30.11.10

Goblin Myths and Legends

Article

Although considered to be the cousin of the Elf, the Goblin represents the darker side of the fairy kingdom. Originating from European folklore, the Goblin was regarded as a malicious type of household spirit, similar to the ‘Brownie’ that resided in the homes, cellars and stables of unsuspecting families.

Unlike the helpful Brownie, the Goblin’s activity was similar to that of a poltergeist, with such antics as eating food and riding through the night on stolen horses. Some Goblins were reported to wear armour, carry weapons, and be guilty of murder.

Although compared to Dwarves in stature, the Goblin was more slender and powerful in body, with a tough skin; generally green in colour. They were depicted as unattractive, deformed, and ranged in size from a sprite, to that of a fully grown man.

Hobgoblin

Hobgoblins were considered to be a variety of Goblin which developed to become more muscular, taller, and possessed a brown coloured skin. They looked more like a human being, and were much more dangerous.

This strain of Goblin, which was believed to have possibly resulted from breeding by humans, were extremely haughty and egotistical, demanding status, leadership, and often power; becoming rulers of Goblin tribes.

Legend of Puck

Puck, a Hobgoblin also known as Robin Goodfellow, is the most famous of the Hobgoblins, appearing most notably in Shakespeare's, ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’. In this famous play, Puck’s love of mischief prompts him to put an ass’s head on one of the humans he encounters, which back-fires on him when Titania, Queen of the Fairies, falls in love with the transformed human.

To some, Puck is an innocent child, who enjoys playing with humans and fairies alike, whereas to others he is a trickster, hiding in the forest waiting for an opportunity to cause mischief. It has been considered that perhaps Puck is really a shape-shifter, a magical being capable of changing its shape at will.

Other Goblin Legends

Fachan is a Goblin of Irish legend. He is described as having one hand protruding from his chest, one leg from his hip, one eye, and one tuft of hair on his head.
He lives in deserted places and will attack anyone that ventures close.

Churnmilk Peg, a female Goblin who smokes a pipe, is a good friend to nature, and likes to protect hazelnuts from being picked before they become ripe. Her punishment if caught doing so, is to inflict the person with severe bloating or stomach cramps.

Red Cap, or Bloody Cap, lives along the borders of England and Scotland. Possessing grisly hair, fiery red eyes, protruding teeth and hideous talons, Red Cap also wears iron boots, a blood-soaked hat and carries a pikestaff, which he uses freely on intruders.

The Tengu of Japan, are mountain Goblins which come in two varieties; a bird-like species, and a pest that looks like a long-nosed priest. They are one of the best known
Monster-spirits, but are sometimes worshipped as revered spirits, or gods.
© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.