Said to be the tiniest creatures in human form that are in existence, these
little people coexist peaceably with the ants in the anthills of Southern
Africa and live on their foragings from the roots of grasses and other
plants. Also being the shyest human form creatures on earth, they stay
extremely elusive and are hardly ever seen. However, they may reveal
themselves to children under the age of four, wizards and pregnant women. If
a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy happens to see a male abatwa, it
is a definite omen that she will give birth to a boy. Abatwa are perfect
miniatures of the members of the African tribes of that region, and their
clan and family structures are similar. However, their peaceful nature lets
them live together with the ants in perfect harmony, with neither seeking to
dominate the other.
From Gypsy legend, Ana is the extremely beautiful princess of the
lived in a palace in the rocky mountains until she was forced to marry the
king of the Loçolico, the underground demon people. She bore him many
terrifying children who cause the diseases that mankind must endure today.
Finally, she gave birth to Poreskoro, the most terrifying of these demons, a
horror with four dogs' heads, four cats' heads and a tail like a snake with
a forked tongue. He causes the worst epidemics such as the plague and
cholera, and all the most deadly parasitical diseases. Upon seeing his son,
the king was so appalled that he granted Ana her freedom, on condition that
all female keshalyi should be sent to the Loçolico upon reaching the age of
999 years. Now, Ana resides in an inaccessible castle amid high crags, and
only very rarely shows herself, always in the shape of a golden toad.
An angiak was a child of the living dead in Eskimo lore. These are created
during harsh times when a tribes elders take out an unwanted baby into the
snow to die of exposure. Unless the tribe moves on to another hunting
ground, they may soon find themselves haunted by this small, miserable
ghost. Each night, it returns to strengthen itself by suckling at its
mother's breast, and when it has gained enough strength, returns to wreak
its revenge on the elders. If it is absolutely necessary to dispose of a
child in this way, one must forego naming him before his death, as a human
acquires a soul only after gaining a name.
Much like the British
ankou of Brittany in France
is a tall, gaunt man who drives a cart drawn by a pale, bony horse,
accompanied by two silent figures who walk behind him, all with bowed heads.
They appear at dusk, and their footsteps make no sound on the ground as they
pass. Their sight tells the person who sees them will know that either he or
one he loves will soon die.
These predominantly female fairies are also known as sky dancers, and are
much like Western angels. They bless men kindly at important stages of their
lives, and are often seen at weddings. To those dying on battlefields, they
appear as beautiful courtesans, offering delight in the world to come. They
are said to live in fig trees, and sometimes (though very seldom) appear to
scholars or scientists, seduce them and exhaust them, making sure that man
does not venture into areas that the spirit world deems unfit for them.
Polynesian ancestor spirits who are revered like gods, the atua are also
known as the Nuku mai Tore, the People of the Other World. They fly and live
in trees like birds, and have no death or old age. They are known to wander
the island of Otea. A strange custom of theirs is to deliver children by
cutting the child out of the mother's side, although when mortal men take
atua wives, they usually encourage them to have the babies the human way.
The spirit of the bathhouse, the bannik flits amongst the dense steam of the
sauna bath perfect cover for one of the typically elusive fairy folk. It
lives in Russia and the Baltic countries, this being where sauna baths were
first invented, and although sometimes glimpsed through the clouds of vapor,
it is more often felt than seen, and its touch on one's naked back is a
significant omen: one of good fortune if it is a caressing stroke, but one
of ill luck if he scratches.
The name of the banshee is derived from the Celtic for "woman of the
Fairies". According to the Irish, to see one is to foresee one's own death.
Her voice is usually heard wailing outside a family's ancestral home just
prior to a person's death, and many tales have been told of banshees wailing
outside someone's birthplace just as the person dies, far across the seas.
Her lamentations are in an unintelligible language, and her cry is a blend
of a wild goose's screech, an abandoned child's cries and a wolf's howl. She
may appear with straggling black hair, one nostril, protruding teeth and
eyes red from weeping, or as a pale, beautiful young woman wearing a grey
cloak and a green gown, or as a hag in a shroud, but is usually seen in
loose white drapery, mournfully wailing as the sun sets. A large number of
them together portend the death of a great or holy person.
