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Estonian Mythical Creatures

Estonian Mythical Creatures

Estonia is a country steeped in mythology and folklore, with a rich tradition of mythical creatures that have been passed down through generations. These creatures are often associated with nature and have played a significant role in Estonian culture for centuries.

One of the most well-known creatures in Estonian mythology is the metsik, which is a type of wood elf that is said to live in forests and woodlands across the country. These creatures are known for their ability to transform themselves into trees, birds, or other animals, and are often associated with the natural world.

Another creature that is commonly found in Estonian mythology is the kratt, which is a type of magical creature that is created by its master from household items such as brooms, rakes, or wooden sticks. The kratt is brought to life by making a pact with the devil and is used primarily to steal goods for its master. These creatures are often depicted as mischievous and cunning, and have been a part of Estonian folklore for centuries.

Origins of Estonian Mythology

Estonian mythology is a rich and complex tapestry of beliefs and legends that have been passed down through generations of Estonian people. The origins of Estonian mythology can be traced back to the pre-Christian era, when the Estonian people held a deep reverence for nature and the spirits that they believed inhabited it.

Pre-Christian Beliefs

Before the arrival of Christianity in Estonia, the Estonian people believed in a wide array of deities and spirits. They believed that the world was populated by a host of supernatural beings, including gods, goddesses, and various spirits of nature. These spirits were believed to have the power to influence the lives of humans, both positively and negatively.

One of the most important figures in Estonian mythology was the World Tree, or Ilmapuu. The World Tree was believed to be the center of the universe, around which the heavens and earth revolved. It was also believed to be the gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

Germanic and Scandinavian Influences

In the centuries following the arrival of Christianity in Estonia, the country was subject to a number of invasions and occupations by various Germanic and Scandinavian powers. These invaders brought with them their own beliefs and mythologies, which gradually began to influence Estonian mythology.

One of the most significant Germanic influences on Estonian mythology was the belief in Kratts, or magical creatures that could be created by a pact with the devil. Kratts were believed to be able to perform a wide range of tasks for their masters, including stealing goods and performing manual labor.

Similarly, Scandinavian influences on Estonian mythology included the belief in various mythical creatures, such as wood elves and trolls. These creatures were believed to inhabit the forests and mountains of Estonia, and were said to possess a wide range of magical powers.

Overall, the origins of Estonian mythology are a complex and fascinating topic, reflecting the country’s long and storied history. Despite the many influences that have shaped Estonian mythology over the centuries, it remains a unique and vibrant part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Major Mythical Creatures of Estonia

Estonia is a country rich in folklore and mythical tales. The country has a long history of storytelling, and its tales are filled with magical creatures that have captured the imagination of generations. Here are some of the most famous mythical creatures of Estonia:


Kratt is a creature that is created by farmers to do their bidding. According to Estonian folklore, a farmer can create a Kratt by making a pact with the devil. The Kratt is then created out of household items such as brooms, rakes, and pitchforks. The farmer must then give the Kratt a task, and it will complete it in exchange for a small offering. Kratts are known to be mischievous and often cause trouble for their owners.


Vanapagan is a mythical creature that is often depicted as a trickster. He is known for his cunning and his ability to outsmart his opponents. Vanapagan is often portrayed as a shapeshifter and can take on many different forms. He is also known for his love of riddles and often challenges people to solve them.


Haldjas is a fairy-like creature that is often associated with nature. She is known to be a protector of the forest and is often depicted as a beautiful woman with wings. Haldjas is said to have the power to heal and is often called upon to help those who are sick or injured. She is also known for her love of music and is said to be able to play the most beautiful melodies on her flute.

In conclusion, Estonia is a country rich in folklore and mythical tales. Its stories are filled with magical creatures that have captured the imagination of generations. The Kratt, Vanapagan, and Haldjas are just a few of the many mythical creatures that can be found in Estonian folklore.

Water Spirits and Beings


In Estonian mythology, Näkineid is a water spirit that takes the form of a beautiful woman with long hair and a fish tail. She is often seen swimming in rivers and lakes, and is known for her enchanting voice that lures men to the water’s edge. According to legend, Näkineid can only be seen by those she wishes to reveal herself to. She is a symbol of the power and beauty of nature, and is revered by many Estonians.


Vetehinen is another water spirit in Estonian mythology, but unlike Näkineid, he takes the form of a merman. He is said to have a human upper body and a fish tail, and is often depicted as a handsome and powerful figure. According to legend, Vetehinen lives in underwater palaces and is the guardian of fish and other aquatic creatures. He is also known for his ability to control the weather, and is often called upon by fishermen to ensure a good catch.

