The ancient Greeks apart from the twelve Gods of Olympus also believed in minor Gods and Goddesses.

neraidAmongst these were the “NYMPHS”. The sea “NYMPHS” called “NERAIDS” were beautiful young girls who sat, walked, danced or ran on top of the waves.  Sometimes they sat on the rocks and dried their long and beautiful hair.  They were always happy singing and laughing and accompanied POSEIDON and the other minor sea-Gods.

Land-NYMPHS also existed. They were equally beautiful as the sea-NYMPHS and were Godesses representing plant growth and fertility.  Some of these remained in the mountains and were known as “ORIADS”, from the Greek word “OROS” meaning mountain, others by the springs were named  “NAIADS” from the Greek word Nao, meaning flowing water.  Others in the forests the “DRYADS” and others the “AMADRYADS”, from the Greek word DRYS meaning oak. Others were in caves the “ANDRIADS”, from the word ANDRON, meaning cave.  Others were in the fields the “AGRONOMES”, from the word AGROS, meaning field and others the “MAINADS” accompanied the God Dionysus.

True descendants of the ancient Greeks, the modern Greeks continued to have the same beliefs, so, we have the “GORGONS” in the sea and the “NERAIDS” on the land.

Also for the modern Greeks they are beautiful young girls dressed in white with long flowing hair, blonde or green.  They prefer to stay near rivers, brooks and wells,  caves and gorges, fields and bridges.

he “NERAIDS” prefer to circulate on moonless nights an also at midday.When they dance as a group they create whirlwinds and if a passer by is caught in one, most certainly something bad will happen to him. Many damages these “NERAIDS” can cause to the humans  :

Paralysis of one side,  rheumatic pain,  melancholy, hallucinations, sleepwalking and dumbness if they cast aspersions.Whoever carries on his person a talisman with wood from the Holy Cross or a small pebble from the Holy Grave, he will not be harmed by them.A local legend tells us that a certain monk went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and brought with him a talisman containing such a pebble. He offered to his nephew, an only child from the village of Gastouri. This young man some time later happened to encounter such a whirlwind. He rushed inside it and grabbed a head-scarf from one of the “NERAIDS”. She left the others and followed him to his house pleading for her head-scarf. She was tall, young and very beautiful, so the young man married her. They had children, boys and girls, also very handsome and beautiful.

The young man had hidden the head-scarf in a locked wooden chest.

One day when the young man was not at home, the “NERAID” suspected that it must be in the wooden chest, so she broke it, put her head-scarf on and vanished.

She returned to her group but returned to the young man’s house since she loved her children so much. Although invisible she looked after her children with every care.

As the legend tells us, it is from the race of the “NERAID” that the young girls from Gastouri evolved.

Tall, slim  with very beautiful faces.

By Aleko Damaskinos

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