Kyrylo Kozhumiaka [Кирило Кожум’яка; Kožum'jaka]. A mythical dragon slayer in Ukrainian folk legends dating from the time of Kyivan Rus’. Numerous tales about him were written down in the 19th and 20th centuries. As a symbol of the might of the Ukrainian people, he was endowed with tremendous physical strength, which enabled him to kill in a duel the dragon (ie, Asiatic hordes) that had conquered Kyiv, thus freeing the Kyivan lands from rendering tribute (in the form of human sacrifice) and a princess from certain death. Variations of the legend have connected the locale of Kozhumiaky in Kyiv and the ancient Zmiiovi Valy (‘Dragon's Ramparts’) south of Kyiv with the legend. The figure of Kyrylo Kozhumiaka was recreated in the works of Oleksander Oles, Pavlo Tychyna, Ivan Kocherha, and other writers.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]