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Pixies

Pixies by Brian Froud

Pixies are the pranksters of Cornwall. Some sources attribute their origin to the Irish saints, while others claim they are souls of virtous pagans. The most prevalent theory regards them as the gods of pre-Christian Cornwall.

They delight in leading people astray from their paths and leaving them to wander aimlessly for hours until dropping into a deep sleep, a practice which spawned the term pixie-led. While pranksters, Pixies were also known to led helpful hands to humans in need. The elderly might find household tasks mysteriously complemented, the worthy farmer may discover his grain has been mysteriously threshed and maidens searching for their true love may beseech his name by going to a well and pleading with the Piskey folk.

Typically they appear as wisened old men no taller than a hand's span. (In fact, there is only one reference to a female piskey, Joan the Wad, who is regarded as their Queen.)

The Piskies' Changeling

The Fairy Ointment



Leprechauns

Originally coined by Thomas Keightley in The Fairy Mythology (1850) from the Irish "Leith bhroyan" or "Leith phroyan" meaning "one shoemaker," comes the name Leprechaun. They are also known by the name Gentry. In addition, Jewish folklore tells of a similar creature, the Sheedem or Shedim. It is now demonized and the name used derogatorily in reference to pagan deities. Their typical habitat is wild areas with large grassy hills.

Leprechauns are a race of cobblers whose craftsmanship is beyond compare. As a result, their wares go for astonishing sums which makes most of them exceedingly wealthy and is likely the source of the tales of their pots of gold. Infamous hoarders, they are loathe to spend a single penny, which probably explains their poor appearance in spite of their great wealth. Some legends says that once a leprachaun begins dancing to a human's song, he cannot stop until the tune ceases. His exhausted state may cause him to make outlandish offers, including his crock of gold, if you will please only allow him to stop dancing. Other means of finding his gold include looking at the end of a rainbow, which may lead him offer 3 wishes in exchange for his treasure. His promises of gold alway proves hollow, as the Leprechaun always employs clever tricks in his granting of wishes, often resulting in the embarrassment or injury to the one who expected a bounteous reward.

Green is the color of choice among this race, though their clothing is never extravagant. Their footwear, however, is a source of pride and every Leprechaun posses the very finest he can make. Their clientele is exclusively faery and legend holds that they only make one shoe at a time, never pairs.

Apparently, the race is exclusively male as no female Leprechaun have ever been seen.

Some Leprechauns belong to the unseelie court; they are raiders of wine cellars who revel drunkenly after dark riding the backs of sheep or shepherd's dogs. The name cluricauns (kloor-a-kawns) is applied to the dark members of the family. Cluricauns often favor red clothing to set themselves apart from the seelie Leprechauns.

The Leprechaun

Master and Man (A story of a Cluricane)



Brownies

A Brownie by Palmer Cox

The origin of this race is traced to Scotland. Brownies currently residing in the United States and Canada most likely arrived with Scottish immigrants. Among their names from other human cultures are: Nis from Denmark, Domonvoi from Russia (where they cry like Banshees when death is appraching a member of their chosen family, and to warn of fires), Yumboes from North Africa, Choa Phum Phi from China and Hobs from the English. They are still common to the Scottish Highlands and on the Hebrides Islands, but are rarely heard of elsewhere.

Brownies are domestic faeries, offering aid to mortals who are churning butter or grinding meal. For their service, they expect rewards of milk and bread. (Brownies who are displeased with their gifts often turn into the nasty Boggarts who harass the inhabitants of their domicile.) As with other faeries, should a human mistakenly offer them clothes in return for their labors, brownies will cease their efforts and disappear forever. In addition to their labors in the home, some brownies also guarded the corn yard during winter. Because of their industrious and beneficial nature, the Girl Scouts have adopted the name Brownies for their youngest members.

Resulting from their generous nature, a hatred of misers and cheats is characteristic among the race. Brownies will not tolerate lying and utterly detest pretentiousness.

