Mythical beast: the indrik

Among the many mythical beasts that you can meet in the children’s play Dragons and Mythical Beasts Live is a beautiful, mysterious creature called an indrik. But what is an indrik and where does it come from? We delve deeper into this fantastic beast’s mythology.


What does an indrik look like?

The indrik appears in Russian folklore, and not an awful lot is known about it here in the West. As such, descriptions of it vary somewhat: some say it is a deer-like creature with the head of a horse, a horn like a unicorn and feathers on its body, while others describe it as a gigantic bull with the legs of a deer, a horse’s head and a snout like a rhino, on the end of which is the horn.


The indrik appears in the Russian spiritual folk poem, the Book of Doves, where it is called the father of all beasts. It lives in the holy mountain and is able to walk through the underworld ‘like the sun in the sky’. When the indrik skips, it is said that the earth trembles; however, it is a gentle beast that’s rather shy and doesn’t intentionally hurt others.


What does the indrik do?

In Slavic fairy tales, the indrik is the master of groundwaters, able to pierce solid rock with its horn and open springs that fill the lakes and rivers with water. One tale tells of the indrik defeating a snake that prevented water from being taken from a well, while in other stories the indrik replaces the firebird that steals golden apples from a royal grove. In Dragons and Mythical Beasts, as in some Russian tales, the indrik is an object of a hero’s quest.


What’s the origin of the indrik?

The name ‘indrik’ is widely thought to be a distortion of ‘edinorog’, the Russian word for unicorn. This could be why the creature is depicted with a horn (or sometimes two), like a unicorn. Some have speculated that the indrik may have been inspired by Uralic legends about mammoths, whose bones could be found in Siberia and who were thought to live underground.


Fabulous fact about the indrik

Did you know that the indrik gives its name to the Indricotherium, an extinct kind of hornless rhinoceros that was one of the largest mammals ever to live?


Where can I find an indrik?

If you’re looking for an indrik you can find it at one of the UK’s best family theatre shows. The indrik has ventured out of Russian fairy tales to make an appearance in Dragons and Mythical Beasts Live, a show just for children. This exciting production will introduce you to a host of mythical creatures, from the indrik and its unicorn cousin to a fearsome dragon.


This magical kids’ show is touring the UK between May and September 2023. At just 50 minutes with no interval, it’s ideal for children aged three and up. Book your tickets today to avoid missing out!


Image Credit: Robert Day featuring the 2021 touring cast