The Domovoi is the divinity of the house in Slavic pagan tradition. It was disrespectful to call him by his full name, so he was known as Grandfather, or the master of the house. Generally, he was invisible, but it is said that he is vaguely man-like, but with long, silky hair all over his body, and sometimes horns and a tail. Other times, he might appear as a domestic animal.

Domovoi was generally good-natured, as he grew to love his home, but he could be mischievious. A bag of oats mysteriously gone missing was blamed on the neighbor's Domovoi. He loved to live right next to the stove or door, so it was important never to sleep there or he would grow angry. If the inhabitants of a house moved, it was necessary to place a slice of bread at the door of the new dwelling so that the old Domovoi would follow, or a new one would be lured in. However, never must two Domovoi try to live in the same house, because they would fight, banging pots and scaring the livestock.

Domovoi is the source of the noises of a house. He grumbles and whispers and groans, sounds that were said to be omens of either good or ill. If someone was about to die in the family, he wept. If a wife was to be beaten by her husband, he tugged her hair in warning. It was necessary to keep the house clean and neat, because he played tricks on lazy owners.

His wife, the Domovichka, lived in the cellar and helped the wife of the house with chores.


Sources: New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. New York: Hamlyn Puplishing Group, Ltd. 1974.

"Domovoi." Readings. vis. 02-09-04. (

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