They are nocturnal, although most are able to appear in the sunlight should they wish. However, there are a few non-Scottish House brownies who will perish if exposed to sunlight. Legends holds that it is for this reason that the brownies' familar, the rooster, crows in the morning, warning his friends that it is time for bed. (Some Scots even held that brownies could take the form of roosters.)

Small and usually male, brownies tend towards the hairy side and have slightly pointed ears, long fingers and dress in blue, green or the most typical brown. Their size makes them extremely cautious of cats and the humans they assist must not harbor the beasts within their homes. Most are keenly intelligent, except the Dobie who is a dull witt. He wishes to help, but always flubs the job because of his lack of intelligence.

The Story of the Brownie


Gnomes

A male gnome by Rien Poortvliet A female gnome by Rien Poortvliet

Orginiating in Scandinavia (though Scotland is the source for most North Ameridcan lore), Gnomes later migrated to the 'low lands' some 1,500 years ago. As a species, they are 7 times stronger than humans. Another of their unique characteristics, Gnomes are always born as a set of twins. Leading nocturnal lives, they rarely come into contact with humankind.

Gnomes are very widespread species, known to a number of human races. Germans name them Erdmanleins, except in the Alpine areas, where they are called Heinzemannchens. In Denmark and Norway the are Nisse; Nissen is Swedish variation. In Brittany they are called Nains. Tontti to the Finns and Foddenskkmaend is their name in Iceland. The Polish call they by the familar Gnom. Bulgaria and Albania, however, use Dudje. In Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, Gnomes are called Mano. The Dutch use Kabouter and the Belgian, Skritek. Switzerland and Luxembourg use the same name, Kleinmanneken, which means "littlemen." Domovoi Djedoes is used in western Russia, translated it roughly means "earth faery."

Largely due to the her choice of garb, the domain of the female gnome is the home and thus it is with the male that almost all human contact occurs. Females wear either gray or khaki colored clothing consisiting of a blouse, an ankle length skirt, knee socks and high shoes or slippers. (The color combination results in a possibility that she may be mistaken for a mouse or other small forest animal and be captured by an owl before he realized his mistake.) Prior to marriage, the outfit is complemented by a green cap and braids which later disappear under a scarf while the green cap is replaced by more somber tones after she marries.

Male Gnomes wear red caps and blue smocks complemented by green pants and footwear. They are fair of face, though the boast rosy red cheeks. Long beards adorn their faces and turn gray far sooner than their hair. Males are the guardians of animal kind and show little preference for their animal friends, not withstanding their aversion to cats both wild and domesticated. They are known for freeing wildlife from man's traps and for operating on farm animals whose owners have neglected them or who are simply to poor to afford a vetrinarian.

Gnomes consist of a number of different types. The most common is the Forest Gnome who rarely comes into contact with man. The Garden Gnome lives in old gardens and enjoys telling melancoly tales. Dune Gnomes are slightly larger than their woodland breathren and choose remarkably drab clothing. House Gnomes have the most knowledge of man, often speaking his language. It is from this family that Gnome Kings are chosen. Farm Gnomes resemble their House brethen, but are more conservative in manner and dress. Siberian Gnomes have been more interbred than other Gnomes and associate freely with trolls. They are much larger than the other types and have an infinately more nasty nature. It is best never to evoke the ire of such Gnomes for they delight in revenge.


For more information, I recommend the following site: Gnomes



Will'o'Wisp

Will'o'Wisp by Tim Thompson

The Will-o-wisp is among the most named faeries, travelling with countless aliases. Among the Cornish names are Faery lights, St. Elmo's Fire, Jack-o-Lantern, Bob-A-Longs and Jenny Burnt-Tail. The Shetland and Orkeny Islands use Teine Sith (meaning Fire Faery), the Germans 'Huckpoten,' the Swedish Irrbloss, the French Eclaireux, the Italians Candelas and the Russians Ruskaly.

They typically appear as a grouping of tiny flickering lights, almost like fire flies. Flickering and wavering, the glowing orbs move through marshes, meadows and grassy hills at the hours just after sundown.