An evil female spirit of the Scottish Highlands, her wails pierce the
countryside for miles around and she enjoys drinking the blood of young men
abroad at night. She first appears as a raven or crow, then as a beautiful
maid in a green dress and a plaid sash. If she appears at your fireside, you
will recognize her from her feet: they will be hooves.
The gnomes of a mountainous region from France to Switzerland, their name
means "frozen beards" and tend to hibernate during the warmer months,
emerging only after the first heavy snowfalls of winter and only seen when
the temperature is below zero degrees. They never venture beyond the tree
line of the mountains, and those brought below by mountaineers only survive
a few hours. Their feet are large, and their hair and beards resemble thick
clumps of icicles, though beneath the ice real hair is present. Their large
feet give them the advantages of both skis and the snowshoes, allowing them
to run at great speeds across the snow, and can be used as spades if they
are stuck and need to dig their way out. They are generally thought to be
beneficent towards humans, and will help those dying of cold and hoot to
warn mountaineers of avalanches, although they quite enjoy these, and ride
them down the mountainside.
Fanged, clawed, and with pointed fangs and blood red eyes, the barguest
enjoys frightening naughty children; a well-behaved one is less at risk.
They are most common in the north of England, where they pass along the
streets at night scaring people awake with their horrible shrieks.
Ghosts of women who died in childbirth, these Scottish
eternally wash the grave-clothes of one who is about to die. Anyone brave
enough to approach one and suckle from her wizened breast will gain a wish,
although he is more likely to be struck down with terror.
In Indonesia, very old and big trees are said to house spirits, and before
chopping a tree down, a farmer should politely ask it to move to another
tree, bringing it food. If displeased, belas can cause illness or appear in
dreams. In such a case, a priestess can be asked to indicate the bela who is
BENDITH Y YAMAU
A stunted and ugly clan of Welsh fairies who steal not only newborn babies,
but walking, talking children as well, substituting one of their ugly
children, the crimbils, for the child. It is possible to get one's child
back from the bendith y mamau with the help of a witch. However, when the
child returns he remembers nothing of the experience except a notion of
Rather like South European
these large, pale monks of Germany ward off travelers venturing too close to
mines rich with lodes of gold. They are thought to be the ghosts of good
friars who hid golden candlesticks and chalices from marauders during the
These malicious house spirits of the Scottish Highlands have the form of a
shriveled old man who lives up the chimney in the daytime and comes out at
night to punish naughty children, tweaking their toes, ears and noses,
pulling their eyelids open and staring into their eyes, and inflicting
horrid nightmares. If the child's behavior improves the bodach will leave
him alone, but it is wise to put a pinch of salt in the fire as well, to
keep the bodach in his lair.
These mischievous but fairly harmless spirits of the earth like to live in
dark, cluttered places such as cupboards, cellars, barns, lofts, hollow
trees, abandoned mine workings, hillside caves and crevices, and old houses.
They cause all the creaks and thumps in these houses, and also pull
bedclothes off sleepers at night or cause uneasiness by hovering behind
someone's back. It is useless to try to turn round in time to see one, and
not really worth one's while, either, as all he looks like is a large puff
of dust. However, looking through a knothole in a wooden partition, one may
catch the dull fleeting gleam of the bogeyman's eye before he has time to
Malicious household spirits of Scotland and Lanchashire, these little
creatures are dark and hairy with meddling fingers, clumsy feet and simple
minds; they have long yellow teeth and dress in tattered clothing. After
dark, they may tip over milk jugs, break the cords of window sashes, put
hens off laying, frighten cats, cause dogs to bark senselessly, slam doors,
leave taps running, block gutters, blow out candles, and awaken sleeping
babies by tweaking their noses. Attempts to try and escape from a boggart
infested home are usually fruitless, as the creature tends to hear about it
and will travel along with the family to the new house.
