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Poludnica or Pscipolnitsa is a noon demon in Slavic mythology.

Etymology

Referred to as Południca in Polish, Полудница (Poludnica) in Serbian, Polednice in Czech, Poludnica in Slovak, Полудница (Poludnitsa) in Bulgarian, and Полудница (Poludnitsa) in Russian, she can be referred to in English as "Lady Midday".

Description

Poludnica was usually pictured as a young woman dressed in white that roamed field bounds. She assailed folk working at noon causing heatstrokes and aches in the neck. Sometimes she even caused madness.

Behavior

Pscipolnitsa, who makes herself more evident in the middle of hot summer days, takes the form of whirling dust clouds and carries a scythe or shears, but it's likely that the shears would be of an older style, and not akin to modern scissors. She will stop people in the field to ask them difficult questions or engage them in conversation. If anyone fails to answer a question or tries to change the subject, she will cut off their head or strike them with illness. She may appear as an old hag or beautiful woman, or a 12-year-old girl; and she was useful in scaring children away from valuable crops. She is only seen on the hottest part of the day and is a personification of a sun-stroke.

Local folklore

In Wendish mythology, Prezpoldnica (in Lower Sorbian, Pripoldnica in Upper Sorbian) is known as Mittagsfrau (Lady Midday) among German speakers of Eastern Germany’s Lusatia (Sorbian Lužica, German Lausitz) and in the now only German-speaking parts of what used to be the larger region of Old Lusatia, whose capital used to be Zhorjelc (German Görlitz, Polish Zgorzelec).


See also

Farther north and west in formerly predominantly Slavic-speaking areas of Germany, especially in the state of Brandenburg (Low Saxon Branneborg, Serbian Braniborska), a related mythological spirit appears to be the Roggenmuhme (“lady of the rye”) that makes children disappear when they search for flowers in among the tall grain plants on hot summer days. In the Altmark, it is the Regenmöhme “with her heat” that will abduct ill-behaved children, and in the formerly Polabian-speaking heath region around Lunenburg (German Lüneburg) in Lower Saxony), the Low Saxon (“Low German”) name of this bugbear is Kornwief (formerly spelled Kornwyf, meaning woman of the corn or lady of the grain plants).