The domovik is a protective spirit or that can be found in Slavic and Russian folklore (known as domovoi in Russia), it takes the form of a small old man with a distinctive grey beard who lives behind or under the stove, every Russian home is said to have a resident domovik spirit.
Referred to as ‘the Grandfather’ or just ‘He’ but never by a personal name, the spirit is said to be that of the ancestor who originally founded the family, he moves with them from house to house, when the family moves home, embers from the fire in the old stove are carried to the new one where it is lit to welcome the domovik into his new place of residence.
It is believed that the domovik will watch over the family, guard the house and protect them against evil spirits or misfortune and will even help out with odd jobs or chores at night when the family are asleep, much like the Brownie house spirits of Scottish folklore, like Brownies, the domovik is also said to be pleased by gifts of food left for him, especially dairy items.
If the family do something to offend or displease the domovik, he can turn quite mischievous, doing things like moving objects, hiding things and upsetting furniture. If offended very badly, he may burn the house down, therefore breaking his ties with the family.
The belief in domovik spirits is one that has survived to modern times and much respect is still given to them in many modern homes today, allowances are made for the domovik’s activity and great care is taken to keep them happy.