16 September 2014

#722 Vilnius, Lithuania

Eglė the Queen of Serpents, alternatively Eglė the Queen of Grass Snakes (LithuanianEglė žalčių karalienė), is a Lithuanian folk tale.

Eglė the Queen of Serpents is considered one of the most archaic and best-known Lithuanian fairy tales and the richest in references of Baltic mythology. Over a hundred slightly diverging versions of the plot have been collected. Its multi-layered mythological background has been an interest of Lithuanian and foreign researchers of Indo-European mythologyGintaras Beresnevičius considered it being a Lithuanian theogonic myth. Interestingly, the tale features not only human–reptile shapeshifting, but an irreversible human–tree shapeshifting as well.

Eglė is both a popular female name in Lithuania and also a noun meaning spruce (Picea). The serpents (žaltys) of the tale are grass snakes in Lithuanian, but because they inhabit the sea, the word may mean a mythical water snake.

Date of Issue: March 17, 2012 - Lithuanian Red Book

Thank you, Ilona !

Sent on: September 8, 2014
Received on: September 10, 2014

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