Merili Metsvahi
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Estonian werewolf legends collected from the island of Saaremaa
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Collecting folklore has played a significant role in the history of the Estonian nation and state, helping to build an Estonian identity. This chapter discusses the werewolf texts collected on the island of Saaremaa, which comprise about one-seventh of the full corpus. It introduces those werewolf legends from Saaremaa whose plots are more widely known and that can be classified according to their plots. Ivar Paulson has suggested that some aspects of Estonian folk belief that are related to the forest even contain references from the era of hunter-gatherers. The idea of wolves as the pups of St George, to whom God casts down food from above, apparently contains remnants of the pre-Christian notion of the Master of Animals as well as the image of the wolf in the Catholic era. There are several customs related to the positive power of the wolf in Estonian traditions of past centuries.

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