What is Fantasy Creature Friday? It’s a discussion where I will talk about a particular creature every week. And what book or book series I think of when that creature is mentioned. At the end of the post, you will also get to link up your own fantasy creature book reviews and discussions for others to wander through.
Thanks to Anya at On Star Ships And Dragon Wings for letting me borrow her ‘link your blog’ idea. She does a giveaway every Friday where you can win ARC’s and link up your reviews/discussions/giveaways. You should totally check it out after you’re done here!
This weeks creature is the:
There are many name variants for this creature. He is known as Koshei, Katschei, Koschei, Kashchei, Kashchey, and many others. Usually followed by “the Deathless” or “the Immortal”. The reason he is known as deathless or immortal, is because he cannot be killed. He has removed his own heart (or soul, depends on the origin of the myth), and hidden it away inside a number of animals. The usual order of things is that his heart is hidden inside a needle, which is inside an egg, which is inside a duck, which is inside a hare, which is inside a chest/crystal/gem/gold chunk, that is then buried under a tree, usually far away from the Katschei himself, such as on an island.
In the Firebird by Mercedes Lackey, the Katschei has hidden his heart (made of black, enchanted glass) inside a diamond. The diamond is inside a duck, the duck inside a rabbit, the rabbit inside a locked chest, which is kept atop the tallest oak tree in the Katschei’s garden, guarded by a dragon who is chained to the tree.
He also has kidnapped 12 of the most beautiful tsarinas in the world. They are held prisoner in his gardens, allowed to do only what he lets them do, and unable to escape. He is an evil sorcerer, using his captive maidens to lure young men into his lands so that he may torture them and turn them to stone.
The only way to kill the Katschei, is to break the heart of glass at his feet. But first of course, you have to get said heart. All the creatures the heart hides within, are still alive. So if you open the chest, the rabbit will run away. If you catch the rabbit and open it, the duck will fly free. If you open the duck, you must still break the diamond to break the glass heart, and the heart can only be broken when it is near the Katschei himself.
I’ve read about Katschei’s in many different stories, but for some reason was only able to find this one on my shelf. Have you read about Katschei? What is your favorite book with one in it?