Most fairy tales and folk tales introduce a reader to an assortment of magical creatures and beings, from fairies and nymphs and unicorns to dragons and queer beasts and mermaids. However, of all places, Eastern Europe often ignores fantasy in pursuit of a closer enemy: the Devil and his consorts. Throughout almost all of these stories, demons and devils disguise themselves as ordinary humans in order to create mischief among mortals. But more often than not, a paradoxical question arises. In some tales, the Devil is almost sympathetic about his “job,” punishing sinful humans with a sense of righteousness and wicked pleasure in achieving justice.
Who is this figure, then? Personified evil? A symbol of evil? A fallen angel? An instrument of God? An immortal “hired” to keep humans in check? Or just supernatural trouble?