Koshey the Immortal

The Deathless Sorcerer of Slavic legends.

Koshey the Immortal is a figure in Russian fairy tales and folklore, where he appears as the main antagonist, and a formidable enemy. He is, in essence, an immortal lich, whose lifeforce is bound to an object that is exceedingly difficult to capture. For example, his soul is hidden in an egg, the egg is in the duck, the duck is in the hare, the hare is in the chest, the chest is buried or chained up on the far island. Koshey often takes the role of a malevolent rival father figure, who competes for the hero’s love interest or entraps her.

The origins of his character are lost in history. Early accounts suggest that he could have been, like most black magicians in history, a warlord. His name appears as Koshey 12th century Slavic chronicles where it refers to an official during a military campaign. Similar terms exist in Ukrainian, where Koshovoy denotes the head of the ‘Kosh’ or a military encampment.

The tales of Kostey can be traced back to Khan Konchak, the Kuman leader who fought the then Christianized Slavs and would be, as a Pagan sorcerer, demonized in later accounts. His last recorded appearance in Russian chronicles appears during the 1203 capture of Kyiv, which would place him at 100 years old. At that time, that would make him be remembered by almost six generations. Koschei’s life-protecting spell may be derived from traditional Turkic amulets – not only were these oval (egg) shaped, but they would often contain arrowheads, just like the folkloric tales speak of a needle in Koschei’s magical egg.

The most prominent feature among his magical powers is his protection against being killed, hence his name “Deathless”. He can also cast a sleep spell that can be broken only by playing an enchanted instrument. He is said to ride a three- or seven-legged horse, he may have tusks or fangs, and may possess a variety of magic objects, like cloaks and rings, that a hero is sent to obtain. When a princess rejected his offer of marriage, he turned her into a snake.

Anima Noira

Metaphysical Authoress. Harlot. Priestess. Demonatrix. Photo Model and Dangerous Writer. Keeping the Dark Arts alive is what I do, and I appreciate your support.

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