How Fables and Legends Get Started: Yankee mermaids have stolen the lake
Religious Fables, Folklore, Legends, and Stories
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Submitted by: Yuri Klitsenko

You wrote: "This is fascinating. Is there any follow-up on what actually happened? The underground cavity seems to be the best explanation."

Why not? The most interesting is that Yankee mermaids have stolen the lake in the very same area which is close to the river Oka and where the lake of Rusaki sunken monastery is located.

Now in Bolotnikovo scientists found waters in an underground cave 100 meters below the ground level.

Legends of Dedovo inform about sunken monastery of Rusaki, underground caves and rivers.

Before and after my journey to Dedovo I read scholarly writings which argue that there is no underground lakes and caves in that area and all these stories are pure inventions of local folk fantasy.

The story about sunken monastery is only one of many Dedovo legends - there is also a story about Tatar girl adventures in underground caves, etc.

You wrote: "Do the people really believe that someone could actually steal their lake?"

Normally Russian farmers would blame demons and mermaids for stealing a lake etc.

Why Rusaki monastery had sunken? Folklore explain that it happened because monks were involved in romantic relations with mermaids.

After seeing American violence films and the Abu Ghraib Prison Photos, some Russians may think that Americans are much more dangerous than demons and mermaids.


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Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow.  He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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