Kikimora (Russian: кики́мора, IPA: [kʲɪˈkʲimərə]) is a legendary creature, a female house spirit in Slavic mythology, fin: Kikke Mörkö. When she inhabits a house, she lives behind the stove or in the cellar. The OED links "mora" with the "mare" of nightmare.
There are two different kinds of Kikimoras. The one that comes from the forest is married to the Domovoi. The other one comes from the swamp (Russian: кики́мора боло́тная), and she is married to Leshy. You can tell she's around by her wet footprints. When home builders wanted to do something harmful to the person buying the house, they would bring in Kikimora. Once inside, it is difficult to get her to leave.
The legend is the basis of Kikimora (op. 63), a tone poem for orchestra by Anatoly Lyadov. Lyadov wrote that she "grows up with a magician in the mountains. From dawn to sunset the magician’s cat regales Kikimora with fantastic tales of ancient times and faraway places, as Kikimora rocks in a cradle made of crystal. It takes her seven years to reach maturity, by which time her head is no larger than a thimble and her body no wider than a strand of straw. Kikimora spins flax from dusk and to dawn, with evil intentions for the world."
The Kikimora is mentioned by Russian "New Age" writer Vladimir Megre in The Space of Love, Book 3 of his "Ringing Cedars" series. Megre likens a man who marries unwisely based on looks and fashion to one who marries a Kikimora. A footnote in the English version describes the Kikimora as a malevolent female ghost said to attach itself to a particular house and disturb the inhabitants, males in particular. By extension, the term may also suggest an ugly woman in shabby clothing, ill-tempered and grumbling, striving to make life of her husband (and men in general) unbearable.
- "Mare". OED. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "Polish Supernatural Spirits". Archived from the original on 2009-10-26.
- Glass, Herbert. "Anatoly Liadov: Kikimora". Philpedia. Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Megré, Vladimir; Sharashkin, Dr. Leonid (ed.) (2008). The Space of Love (The Ringing Cedars, Book 3). Kahului, Hawaii: Ringing Cedars Press. p. 156. ISBN 0-9801812-2-4. OCLC 224907446.