Romani Demonology:
The Children of Ana

Written by Jonathan Wojcik, with help from Wormgerm and Margret Storm

   We touch on world mythology and folklore every Halloween season and usually more than once, but this year, I saved it for one of our very last posts, an elaborate and monstrously grotesque tale I've been researching off and on ever since a friend introduced me to it, and have been working on illustrating for a couple of months now. It's a fable that comes to us from the oral traditions of the Romani people, most famously those who lived in Transylvania and other parts of Romania [it's important to point out here that Romani and Romanian are not interchangeable terms. Not all Romani come from Romania, and not all Romanians are Romani] but the oldest written documentations of it only date back to the 1800's, likely with some degree of European embellishment or misunderstanding.

I should also probably let you know up front that there's no way to talk about this legend without getting darker and more graphic than what you might be used to from this website. Specifically, this story involves non-consensual pregnancy, a theme I never really thought would ever come up on Bogleech outside explaining the biology of bedbugs, so fair warning.

   The story begins with queen Ana, ruler of the beautiful, female fairy folk known as the Keshali, whose people were under constant threat from the subterranean Locolici; horrendously ugly demons who were once mortal humans. The king of these evil, brutal beings lusted madly for the nymph queen, and when she attempted to hide from him, he had his fellow demons rampage through her kingdom, even eating Keshali left and right. Terrorized into compliance, Ana agreed to marry the monster and return with him to his kingdom.

  In this horrific situation, Ana would give birth to nine children, and the abusive, loveless, evil nature of their conception would ensure each was more abhorrent than the last. Collectively, in fact, these children are none other than sickness itself, in every form that it takes. From dandruff to the black death, all microbial disease, all genetic conditions, all mental illness, all allergies and cancers and aches and pains are solely the work of these heinous progeny, and they're every bit as grotesque as the torments they create, each with their own documented origin, abilities and highly specific animal-like forms, beginning with...

Melalo - "The Dirty One"

   Depressed that his kidnapped and abused wife didn't want to touch him (oh no, poor baby), the king of the Locolici's took a long walk one day and met a mysterious golden toad, who told the king to feed magpie's brains to Ana. This put the nymph into such a deep sleep that the despicably evil king could conceive his first child (I warned you, I warned you) and the result, presumably due in part to the magpie brains, was Melalo.

  Melalo resembled a filthy, gray and green bird with two heads and large, vicious talons, though the exact variety of bird is seemingly never specified. It's been said that as recently as the 1950's, a violent or unscrupulous person was still sometimes referred to as "Melalo's son-in-law." Despite being the first child, Melalo would continue to be one of the most feared of his entire family, since he was responsible for both mental illness and all senseless acts of violence, including murder and sexual assault, sometimes even entering and possessing human bodies to commit atrocious acts of cruelty. Though small, he was also capable - and very fond - of tearing out human hearts.

  The king was not satisfied with his first son, or in fact any of his subsequent children. He desired a more "normal" child, perhaps somewhere between nymph and demon, and would continue trying. Melalo, however, knew that this would never happen, plotting to use his own parents to flood the world with more misery, pestilence and death.

[Another real-world fact worth mentioning: contrary to widespread and long standing cultural presumptions, the "mentally ill" aren't much more prone to violence than anyone else, but are much more likely to be victims of violence. See here, here, here, and here ]

Lilyi - "The Viscous One"

   Melalo matured quickly, and when he began to desire a wife of his own, he asked that his father make one for him. Promising a more presentable child than himself, he advised the king to cook a fish in the milk of an ass and drip the resulting liquid into Ana before conceiving another child. Yes, every part of this is really fucked up.

  This second child took the form of a fish, even specified in early records of the legend as a hagfish, one of our favorite fish of all! This hagfish, however, had an eerily woman-like face, and on each side of her body were nine long, slimy filaments. It was with these tendrils that Lilyi inflicted disease on mortals, passing through their bodies to inflame the mucous membranes and cause good old cold and flu symptoms. All the snot and phlegm diseases are Lilyi's doing, as well as all forms of dysentery. If your body expels something disgusting, Lilyi is to blame. Her incestuous marriage to her feathered brother would result in even more demons, who would in turn marry amongst themselves and continue flooding the world with new forms of illness.

Tculo - "The Fatty One"

   The King soon grew jealous of his own son's growing family, and once again took advantage of his sleeping wife; this time after eating the meat of a kite (the bird, not the toy) and a crayfish. This, for some reason, created Tculo, described as a small ball covered in spines, like a bloated sea urchin. Crawling into the lower orifices of unsuspecting humans, Tculo would use his spines to irritate the walls of the intestines, stomach and reproductive organs, causing abdominal pains, intestinal diseases and nausea. He particularly relished attacking women during pregnancy, and is thus responsible for all the cramping and vomiting that comes with it.

  Tculo even invaded and tormented his own perpetually pregnant sister, Lilyi, and Melalo knew the only way to get his fat little brother out of his slimy fish wife was for the butt urchin to get a wife of his own.

Tcaridyi - "The Hot One"

   It doesn't seem to be specified just how Ana's second daughter was created, but Tcaridyi took the form of a worm covered in long, fragile hairs, and like her husband, she took special pleasure in tormenting mothers. In fact, Tcaridyi exclusively targeted the bodies of women, and while her husband liked to attack during pregnancy, his "hot" sister was most attracted to hosts who just recently gave birth. Crawling through veins and arteries, Tcaridyi's hairs would gradually rub off and pollute the bloodstream, causing general sickness, fatigue and especially fever, hence her title.

