Lady Midday


While browsing at Half Price Books I began paging through "The Secrets of People who Never get Sick" by Gene Stone. I had my smirk on. Really? They never get sick? Is that even a good thing? Then I saw the chapter extolling the health benefits of napping and paid the half price. (Napping? Basically it's a very good thing) Apparently, in days of yore we were polyphasic sleepers - sleeping in multiple short periods over a 24 hour stretch. This was necessary due to a semi nomadic lifestyle. Then, biphasic sleeping was all the rage - sleeping for one long period during the night and one short period during the middle of the day. We can trace a basic human disdain for being awake at midday to this evolutionary memory. More importantly, if we're asleep at noon, we avoid the wrath of Poludnica aka Pscipolnitsa - a noon demon in Slavic mythology. In English she's Lady Midday.

According to Eastern European lore, if this mythical spirit catches you out in the fields on a hot summer day she will give you heatstroke, aches in the neck, cause you to go mad, or lop off your head with a scythe. She may appear as a whirling dust cloud, and is the personification of a sun-stroke. In ancient Rome the noon nap was an institution known as the hora sexta - the sixth hour past dawn. Then came the mechanical clock, and the hourly wage, and off to hell in a handbasket we've gone. But I know one cool gal who won't be losing her head...