Among the various sorts of ghosts that confronted travelers, few were as piteous as the navky, haunters of Slavic lands. They were the spirits of children who had died unbaptized or at their mother's hands. Most often they appeared in the shapes of infants or young girls, rocking in tree branches and wailing and crying in the night. Some begged for baptism from passersby. Some - thirsting for revenge against the living, who had let them die nameless - lured unwitting travelers into perilous places.
But they were not always human in form: In Yugoslavia, it was said, the navky took the shapes of great black birds, which cried in a manner that chilled the soul.