Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Ukrainian Witch in Nikolay Gogol's Short Horror Story "Viy" - Pannochka

I am sorry but you will have to go and check out my latest post about the Ukrainian witch in order to have a link to this one :) Just kidding of course. I am going to tell you what happened after the crone jumped on Homa's back and bewitched him to take her...out in the fields and forest at night! Gogol' knows how to ignite fear... 
In a state of bewitchment Homa sees the nature around him differently. He is able to perceive every single flower, feel the smell of the soil, and the Moon appears to be the Sun to him as it is so bright. Homa's senses are at  the limit, "He felt a tedious, unpleasant and at the same time sweet feeling, rising to his heart". This state of his I can compare with a great Margarita's flight scene, in which heroin's perception of the actuality becomes sharper, transforms and seems like another dimension. There are even more reminiscences with Bulgakov's writing. Like that of when Homa notices a mermaid swimming in the pond, and mermaids are one of the first creatures Margarita sees when arriving at Sabbath.
Our hero though is afraid of what is happening to him (opposite to Margarita), he starts saying some prayers or some kind of exorcism spells, when feels that the witch is no more gets tight hold of him. Homa manages to snatch a log lying on the ground and starts beating the witch for all one is worth. The witch screams, curses, but fianlly falls on the ground with words "Oh, I cannot take it anymore"", when it is already the hour of dawn. However when Homa looks at the defeated witch he sees before him... a beauty, with tousled luxuriously scythe, with long, like arrows eyelashes. Insensitively she threw the white naked hands on both sides and moaned, lifted up her eyes full of tears".
The hero, tormented by the feeling of guilt and strange anxiety, flees the place, with a desire to reach Kiev (a capital of Ukraine) and never be seen again in this spot. But another Russian writer told us, where there is a crime, there is a punishment ...
Homa reaches a nearby settlement and spends some time in drinking and thinking in a pub... when accidentally hears that the daughter of one of the richest centurions who resides on a farm just few kilometers away from Kiev, "came back home from a  walk all beaten up, had barely strength to limp his father's house, is now near death; and in the hour before death she has expressed a desire that the dirge and pray for her to be read for the next three days after the death by one of the Kiev seminarians: Homa Brut".
Pannochka (1) by nordlige-tale Deviantart

To Be Continued...
1. Pa'nnochka (Rus. панночка) diminutive from panna - unmarried young woman, unmarried daughter of a pan (meaning "gentleman"). Pan, panna and other words with the same root, are the words of Slavic languages like Polish, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Belorussian. However only Polish language seems  to have  preserved these words for usage in polite or formal communication.

Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and More.


  1. Very interesting!! I can't wait to read what is next!

    1. Thanks! I hope you do have patience to know the whole story :) Because I found that one -two posts won't be enough...hmmm

  2. The things we do when we assume instead of asking or investigating. I almost feel bad for Homa (almost). Can't wait to see your words on how he gets off the bind. I LOVE how you retell a tale, my friend ;-D

  3. Oh,the insecurity and fear in humans,that make us violent against each other! Only God can save us from it.