Legends of cats
Cats have long been considered unusual creatures – cunning, insidious, connected with otherworldly forces. Cats often became the characters of myths, legends and legends.
Legends of the Slavs
The Slavs have a close connection of these animals with brownies. They could turn into cats or talk to them. It was also believed that brownies adore milk, which cats willingly give them, because they love mice more.
In Pushkin's poem "Ruslan and Lyudmila" there is a "scientist cat", he tells fairy tales and sings songs. In real Slavic legends, this character named the Cat Bayun looked somewhat different. It was a monstrous animal that sat on an iron pole and lured the heroes with its fairy tales and fables. And when they, having listened to his stories, fell asleep, the cat devoured them. However, Bayun could be tamed, and then he became a friend and even a healer – his fairy tales had a healing effect.
In the works of Pavel Bazhov, many Ural legends have been preserved, among which there are stories about an Earth Cat. It was believed that she lived underground and from time to time exposed her bright red, fire-like ears to the surface. Where these ears were seen, there, then, a treasure is buried. Scientists believe that the legend arose under the impression of sulfurous lights that burst out of the mountain voids.
Legends of the Scandinavian peoples
The Icelanders have long known the Yule cat. He lives with a terrible cannibal witch who kidnaps children. It was believed that the Yule cat devours anyone who did not have time to get woolen clothes during Yule (Icelandic Yuletide). In fact, the Icelanders invented this legend specifically for their children to force them to help them in caring for sheep, wool from which was at that time the main source of income for Icelanders.
In the Elder Edda, it is told that cats were sacred animals of Freya, one of the main Scandinavian goddesses. Two cats were harnessed to her heavenly chariot, in which she loved to ride. These cats were big, fluffy, had tassels on their ears and looked like lynxes. It is believed that Norwegian forest cats descended from them – the national treasure of this country.
Cats in the land of Pyramids
In ancient Egypt, these animals were surrounded by religious honor. The sacred city of Bubastis was dedicated to them, in which there were many cat statues. And the patron saint of cats was the goddess Bastet, who had a complex and unpredictable character. Bastet was the patroness of women, the goddess of fertility, an assistant during childbirth. Another divine cat belonged to the supreme god Ra and helped him fight the terrible snake Apop.
Such a strong reverence for cats in Egypt was not an accident. After all, these animals rid the barns of mice and snakes, preventing the threat of starvation. In arid Egypt, cats were a real salvation. It is known that cats were first tamed not in Egypt, but in more eastern regions, but Egypt was the first country in which these animals achieved such great popularity.
Jews in ancient times rarely dealt with cats, so there were no legends about them for a long time. However, the Sephardim (Jews of Spain and Portugal) have stories that Lilith, Adam's first wife, turned into a cat. It was a monster that attacked babies and drank their blood.