Water spirits and beings play an important role in Estonian mythology, and are often seen as powerful and mysterious entities that embody the natural world. From Näkineid’s enchanting voice to Vetehinen’s control over the weather, these creatures are a testament to the beauty and power of nature.

Forest Spirits and Entities


Metsavaim is a forest spirit in Estonian mythology. According to the legend, Metsavaim is a guardian of the forest who watches over the wildlife and protects the trees. The spirit can take many forms, such as a bird, a deer, or a wolf. Estonians believe that if someone disrespects the forest, the Metsavaim will appear to them and punish them. The appearance of Metsavaim is often seen as a good omen, indicating that the forest is healthy and thriving.


Puuk is a forest entity in Estonian mythology. It is a small, humanoid creature that lives in trees and is said to be very mischievous. Puuk is known for playing tricks on people who enter the forest, such as stealing their belongings or leading them astray. Estonians believe that Puuk can be appeased by leaving small offerings, such as bread or milk, at the base of a tree. If Puuk is satisfied, it will leave the person alone and may even offer them guidance through the forest.

In Estonian mythology, the forest is seen as a sacred place, full of life and magic. The forest spirits and entities, such as Metsavaim and Puuk, are seen as guardians of the forest, ensuring that it remains healthy and thriving. Estonians believe that by respecting the forest and its inhabitants, they can live in harmony with nature and enjoy its many blessings.

Household Spirits

In Estonian folklore, there are various household spirits that are believed to inhabit homes and farms. These spirits are often mischievous but can also be helpful to those who treat them well. Two of the most well-known household spirits in Estonian mythology are Kodukäijad and Tont.


Kodukäijad, which translates to “home walkers,” are small, invisible spirits that are said to live in every house. They are believed to be friendly and helpful, but also mischievous. Kodukäijad are known to move objects around the house, hide things, and make strange noises. However, they can also help with household chores and bring good luck to the family.

To appease Kodukäijad, Estonians often leave small offerings such as bread, salt, and milk on the kitchen table. It is also believed that if a family treats their Kodukäijad well, they will be protected from evil spirits and bad luck.


Tont is another type of household spirit in Estonian mythology. Unlike Kodukäijad, Tont is not a friendly spirit. It is said to be a malevolent spirit that causes trouble and mischief in the home. Tont is believed to be a ghost or demon that has been summoned by someone in the family.

To ward off Tont, Estonians often use protective symbols such as crosses and garlic. They also avoid talking about Tont or saying its name out loud, as it is believed to attract the spirit’s attention.

Overall, household spirits are an important part of Estonian folklore. While some are helpful and friendly, others are mischievous and dangerous. Estonians have developed various traditions and beliefs to protect themselves from these spirits and ensure good luck in their homes.

Legendary Heroes and Beings


Kalevipoeg is the central hero of Estonian mythology and the protagonist of the Estonian national epic. He is a giant warrior who embarks on various adventures such as battles against demons, sorcerers, and foreign invaders, as well as quests for wisdom and power. Kalevipoeg is known for his immense strength, and his weapon of choice is a sword called Tõnn. He is a symbol of national identity and pride for Estonians.

Suur Tõll

Suur Tõll is a legendary hero in Estonian mythology who is known for his immense strength and size. He is said to be a giant who lived on the island of Saaremaa and protected it from invaders. According to legend, Suur Tõll could lift boulders with ease and hurl them at his enemies. He was also known for his bravery and cunning in battle. Despite his intimidating appearance, Suur Tõll was said to be a kind and gentle giant who cared deeply for his people.

Rituals and Protection

Estonian mythology is filled with stories of mythical creatures that were believed to protect people from harm. These creatures were often associated with rituals and amulets that were used to ward off evil spirits and protect individuals from harm.

Magic and Spells

One of the most common ways of protecting oneself in Estonian mythology was through the use of magic and spells. These spells were often recited by shamans or other individuals who were believed to have the power to communicate with the spirit world. The spells were used to call upon the protection of various mythical creatures, such as metsik, the elf of the woodlands, or the leelo, the spirit of song.

Amulets and Talismans

Another way of protecting oneself in Estonian mythology was through the use of amulets and talismans. These objects were often believed to have magical powers that could protect the wearer from harm. For example, the cult of the sacred trees held that trees, particularly oaks, held a special place in Estonian beliefs. They were often considered the dwelling places of spirits and gods and were associated with divine power and protection. As a result, amulets and talismans made from oak wood were believed to be particularly potent.

Overall, Estonian mythology is rich with stories of mythical creatures and rituals that were believed to protect individuals from harm. Whether through the use of magic and spells or amulets and talismans, the Estonian people believed that they could call upon the protection of these creatures to keep them safe from harm.