A Rusalka is a Slavonic female water nymph, or ghost. She haunts watery places and will lure men, and sometimes children, to their deaths. She will use singing or sometimes laughter to entice the men, and baskets of fruit for the children. Sometimes she would even tickle them to death.Czech composer Dvorak wrote an opera entitled Rusalka, first performed in 1901. The libretto, written by Czech poet Jvaroslav Kvapil, is basically a different version of Undine or The Little Mermaid. Rusalka, the daughter of a Water-Goblin, falls in love with a man. She sings her song to the moon, asking the moon to tell the man of her love. This solo is very famous and a personal favorite of mine.
The witch Jezibaba tells her that, once human, if the Prince of her affections ever betrays her, they will both be eternally damned. Rusalka will also lose her power of speech when human. A foreign princess is enough to lure the Prince away from Rusalka, and she goes to the witch for advice. She is given a dagger and told that, if she kills the Prince, she can be saved. Rusalka throws the dagger in the lake and becomes a bludicka, a lake spirit which only emerges to lure humans to their death. The Prince later comes to the lake she haunts and senses her. He asks her to kiss him, though he knows it will destroy him. She does; he dies, and she goes back to being a water demon.