Beng, m. devil, from Sanskrit "vyanga" – 1. spotted, 2. frog.
Among the Slovak Roma, Beng does not have a specific role as, for example, among (Argentine)
Kalderaš, where he is the negative, but equal, partner of God
(Devel). This is probably due to the influence of Russian folk
(Bogomilsky) dualism. The Roma must have come into contact with the culture of the
Kalderaš when, after the abolition of Roma slavery in Moldavia (1855) and
Wallachia (1856), they emigrated to Russia, where they stayed for several generations.
For Slovak Roma, beng is an evil force, but it is far from
clearly defined, as compared with, for example, a bosorka, a
čohaňi (witch), a mamuna (nightmare), and other supernatural
forces and beings. In fairy-tales, beng often appears as a simpleton whom a clever
Rom manages to outwit. The dim-witted devil plays a similar role in Slovak and
The word beng is used in a precise sense for a bad person and also for a naughty
child. In that case, the diminutive bengoro is used.
All evil forces are called by the simple taboo word bižužo (unclean). Certain
unclean animals can also be called bižužo. Žamba (frog) and
sap (snake) are at the head of the list.
For more information, see entry De(ve)l.