll often get that they are fair maidens, small in stature. However, in harsher areas, you’ll more often hear that they are large amazonian women. Regardless of the specifics, it is always agreed that they are very beautiful women. Their hair is perpetually wet and some say that if their hair dries out, they will die.
Description: Rusalka are kind of like your archetypal mermaid/naiad that most every culture has some form of. Rusalka are said to be the spirits of women who met an untimely death near or at a river or lake and are then bound to it as a spirit. Though they are usually trapped within this body of water, at night they are able to emerge from it. Generally they will comb their hair, sing, and dance to try to tempt men and children to join their merriment. However, the only way to get them to join permanently is to drown them. Some believe that the embrace or the laughter of a Rusalka can also kill a man. The Rusalka, while not necessarily malevolent, are often said to be most dangerous during Зелёные Святки, or Green Week.
Art: Rusalka by Konstantin Vasilyev