Learn About the Surale

Learn About the Surale

The Surale is a male forest spirit from the Bashkir and Tatar mythology. According to legends, the Surale inhabits the forests. He has long fingers, a horn on its forehead and a woolly body. This creature closely resembles other similar characters from the Tatar folklore, such as the Pitsen and the Yarımtıq.

He can shapeshift into lots of different forms and uses them to trick people. In human form, he looks like a peasant and has glowing eyes and wears his shoes backwards. A person that can befriend the Surale can, supposedly learn the secrets of magic. However, farmers and peasants in general are afraid of it. This is because the creature has a nasty habit of leading them astray, making them sick or tickling them to death. Another one of their favorite activity is to hide the axes of woodcutters.

He likes to hide behind the trees for its victims, and when a human seems to have lost their way, he catches them and tickles them to death. When a person loses their way in the woods, they turn their clothes inside out and wear their shoes on opposite feet.

Learn About the SuraleLearn About the Surale

One of the most famous tales about this creature comes from the Tatar poet Bagdullah Tukai. The story starts with a young woodcutter who decided to go to the forest to gather some wood. Once he gets there, he starts felling some trees and putting the timber in the cart. One of the pieces is too big and he tries to split it in half, putting a wedge into the slit. Suddenly, a Surale appears in front of him demanding a tickling game.

The woodcutter relents after much pleading, but only if the Surale agrees to put his hands in the slit in the log. Once he does, the woodcutter drives the wedge in, trapping the Surale there. After he leaves, the woodcutter says his name is Last Year. Thus, when help comes, no one knows who did the deed and only laugh at the poor Surale’s misfortune.



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