In Slavic folklore, this nature spirit is known as’ Koshchey the Deathless’ or ‘Koshchey the Immortal’ but it has also many other very similar names (Kashey, Koschei, Kostiy, Kościej) which vary from one Slavic culture to another.
Koshchey is the ruler of darkness. He commands the forces of darkness and masters this art to absolute perfection, allowing him to control the souls and bodies of the dead.
Some regard him as the dragon, the other a man, because there is no detailed description of his character.
In ancient Russian beliefs, Koshchey, is an evil sorcerer with a terrifying appearance, often described as sitting naked on a magic horse galloping through the wildness.
Koshchey can change his voice at will to charm and induce sleep when necessary. He is also a shape-shifter and can take the form of a whirlwind or a storm wind.
He is a nature spirit representing the destructive powers of nature.
This powerful prince of darkness can fly and suddenly appear from nowhere accompanied by dark clouds, thunder and lightning or he can come under cover of a mist or fog and can fly through the air. During battle he has been known to lick these venomous parts of his body and then bite his challenger thus causing intense pain and immobility.
Fond of stealing beautiful women, often the brides of the heroes, Koshchey, the prince of darkness and powerful sorcerer, made many enemies among the warriors. He is an elusive master; he can be a smooth talker, who can turn on a charming voice at will and get very easy female company.
It is pretty challenging to kill Koschey.
He is known as ‘deathless’ or ‘immortal’. “You cannot kill me,” Koschei often sneers. “My heart does not lie in my body.”
Indeed, it believed that his life force or, as he calls it, his “death”, is outside his body, hidden in an unknown and inaccessible place.
Sometimes his “death” may be hidden in the point of a needle inside the duck’s egg. Although he seems invincible, Kotschey may die if the hero finds out where the egg that contains his life force is hidden.
Anyone possessing this magical egg has Koshchey’s life in his power; the evil spirit begins to weaken, becomes sick and finally loses all his magic powers.
In myths and legends, Koshchey – more snake-like than human – is very ugly, tall, with long, spindly legs, boney and fearful to look upon and into his reptilian, never blinking eyes.
Koshchey has ability to see objects distinctly at a great distance, even with his eyes closed. His mouth may change shape according to mood and he has several large crooked teeth and a nose shaped like the beak of a raven.
Koshchey lives in inaccessible and often uninhabited places.