Mischievous, evil natured who are thought to steal infants for the Devil to
torment in Hell. The Scots say one can repel them only by holding an open
bible in their faces. They can change shape at will, most assuming icy
fingers and yellow, glowing eyes, or black dogs lurking by lonely roads or
tree trunks. They like to leap on a victim's back clasping their hard hands
over the person's eyes, or play similar practical jokes, and may be even
more malicious towards thieves, liars and murderers, as they hate to see
A fearsome spirit in the great North Western American forests of spruce,
larch and fir. Although his evil, aquiline face with totemic war paint is
only glimpsed as he peeps quickly behind the trunk of a tree, Native
American hunters are very conscious of his presence. He is most dangerous on
the tree-lined edges of rivers, as he will push fishermen off the banks into
the water here. After this, he takes the soul of the drowned person to his
home in the forest. What he does with him there is uncertain.
the north of England can change their shape, and though usually equine, also
take the form of a cow with a white flag around its neck, an ass, or if it
suits their mood, a naked man flapping a white sheet, a chanting girl, or a
giant, white singing cat. They live in rivers and lakes, and the aim of
their transmutations is to lure passers by into the water for amusement.
Like Brahma, the Hindu creator of the universe, these benign ghosts of
Brahmin priests had four faces and four hands. They guard their master
against Shiva the destroyer, and although they are kind towards humans,
should one chop down the palm in which one of them lives, the offender's
neck will be snapped like a twig.
These Scottish brownies are gentle natured and helpful around the house.
They are very dark with long, strong arms and shapeless bodies covered with
hair, and occasionally, goats' shanks and hooves. They rarely speak, but
when frightened may bleat like a goat.
These cheerful and helpful house spirits of Scotland are devoid of mischief
and prefer to live in harmony with mortals, doing their housework, guiding
their cows back to the farmyard and ushering their hens back to their
roosts. Although small and hairy with flat faces and pinhole nostrils, their
happy smiles and extrovert characters soon create a feeling of goodwill for
mortals, and only people with similar natures will be able to see brownies.
As these are mostly children, brownies love to play with children, telling
them stories and teaching them to make daisy chains and wildflower posies.
The presence of brownies is enough to reverse the negative effects of any
Goblins around. Still, leaving gifts out for them is unwise, as they dislike
this and may not return to help the family again.
Appearing at harvest time, this beautiful, golden haired girl watches the
harvesters swinging their scythes through the open corn and, towards the
close of day, appears in the path of the lad who looks the most handsome and
virile. On and on she lures him, enticing him to cut every sheaf left in the
meadow until midnight, when he becomes faint with exhaustion. Then, she faces him, and
saying that her own sickle needs sharpening, neatly slices off his head.
CAO GUO JIU
Always shown in court dress with his emblem, the castanets, Cao Guo Jiu
loved secret learnings and spurned his honors and riches. One of the Chinese
Xian , he is
also the patron saint of actors and actresses.
These Greek beings each with the head, torsos and arms of a man and the body
of a horse descend from the first king of Thessaly and the cloud Nephele,
and hold allegiance only to Eros, god of love, and Dionysius, god of wine.
They are handsome and sensual, delighting in drunken brawls, and are often
warlike, using clubs made from young pine trees, spears and arrows. An
exception is Chiron, a studious, wise centaur who tutored many Greek heroes
and can now be seen in the heavens as the constellation Sagittarius.
In ancient China, Chang
Er was the wife of the archer Hou Yi, who received the herb of immortality
from the gods after shooting down nine of the ten suns that were stifling
the world with their heat. She consumed the herb and ascended to the moon,
where she still lives in the Palace of the Far Reaching Cold, accompanied by
her maids, two children, and a hare which grinds cinnamon tree bark, which
These Irish fairies look after inns, keeping mainly to the wine cellars and
resembling miniature innkeepers with their of stockings, silver buckled
shoes, white shirts and aprons, and red caps. In a well-run establishment,
the cluricaun will only take his fair share of food and drink, but in a
badly run inn, he will gobble the food and swallow the drink in such
quantities that the landlord will soon be put out of business. A cluricaun
may also steal from the cellar of man who is fond of wine, and if he drinks
too much the house will never be free of the sound of breaking bottles,
drunken shouts and songs, and general tumult as he blunders around the
cellar. If this should happen, the homeowner should simply cut off the
cluricaun's supply of drink. After a while, he will seek more hospitable
quarters, and become another drinker's problem. In
are known as buttery spirits.
