Basic Information

Alternative names: Ai, (Estonian) [4,7] Aijo (Estonian) [5]
Alternative spellings: Aiatar, (Estonian, Finnish) [4,5] Aijatar, (Estonian) [4] Ajatar, (Estonian, Finnish) [6,8] Ajattara (Estonian, Finnish) [1,8]
Title: The Devil of the Woods [4,7]
Origin: Estonia Mythology, Finnish Mythology

About Aijo

Aijo is a class of dragons [5,6] found in the folklore of southern Estonia and Finland. [4,5] They are also called Ai and Aijatar in Estonia [4,7] as well as Aiatar, [4,5] Ajatar, [6,8] and Ajattara [1,8] in Estonian and Finnish. Sometimes an Aijo is referred to as the Devil of the Woods, [4,7] but other traditions maintain that the first Aijo was the mother of the Devil. [1]

Aijos are qualified as demons, evil spirits, dragons, and even disease spirits. [1,7] An Aijo may manifest itself as a dragon or serpent, [7] though other traditions maintain that an Aijo is a demonic dragon. [1]

Aijos breastfeed or suckle serpents, [1,4] and most legends of Aijo claim that they are all female.

Aijos live in the forests of different regions of Finland, and they will attack humans that venture near their home. [7] Any person who encounters or even lays eyes upon an Aijo will fall instantly and quite seriously ill, [1,4] since all Aijo bring disease to humanity [7] and spread pestilence. [1]

Aijo Habitat and Distribution

The Aijo can be found in abundance in southern Estonia and Finland. [4,7] They favor isolated, lonely places in the Tundra regions, [4] though they also inhabit forests. [4,7]

Aijos are territorial. They will attack any humans that venture into their territory, [4,7] though their tendency toward isolation generally prevents this from happening. [4]


Ajattara, Ajattaro, est similis malus genius silvestris, sed foeminini generis, terribilis, celer et homines in errorem inducens. His geniis comminiscendis occasionem forte dedit notum illud meteoron, nostris licet in terris rarius, quod ignem fatuum erraticum aut ambulonem Physici dicunt.

[Translation: Ajattara / Ajattaro is similar to the evil genius of the wild: feminine, terrible, swift, and leads men astray (into sin). It is known that these lust-producing spirits appear on the earth under a known meteor (atmospheric display); although, in our countries the fiery shooting star is rare, the Naturalists say.]

-- [2,3]

Physical Description

Aijos are variously described as evil spirits, [7] demonic dragons, [1] demons, [7] serpents, [5] and disease spirits. [7] Some sources claim that an Aijo has the ability to manifest itself as a serpent or dragon, [4,7] though it has other forms, while others maintain that Aijos are devil female dragons that suckle serpents. [8]

Quick Facts

  • The Aijo reside in the forests of various regions in Estonia and Finland. [4,7]
  • They can manifest as serpents and dragons. [4,7]
  • Anyone who sees or encounters an Aijo will instantly fall ill. [1,4]
  • Aijo spread pestilence. [1]
  • The Aijo suckle serpents. [1,4]
  • Aijos are sometimes called The Devil of the Woods. [4,7]


  1. Bane [Demons] 25
  2. Porthan 75
  3. Porthan 76
  4. Rose [Dragons] 8
  5. Rose [Dragons] 9
  6. Rose [Dragons] 10
  7. Rose [Spirits] 6
  8. Turner 31

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.