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Basque Mythology: Basajaun
The following was translated from an article originally in Spanish at the Encyclopedia Auñamendi.
Basajaun means «Lord of the forest».
The Basajaun is the spirit that inhabits the deepest forests or caves
situated in prominent places. He has a tall body, of human form, which
is covered in hair. His long mane falls before him to his knees,
covering his face, chest and stomach.
He is the protective spirit of the flocks. He gives shouts in the
mountains, when a storm approaches, so that the shepherds may withdraw
their sheep. By lurking around a pen or its surroundings, he keeps the
wolves from approaching. His presence is announced by the sheep who,
shaking, and ring the bells around their necks. Thus the shepherds can
go to sleep in peace, knowing that during that night or that day the
wolves, great enemies of the flocks, will not come to bother them.
Basajaun is represented at times as being horrific, gifted with
colossal strength and extraordinary agility. Other times he appears in
popular stories as the first farmer from whom man learned about the
cultivation of cereals and as the first blacksmith and the first
miller, from whom man stole the secret of making the saw, the axis of
the mill and how to weld the metals.
Reference: Vinson, Folk-Lore du Pays Basque (1883), p. 43. J. M. of
Barandiarán, Eusko-Folklore (1922); Basque Mythology (1960),
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