A powerful South American spirit who owned the jungle and, being a great
friend of the tortoises, would not hesitate to bring destruction upon a
tortoise hunter. With red eyes, swollen knees and feet turned back to front
to fool people who sought to escape him by looking at his footprints, he
could also be identified by the calabashes he wore around his neck and on
his legs, producing a "te wo yi' sound when clashing.
The Welsh counterparts of
horrible weeping women with emaciated faces and black teeth announce the
approach of death. Their groans are like those of sick people about to die,
only much louder. One may amble along a beach on lonely, stormy nights
carrying an inextinguishable candle and crying into the wind before a
shipwreck, her candle lighting the way for pallbearers. At night, they may
also splash in streams and lakes at night in order to warn passers by of the
Jungle spirits of Papua New Guinea,
the dama dagenda resent intrusion into their jungle habitat and will inflict
painful sores and ulcers upon those who dare to intrude. They understand the
languages of all the human tribes in the region, but it will be useless to
plead them for guidance, as they will simply ignore you. However, if you can
learn a language that they do not understand, you should sing or talk loudly
to yourself in this language as you walk along, as the spirits will waste
time trying to decipher your gibberish and by the time they catch on to the
fact that you have tricked them, you will already be beyond their reach.
Literally white ladies, these
Fées lurk in
narrow places such as ravines, fords and bridges in Normandy, France. They
have beautiful faces with hypnotic eyes, but often also possess physical
flaws such as snakes' tails or birds' feet, and keep their garments white by
meticulously washing them in streams every evening. Travelers cannot avoid
them in these places. The dame blanche will ask the traveler to join her in
a dance or to hand her a plank. If he does so, she will make him many
courtesies, then vanish, but if not, she will fling him into a ditch full of
briars, or give him over to her evil spirits to torment.
These cruel demon fairies can be compared with the evil
Jinn of the
Arabs, and were part of the pre Islamic Persian faith of Zoroastrianism.
They live in Jinnestân, in the mountains of Kâf, which are made of green
chrysolite, the color of which the sky reflects. They are two thousand miles
high, and surround the flat disc of the earth with the ocean flowing around
them. Their capital is Ahermanabâd (Aherman's city) and there the Deev
monarch, Arzshenk, resides in a splendid enchanted palace. They are
constantly battling the Peries, and at times, heroes have led battles
against them. Like the peries, they are greatly superior to man, and have
much longer lifespans (although they are mortal in the end), but share human
emotions and sensitivities in their natures. However, they are known to
detest perfume, which is the food of the peries.
Slavic spirits of the home, the domovoi are active at night, when, like
Brownies , they
complete unfinished household chores. They live beneath the stove or in the
cellar, and when a family moves into a house, they should put a slice of
bread beneath the stove in order to attract a domovoi. If the family wants
their domovoi to serve them well, they should treat them with great respect
and leave offerings of fine food out for them. However, if this practice of
payment is discontinued, they will use their nights to smash the household's
crockery and upset its pets. Although the domovoi are seldom seen, they are
generally considered to be small, grey bearded men covered with tangled
hair. Their female counterparts, the kikimora (sometimes said to be their
wives) are small with long hair. The sight of a domovoi is an omen of great
misfortune, and the sound of his sobbing foretells a death in the family.
In Arles, an area in South France, the dracs are said to sometimes take the forms of golden rings or
cups floating on rivers, and when bathers try to take these the dracs seize
them and drag them to the river bottom, where they usually eat them. They
can also take on human form, and live in the caverns of the rivers.