  Like their siblings before them, Tcaridyi and Tculo would have many children of their own, and all of them ostensibly "women's" diseases, though it's difficult to define what that's actually supposed to mean. This is a tale at least centuries old, it's not exactly going to be up to speed on biology.

Silali - "The Cold One"

   Following more of Melalo's quack advice, king shitlord prepared a soup for Ana with some of his own saliva and the baked corpse of a mouse. As she drank the concoction, Ana became incredibly sick, and a white mouse with many legs emerged from her mouth. This was Schilalyi or Silali, her first child created without the demon even touching her. Breaking the son/daughter/son/daughter pattern, Silali was another female demon.

Silali specialized in fever and especially rigor, the sensation of being icy cold when your temperature is actually rising. Like Tculo, Silali persistently pestered her own brothers and sisters, apparenty lashing out due to loneliness - and perhaps because, for whatever reason, her particularly unnatural birth disgusted Ana more than the previous demons, and Silali was one of the most hated by their mother. It's almost a little touching that any of these things might still care about their mother's love, but you really can't blame someone for rejecting a child they were traumatically forced to have. That, and they're innately evil monsters who exist to biologically torture all known living things.

Bitoso - "The Fastening One"

   To give Silali something more productive to do, Melalo had one of his parents (I'm not clear on which) consume garlic soaked in his own urine, and I'm really beginning to wonder if any of his advice really created these demons or he was just getting off on all this. Allegedly due to the piss garlic, the next unholy union produced a hideous worm with multiple heads. Oddly, Bitoso was not quite as harmful as his predecessors, clutching the insides of his hosts to stir up simple stomach upset, but the children he conceived with Silali became a wide variety of other persistent, common problems including toothaches, hearing loss and colic.

Lolmischo - "The Red Mouse"

   Exposed so much to her own horrendous young and the filthy conditions of the demon kingdom, Ana continuously suffered illnesses herself, and eventually developed a weeping rash over her entire body. Melalo told her that the rash would heal if her sores were licked by mice, and surprisingly enough, the perverse and malicious bird's medical advice was correct. Sort of. The mice soothed Ana, and the rash did disappear, but only after one mouse crawled its way into one the oozing boils, tunneling deep into Ana's body where it transformed into her next ghastly son.

  The Red Mouse specialized in all types of skin diseases, inflicting mortals with eczema, blisters, warts, boils, pimples and painful ulcers by simply walking over them in their sleep.

Minceskre - "The One From the Genitals"

   After giving birth to Lolmischo, Ana asked her own son, Melalo, if there was a way to sterilize herself for good, apparently still believing she could trust a son who created serial killers for a hobby. Melalo told his mother that she should bury herself in a heap of dung, which apparently didn't sound suspect at all because she proceeded to do exactly that, and if you didn't think this legend could get any more disgusting, it was during her shit bath that a tiny beetle crawled up into Ana's body, transforming within her womb into her final and most evil daughter.

  Minceskre herself resembled a tiny beetle with a hairy back, and in at least one early depiction we've already seen, she may have kind of also resembled a crawling vulva. By creeping over and sometimes into mortal bodies, Minceskre created every single venereal disease known to mankind, as well as several deadly diseases of the blood. Taking the red mouse as her husband, she would also give birth to the demons responsible for the horrific smallpox, scarlet fever, measles and many more.

  By now, both Ana and her fellow Keshali were desperate to end the nightmare once and for all, and the fairy folk believed they could sicken the demon king with a special cake containing the hairs of a cat, the hairs of a demonic dog, and the powdered remains of a dried snake.

The Keshali got what they wanted in the end, but only at a horrible, horrible price.

Poreskoro - "The Tailed One"

   Poisoned by the strange cake, the king conceived just one more child. It had the body of either a man or a bird, depending on who you ask, with a snake for a tail, four canine heads, and four feline heads. A self-fertilizing hermaphrodite, Poreskoro required no incestuous spouse to flood the world with an unholy brood, which would include cholera, the black death and all the greatest, most tenacious killers of humankind that weren't covered by Minceskre, so it's probably safe to say that Poreskoro's legacy includes most forms of cancer and incurable, degenerative genetic conditions.

  A bunch of dog and kitty heads doesn't sound all that bad, but Poreskoro was apparently so hideous that their own demonic father fainted from the shock, so, I did my best. It was due to Poreskoro that the king finally conceded he would never have a "normal" child and that this forced relationship totally wasn't working out. Being an amoral monster, he would still only divorce and release Ana under a set of strict conditions, including that his people would leave the Keshali alone only for as long as Ana lived, and that every Keshali would be given over to the demons on her 999th birthday. Ever since, queen Ana has resided in a black, stone castle, feeding on nothing but three drops of blood each day from three different Keshali. This is what continues to keep her alive and keep her people safe while she lives in hiding, doing her best to protect mortals who invoke her.

Bizarrely, Ana is said to appear in none other than the form of a golden toad to impart humans with medical advice.

....So who was that golden toad?!

  Meanwhile, the offspring of Ana and the demon king are said to have continued interbreeding deep beneath the ground, every generation more degenerate and bizarre than the last. Every time we discover a new medical condition, every time a virus mutates into another new strain, we can supposedly blame an incestuous orgy of slimy devils seething deep beneath our feet.

  The story of Ana touches on some horrible subject matter that I wasn't really eager to bring up on my website, but you can see why this legend needed a home here. From even their roughest descriptions, these disturbing beings overall hit on my aesthetic tastes better than virtually any other folklore I've ever discovered, and if this is how strange and horrific Ana's children turned out, the imagination boggles at what those countless grandchildren and great-great-great-great grandchildren must be like.

.....Or do we already know?


Further reading:

Source one

Source two

Source three

Source four

Halloween 2014 Archive: