animals, master of the

animals, master of the

Supernatural figure regarded as the protector of game animals in the traditions of hunting peoples. In some traditions he is the ruler of the forest and guardian of all species; in others, he is the guardian of a single species—usually a large and valuable animal—and may have both human and animal characteristics. He requires that hunters treat slain animals with respect; if they fail to do so, he may withhold game until he is placated through a ceremony or by a shaman.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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