Deathless Koschei


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English: Koshchei the Deathless. An illustrati...

English: Koshchei the Deathless. An illustration to the fairy tale Mariya Morevna. Русский: Кащей Бессмертный. Иллюстрация к сказке «Марья Моревна». (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ivan Bilibin: Koshchey the Deathless

In Russian mythology, Koschei (Russian: Коще́й, Koshchey, also Kashchei or Kashchey or Kościej (Polish)) is an evil person of ugly senile appearance, menacing principally young women. Koschei is also known as Koschei the Immortal or Koschei the Deathless (Russian: Коще́й Бессме́ртный), as well as Tzar Koschei. As is usual in Russian transliterations, there are numerous other spellings, such as Koshchei, Kashchej and Kaschei. The spelling in other Slavic languages (like Polish “Kościej”) suggests that his name may be derived from “kost” (rus. кость pol. kość=bone); thus suggesting a skeleton-like appearance.

Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. His soul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die. If the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will bolt away. If it is killed, the duck will emerge and try to fly off. Anyone possessing the egg has Koschei in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick and immediately loses the use of his magic. If the egg is tossed about, he likewise is flung around against his will. If the needle is broken (in some tales this must be done by specifically breaking it against Koschei’s forehead), Koschei will die.


Viktor Vasnetsov: Kashchei the Immortal (1917–...

Viktor Vasnetsov: Kashchei the Immortal (1917–1928). Oil on canvas. Viktor Vasnetsov Home-Museum, Moscow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Viktor Vasnetsov Kashchey the Immortal

Other uses of the name

External links



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