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A ved ("forest man")  is a mythological being recorded in the region of Bilogora in northern Croatia, predominantly among the region's speakers of the Kajkavian dialect. The vedi (plural) were described as male human-like creatures as high as a peasant house, completely covered with hair. They were very strong, able to uproot trees and carry heavy loads, while their chest was so large that they could make storms by blowing. When they spoke or sang, it was heard far away. They lived deep in the forests of Bilogora, where they built their towns, and were divided into tribes.[1]

There were good and bad vedi. The latter did not associate with people and stayed in their forests, because of which they were also called the forest vedi. They normally did no harm to people, but if a bad vedi encountered a young man in a forest, he would take him to his town and keep him as a slave for some time. The man would be often maltreated by his master, and eventually set free emaciated.[1]

The good vedi visited people and helped them in their every-day work or troubles. Each household had its own ved who was very devoted to it, often to the extent that he did harm to other households and their vedi. If people expected a flood, storm, or other calamity, they would pray, "Grant, Oh God, that our vedi help us!" or "Dear God, grant that our vedi help us, and that their vedi do no harm to us!" Stories have it that after such prayers the vedi would quickly come to rescue.[1]

Last accounts of vedi visiting people date from the mid 19th century. In the end only certain individuals were allegedly able to see them.[1]

"Long time ago from the mountains of Bilo-gora all the way to Kalinovac and Ferdinandovac near Drava (river) big forest streched. In the forest there were a lots of beasts and animals, but-by the belif- some of unusual human-like creatures. Residents of the county called them Vedi."-Mitološke predaje Bilo-gore (Mytological tales of Bilo-gora)

"They were tall humanoid creatures (normal Vedi is male while Šumska Dekla is female), their body was like humans except covered with hair. When they talk and sing, it`s heard far away. They were very strong and could carry heavy burden.

It seems they that were dressed, but their clothes had to very poor judging by the saying "Zdrpan si kak Ved (Your ragged like a Ved)" which is still heard in those parts.

They lived in tribes in the depths of the forest and had their own villages. It`s unknown how their villages look like but they had to be big because on some land clearing you can find some giant bricks."-Legend of Vedi

"Belief in Vedi started in the middle of the 19th century, they are almost forgotten in their native land..."-The centre of fourten zoology CFZ

Types of Vedi[]

There are good and bad vedi.

Bad or Hudi vedi didn't hang out with humans, instead they stayed in their forest. So they were called forest Vedi or šumski Vedi. They didn't kill humans, but if they found a younger human in the forest they would take him in their village and held him there as a slave for a long time.

They also tortured him, but finally they would let him go all exhausted and hungry.

Good Vedi helped people, almost every house had their Ved that helped them.

That type of Ved was so loyal to his human that he did bad things to other houses, people and their Ved -

chased their livestock, brake walls etc.

Another example is male and female Vedi. Female Vedi are Šumske Dekle, name of males is unknown, they are referred to just as Vedi.

Although there are not so many sightings of Šumske Dekle like there are of male Vedi, some people describe them like an ape like humanoid women and some like humanoid fairies with long arms and legs

,,Vedi could be a type of primate that lived in the Bilogora region of Croatia, but died out due to the war..."-The archetype of the ape-man: The Phenomenological Archaeology of a Relic

It's unlikely that a type of primate lived in Croatia due to it's unsuitable climate and habitat

[Picture on the right-an ape that is similar to that of how some people describe Šumske Dekle]

Relationship with humans[]

Ved was very attached to his human. This is a quote from an old book from Ivan Matejak from Ferdinandovac in 1961: (translated from Croatian to English)

"Every human from this parts had a Ved who helped him with his house. In his garden the Ved made a cherry tree which never dies. On the top there were big, red, juicy cherries that the human couldn't reach so he called out the Ved who was tall to help him. So he did. They all feasted on the cherries..."

"People also gave their Vedi names by the fields in the county like Miklići, Patački, Bušica etc."-Željko Krčmar (1942)

Some families even take the name of their Vedi an make it their family name like Patački is a often name (surname) in those parts.

Vedi is not immortal and can die like a human. That is a conclusion people made because they found skeletons in the forest (shin bones were 70-80 cm wide). According to the legend one resident was doing tillage when he found a Vedi grave .

Cultural and art references[]

There are numerous references including a mythological performance which includes people dressed in Šumske Dekle and fairies walking in the park in Zagreb, Croatia and art works by well known Croatian and Slovenian artists.

The most well known is "Ivin fotoaparat" where an Croatian photographer creates beautiful pictures with mythological fairies and Šumske Dekle and also Vedi and other Slavic legendary creatures

There is also a film coming in 2018 about Vedi and Šumske Dekle of Bilogora.