Sometimes they abduct suckling women to act as wet nurses for them, and when
these women return after seven years, they are unharmed by can hardly be
recognized. These women will be able to see them if they rub the grease of
the dracs' food into their eyes, but if the dracs discover they have done
this, they will promptly blind the woman in whichever eye has this power of
Nymphs of the
woods, the dryads live in trees and will die when their tree dies naturally
or is destroyed. Some of them are Artemis' attendants, and some follow
Dionysius in his drunken reveries. One dryad, Syrinx, was chased by the faun
like god, Pan, and upon reaching a lake, called upon the Limniads for help.
They changed her into some reeds, but Pan used these reeds to make the
syrinx, more commonly known as the panpipes, which he continues to play
merrily through the hills.
These house spirits of Spain resemble frail old men, and wore long comical
hats without brims, like many of the clergy. They have been thought to be
fallen angels. When buying things at the market, they pay with fairy money,
which turns insubstantial in a matter of hours.
The dwarfs of the Norse, they live in the rocks and hills and are brilliant
metallurgists, and are smiths for the gods. They were once the maggots in
the giant Ymir's flesh, and became the duergar when he died. They became the
partakers of human knowledge, and although they resemble man in most ways
except for their short legs, long arms that almost reach the ground when
they are upright, and grumpy dispositions, as well as the fact that they
turn into stone when sunlight shines on them.
The Finns only believe in a branch of this class of little folk, who seem to
be, like Gnomes, spirits of the earth. The main difference between them is
that while gnomes have no obvious physical defects, dwarfs have twisted
bodies, big heads and gnarled faces. Although they usually live underground,
they may emerge to the surface for special occasions. If they choose to
celebrate these in men's homes, then the householder and his family are
always welcome to join in the festivities, and a rejection of one of their
invitations will be taken as an insult and will bring ill fortune upon the
family. Dwarfs are particularly skilful at mining, metallurgy and
metalworking. They will sometimes trade their crafts for human goods, or
help miners locate ore, and have a strong ability to foretell the future,
although they do not usually use this to help mankind. In Finland, they
sometimes invite mortals to their magnificent underground kingdom, where
they are sumptuously entertained and given plenty of brandy, tobacco, and
There is a branch of the dwarf family that lives on the Isle of Rügen, and
it is divided into the White, the Brown and the Black dwarfs. White dwarfs
are delicate and beautiful, and have innocent and gentle dispositions.
During winter, they stay in their homes in the hills making works of gold
and silver too delicate for mortals to discern, although they remain above
ground for the rest of the year, in the sunshine and starlight enjoying
uninterrupted revelry. Sometimes they just sit and gaze at budding or
blossoming, plants; sometimes they dance to sweet and delicate music in the
grass, the hills, the brooks and the springs, bewildering travelers unable
to see them. When humans can see them, they are usually in the forms of
multi-colored birds, butterflies, or snow-white doves. Brown dwarfs, less
than eighteen inches high, wear little brown coats, jackets and caps, their
caps with a silver bell on the top. Their shoes are black with red strings,
although they wear glass ones to dance. They are very handsome, with clear,
light colored eyes and small, beautiful hands and feet, and are cheerful and
good-natured, though at times roguish. They are also skilful with gold and
silver. At night, they may come out and dance by the light of the moon and
stars, and may come into houses, invisible (except to others wearing similar
caps) and shifting their shape to slip through the keyholes. They may leave
presents behind for the children, but have a habit of capturing children in
their cradles and forcing them to work for them for fifty years. They may
also plague lazy servants with nightmares, biting them like fleas and
scratching and tearing at them like cats or dogs. They also frighten people
at night in the shapes of owls, thieves or their lovers, and will lead them
astray in bogs and marshes; sometimes even leading them to the people they
are running from. The black dwarves are ugly with weeping eyes, and wear
black jackets and caps. They excel at working steel, which they shape into
swords and shields, which they may sell to humans. Interested buyers should
sit beneath an elder tree in the summer, as they often linger here. They are
mischievous, malicious and unsociable, keeping mostly to their homes in the
hills and never wandering far from them in the daytime. They have no music
or dancing, only howling and whimpering, causing the strange noises in the
forests that humans hear.
One of the uttuku, evil or vengeful spirits of the ancient Assyrians, the
ekimmu appeared wailing and crying outside a home to signal an impending
death, much like a British Banshee.
