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Rusalka is a water nymph, a female spirit in Slavic mythology. The original "rusalka" was an appellation used by Pagan Slavic tribes, who linked them with fertility and did not consider rusalki evil before the nineteenth century. They came out of the water in the spring to transfer life-giving moisture to the fields and thus helped nurture the crop. In nineteenth century versions, the rusalka is an unquiet being who is no longer alive, associated with the unclean spirit and is dangerous. It is accounted by most stories that the soul of a young woman who had died in or near a river or a lake came back to haunt that waterway. This undead rusalka is not invariably malevolent, and will be allowed to die in peace if her death is avenged. Her main purpose is, however, to lure young men, seduced by either her looks or her voice, into the depths of said waterways, where she would entangle their feet with her long red hair and submerge, her body would instantly become very slippery, therefore disallowing the victim to cling on to it for reaching the surface. She would then wait until the victim drowns, or, on some occasions, tickle them to death as she laughs. It is also believed by a few accounts that Rusalki can change their appearance to match that reflecting the tastes of men they are about to seduce, although generally a rusalka is considered to represent universal beauty. Rusalki were believed to often exist in groups.
- 1.10 The Mourning After (mentioned only)