Khala

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A khala is female water dragon in Bulgarian mythology

Also called “the fierce threeheaded snake” and “khala-snake”.


Family

There are two kinds of female dragons: khala and lamya. There is a regional difference in distribution of Khala and Lamya tales, so in Eastern and Southwestern Bulgaria we usually find Lamya as an enemy of Zmej, while Khala appears in this role in Western Bulgaria. However, there are also important differences in description that show these female dragons to be separate entities.


Description

Khala and lamya are usually described three-headed beings with wings and a body of a snake. When fighting with the dragon, the khala appears as a big black cloud. She gathers lake water with her tail and throws it at the zmej as rain to extinguish the dragon’s fiery arrows - the bolts of lightning. This motif has a Romanian parallel: the Romanian dragon, balaur, is believed to drink water from seas and lakes and bring it to the clouds; during storms, he lowers his tail to the ground to bring rain.


Behavior

The female dragons are dangerous and usually hostile to man. Both kinds are enemies of the male dragon, and they are associated water, often in terms of natural disasters and bad weather. Khala and Lamya can bring hail and storms, and they have power over water reservoirs and lakes. Like the male dragon - zmej, they can live high in the mountains, in caves, in forests and on tops of tall trees.