These folk live in the moors of Denmark. The elleman is an old man with a
low crowned cap on his head, while the ellewoman is young with a fair and
attractive appearance, but hollow in the back and with a cow's tail, and of
course, heartless. Young men should beware of her, as she possesses a string
instrument that she used to ravish their hearts, and can be seen lightly and
gracefully dancing by moonlight, tempting men to join them. If he refuses to
the latter proposition, the ellewoman may inflict a sickness upon him. The
elleman is also dangerous, as he will breathe upon those who come too close
to him while he sunbathes, producing sickness and pestilence. If an animal
comes to graze on a hill where an elleman has spat or done worse, it will be
attacked by the disease. Cattle may also contract this by mixing with the
ellefolk's cattle, which are large, blue, and survive on dew. However, if a
farmer is uneasy about letting his livestock feed upon a hill, he need only
ask the ellefolk if it is safe to do this, and if he is not prevented from
doing so, he can put his mind at rest. They tend to steal dough and other
food from mortals, and are believed to be the descendants of Adam and Lilith,
his first wife.
Welsh elves, tiny with thin high-pitched voices, they sup on toadstools and
fairy butter (a yellow fungus found in the roots of old trees). Well
intentioned towards mortals, they sweep and clean the kitchen and tidy the
shelves cheerfully each evening, dancing and talking all the while, but will
vanish for good if the householder tries to spy on them during this time.
Called the huldrafolk by the Norwegians, the elves perpetuate the whole of
Scandinavia and are classified into the White and Black Elves, being good
and evil respectively. White elves dwell in the air, and make dance in the
grass or sit in the leaves of trees, while black enjoy inflicting sickness
and injury on mankind. An intermediate class of Högfolk or hill people also
exists, and their singing can be heard from out of the hills at night,
especially during summer. This music is in the minor key, and is a dull and
mournful sound. However, they also know of a tune known as the Elf King's
Tune, which can make everything and anything (including inanimate objects)
within earshot, dance. The dancing can then only be stopped by playing the
tune backwards or by cutting the strings of the fiddle on which it is
played. Black elves often live under the houses of mankind, being sportive
and mischievous and often imitating the actions of men. They love
cleanliness, and will reward the neatest servants, but will punish those who
will not listen to their requests. Elves enjoy dancing in the meadows, and
the touch of their feet helps grass to grow, thus producing a ring of
brighter green in the grass of meadows and woods. Mortals will be able to
see them if they go to a center of a circle at
midnight, and though it need not be exactly
midnight, it should be quite
some time before cockcrow, as this is when they will vanish. However, not
all people can see them, and you are only assured of this ability if you
were born on a Sunday or have had the gift of this sight bestowed upon you.
ELVES OF LIGHT
A tiny people in the legends of the Alongquins, they live in the forest and
enjoy dancing. Their Queen is summer, a tiny but exquisitely beautiful
creature who was once captured by the god Glooskap, who kept her in a moose
hide as he entered the wigwam of the giant Winter. Her very presence caused
Winter to melt away and spring to come, woke the elves in the earth that had
been hidden in the winter.
In their natural state, the empusae of Greece have the head and the breasts
of a girl but the body and legs of a donkey. However, this does not deter
them from seducing and murdering lone male travelers in the forms of
beautiful maidens. They wait silently by the roadside for their victims, and
if asked to speak, reply with a loud bray.
A lovely member of the Tuatha de Danaan in Irish mythology, her jealous
rival turned her into a fly, and she was blown by the winds for seven years
until she was blown into the Great Hall of Inver Cechmaine and was swallowed
by the wife of that nobleman, and was reborn nine months later, again with
the name Étain and growing to be an exquisitely beautiful woman. All the
while, her lover King Midhir of the Fairy Hill knew where she was, and
eventually reclaimed his lost bride with the aid of fairy magic and wisdom.