Some believe the lights to be the glow of actual faeries, while others argue they are merely torches and lamps carried by the fae as they revel. Whatever they are, humans who glimpse and follow the lights experience something likened to a game of tag as they disappear everytime the distance between the pair closes too much. Those who follow them successfully, though, have claimed to witness gatherings of faeries as they hold their nightly celebrations.



Green Man

Green Man by Brian Froud

Hordes of information has been written on the Green Man, yet he still remains somewhat of a mystery. The name typically applies to an ancient deity whose likeness has been carved into older churches across much of the British Isles. Typically it is a composite image of a face formed for a mask of leaves or a face devouring vines and leaves. The image's meaning is typically one of life, renewal and rebirth, and inspiration. He is a personification of the union between mankind and nature. His association with churches is likely an instance of pagan gods being absorbed into Christianity to entice converts or to make their worship safe.

The Green Lady is sometimes named as female counterpart of the Green Man. Some consider her a pagan worship form of the Virgin Mary. Others dispute her existence. At the very least, the image is not as old as that of the Green Man.

Robin Hood is considered by some scholars to be one of the many incarnations of the Green Man. In this case, it is the ancient legend of the King of the Wood whose lady was named Marion. It was to this older and more powerful figure that the story of Robin of Locksley was eventually grafted. The Green Man is also connected to Robin Goodfellow and Puck, as well as Jack the Green who dances ahead of the May Queen in May Day parades.



Ballybogs

Bogle by Brian Froud

The Irish Ballybogs, known as bogles among the Cornish and Welsh and Boggans among those residing in Northern England, are also called Peat Faeries, Mudbogs, Boggies and Bog-a-boos. The reoccurrence of the word bog in their name harkens to their typical habitat: peat bogs and mudholes. They were most typically encountered in Ireland, where people uesd peat as a main source of fuel because Ireland lacks natural coal and oil deposits.

Their appearance of the very small creatures was decidedly odd. Mud-covered, almost completely round bodies, supporting heads without the benefit of a neck. Their arms and legs were long and spindly; apparently too much so to support their weight. Ballybogs possess no language, but rather communicate with grunts and slobbering.

While the Irish Ballybog was merely unpleasant, the English Bogle possesses a nasty temper. The Bogle focuses the majority of its ill will upon those who are lazy, incontinent, or guilty of crimes. Like many of the fae kind, both manifestations enjoy leading unwary travelers astray.

It is believed that at one time, they were they guardian spirits of bogs. Some have suggested that the preserved human remains found in the peat bogs of northern Europe are evidence of ritual human sacrifices made to placate the fae who dwelled within the bogs.



Boggart

Boggart by Rien Poortvliet

Some legends say Boggarts are brownies that have gone bad. Either because they are mischevious in nature or because they were wronged through some interaction with humans. Others tell that they are merely small dwarfish cousins of the brownies. Their origin is traced to Scotland where they are also known as Hobgoblins, the Boogey Man, Boogies, Padfoot, Boggans, Hobbers, Gobs and Blobs. The root of the name, 'bog' may indicate a relation to the ballybogs as well.

They are always of the male persuasion (apparently female brownies have better sense than to turn bad). Whatever their relation to the gentle brownies, boggarts have vastly different intentions. They delight in playing tricks on humans. Rather than adopting a home to help its human inhabitants, boggarts will enter a home with one thing on their minds: destruction. The favorite food of a boggart is smooth wood and a home they have chosen as their residence provides not only shelter, but also their sustenance! Boggarts also pose a threat to children, as they love to steal their food and try to smother the young humans as they sleep at night. Should your home be infected with a boggart a complete exorcism may be necessary to rid your abode of the pest. Others are completely dim-witted and can be tricked into leaving a home. One of the best ways to do this is to ask the boggart to leave the house and stay out as long as 'the hollies are green'. It will mostly likely take at least two seasons for him to remember that hollies are always green and that he's been tricked. His resulting anger most likely needn't be feared as he will never be able to enter the house again.

The moral here is that it is best to stop boggarts at their source: never anger a brownie!


The Boggart


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