Samodiva (aka Samovila) is a mythological creature, popular in Bulgarian folklore. The samodivi are usually depicted as exceptionally beautiful young women, with pale skin and flowing blonde hair. They are said to live in remote, sparsely populated locations, such as forests and mountains, usually close to rivers and lakes. They are believed to be the spirits of women, who have died virgins.
The samodiva is mostly considered hostile towards people. It is said that if a man sees a samodiva he will fall madly in love with her, only to be led to his death. Other times, the samodiva will make the person, who has seen her, go blind. Sometimes, though, the samodiva might also help lost travellers and guide them on their way.
The samodivi love music, and like to sing and dance in circles from dawn till dusk. They fear the sunlight, so as soon as the sun begins to rise, they run away and hide. Due to their connection with nature, the samodivi are said to be knowledgeable of many herbal potions and cures.
It is believed that if a man manages to steal a samodiva's veil, she will be forced to marry him and have children. However, as soon as she manages to find her veil, her magical powers return, and she runs away, returning to the other samodivi.
The samodivi are thought to appear in the world of the living only between 25th March and 29th August. The rest of the year they return to the fictional village of Zmeykovo, which is said to be located at the edge of the world, inaccessible to humans.
It is said that in order to protect themselves from a samodiva, a person should carry garlic, ash, incense, or a crucifix.