Two folktales (Vampire beings in Greek folktales)


  • Aggeliki Velissariou Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece



Greek vampires, Greek folklore, Lamia, Gello, folk tales


This paper attempts to elaborate how the vampire theme is conceptualized in Greek folktales. It’s a case study of the Greek folk tales: “Gelloudi” and “The Lamia bride” found in the compilation Paramythokores (2002). The folktale complies with a strict formulaic style of oral narration and the most time-resilient elements of storytelling are the motifs that create the story. We find similar or echoing motifs in folktales globally; some motifs are darker than others, enhancing the agony and thrill of storytelling. Concerning the Greek folktale, the research led to the classification of six dark motifs. Bloodsucking creatures such as Strigla (in Latin: Strigula, Strix), Gello (gelloudi) and Lamia are found in the dark motif of the supernatural. The tales, in this case study, are horror stories, in a sense, but they evolve in a broad form of narration, depriving the reader of gruesome details and delivering a cathartic ending. The vampire theme is not dominating in the first folktale as a result of the combination of three folktale types, whereas the second one focuses solely on this theme. In both cases the creatures are female attacking animals, men and community, symbolizing the heavy price of the birth of a girl in the family, as it was perceived in these traditional communities. A baby girl and a new bride, attack the world of men. They are powerful and feared, they are ‘horse-eaters’ symbolizing the threat of depriving the established status for men, first by eating their horse and then by eating them.

Author Biography

Aggeliki Velissariou, Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Kindergarten teacher, M.S. in “Cultural Studies and Children’s Learning Environments” from AUTH