Zevana

Zevana (Devana)

Zevana is the patroness of animals and hunting. It was very revered by the Slavs who lived among the forests, and other peoples who hunted for animals: vekshi (squirrel fur) and martens were in ancient times not only clothing, but also were used instead of money.

Zevana was depicted in a rich marten fur coat, trimmed with squirrels. Instead of an epancha (outer garment), a bearskin was thrown over it, and the animal’s head served as a cap. Zevana is young and beautiful; fearlessly she rushes on her greyhound horse through the woods and drives the fleeing beast.

Hunters and hunters prayed to the goddess, asking her for happiness in hunting, and in gratitude they brought part of their prey.

Myth about Kornouh (Gnawed ear)

A young hunter woke up one day at dawn in the forest to the roar of many animals. He came out of his hut — and was stunned: hundreds of hares, foxes, moose, raccoons, wolves, squir- rels, chipmunks appeared!.. He drew his bow and began to shoot the animals. Already a whole mountain filled, but still the excitement of hunting could not calm down. And the animals run and run past, as if bewitched. And then a horsewoman in military garb appeared.

— How dare you, villain, exterminate my animals? What is it? she asked sternly. — Why do you need mountains of meat? Everything will rot!

The blood in the young man leapt up from insulting words, he roared in response:
— But who are you to tell me? As much as I want, so much and put the animals. Not your con- cern — my prey!
— I am Zevana, let it be known to you. Now take one last look at the sun.
— Why is that? — the hunter braves.
— Because you’ll be the prey.
And the bear appeared, as if from under the ground, next to the hunter! He knocked the poor man to the ground, and all the other animals — both large and small — swooped down, began to tear his clothes into small shreds and torment his body.

The hapless hunter was just about to say goodbye to the white light, when suddenly he heard a voice like thunder: «Spare him, wife!»
With an effort, the wounded sufferer raised his head and vaguely saw next to Zevana a giant in a green cloak and a pointed cap.

— «Yeah, why Svyatobor?» — Zevana shook her head. «That’s how many animals he killed un- necessarily. I was driving them from a nearby forest, where a fire would break out at night, I wanted to save them, and this scoundrel got in our way. Death to him!»
«Not everyone is a villain who is a fool,» — Svyatobor grinned in his green beard. — «In the spring, when the ice broke, he collected hares on ice floes and half-submerged islands in his boat and let them out into the forest. Spare the poor man, little wife!»

Then the hunter lost consciousness. When he woke up, the moon was shining. The clearing was empty, and he was lying in a pool of blood. Only the next morning he crawled to his native village — the people shied away from him: there was not a scrap of clothing, there was no living place on the body, and half of the ear was bitten off.

Only a month later the hunter somehow came to himself, but for a long time he was not in his mind. But even when he finally recovered, he never set foot in the forest again. He began to weave baskets of willow twigs, and so he fed until the end of his days. Until the end of days called him in the village — Kornouh (Gnawed ear).