These were phantom lovers of men in
North France. If their amours married others, the fadas ensured that he
would die before consummating his marriage. If he did not, the lovers would
inevitably drift apart anyway with the men losing their purpose of life
without the fadas. Fadas were often worshipped with sacrifices, and were
said to bring fertility. On 31st December, the fadas would enter the houses
of their worshippers bearing good luck in their right hands and bad luck in
their left hands. The rooms would have been cleansed with the doors and
windows left open and a white cloth on the table. Also on the table would be
a vessel full of water or wine, a cup, some food, and a lighted candle or a
wax taper in the center. Families who left good food for the fadas would
receive good fortune, while those who gave them poor food would receive the
opposite. Fadas were only occasionally said to be miniscule like British
Fairies occupy the whole of Britain, save the counties of Devon, Cornwall
and Somerset. They usually assume the forms of perfect miniature humans, and
are able to increase and decrease their size at will., and may sometimes
even appear the height of a human adult. They possess the inborn
characteristic of glamour, which enables the fairy to remain invisible to
humans while actually occupying a parallel dimension running beside ours and
to reveal themselves when they please. It also enables them to make
themselves totally irresistible to any human, putting him or her at their
beck and call, and to cast their various bewitchments on humans, as well as
bestowing gifts on human children. It is also possible to see a fairy during
a full moon at Midsummer Eve, or by looking at them through a hole in a
stone that has been bored naturally by erosion. Fairies usually dress in
green with red caps each ornamented with a white feather, and live inside
hollow hills or great mounds of earth known as barrows. A king and queen
govern each tribe of fairies, and the entire race is under the command of
King Oberon and Queen Titania (or Queen Mab, according to other sources).
They rule from the fairy kingdom of Hy Brasil. Their currency is fairy gold,
which has the displeasing habit of turning into dead leaves when brought
into the mortal world. Fairies often undertake the tasks of ensuring a
mortal's good fortune (or bad fortune, depending on how the mortal had
pleased or displeased the fairy folk), or sometimes simply play tricks on
them. Occasionally intermarriages between fairies and humans take place,
usually between a female fairy and a mortal male, but such relationships are
doomed to failure, for reasons such as the fairy spouse's inability to
attend church with her husband (fairies can only pay homage to the Old
Religion) and her hopeless housekeeping. Fairies are often portrayed as
flimsy and feckless, but the fact is that many of the males are heroic
warriors, protecting the tribes from threats of Goblins, Pixies and the
like. Fairies love singing and dancing, and have often been seen engaging in
these activities together. Their diet of fairies consists of honey, various
birds' eggs, berries, fruit, grain, assorted garden produce, cake, dew and
nectar, the last of which they drink as an intoxicating beverage. They do
not like milk, as they find it too thick for them. They often steal food
from farmers, beekeepers and gardeners, but reward them by encouraging the
produce to grow. They may also steal a housewife's baking, so it is wise to
mark it with a cross to ward them away. However, the most anti social
activity that fairies indulge in is the theft of babies before their baptism
and leaving ugly, deformed changelings behind, which some people think is a
way to increase their numbers. They certainly need as many of their race as
possible, though, what with their having to pay a tithe to Satan of a fairy
every seven years, and of course, bearing the destructive forces of mankind.
These fairies of Italy
may have been personifications of fortune and have been confused with
witches. They appear in a household soon after a birth, and bestow gifts
upon the child. If the family is pleasant, the child would receive good
qualities, if not, they might bestow a taboo or embargo upon the child for
life, and the family might find itself afflicted with baldness, deafness,
rheumatism, or suchlike ailments. Every fifth year they were to appear
before the Demogorgon at his temple in the Himalayas, and traveled there
through the air in various strange conveyances. There were two classes of
them; one beneficent and protective, looking after heroes and maidens, and
the other seductive and injurious. Fatae sometimes appeared as snakes, and
have also been called Magae or Incantrices.
Spirits of agricultural fertility, these are sometimes confused with Satyrs,
but have the legs, tails and ears of deer rather than goats and have the
bodies and faces of handsome youths, their skin and fur both being smooth.
They are gentle and harmless, and Nymphs enjoy their company, and they may
be seen dancing gracefully together as the faun plays his shawn, a kind of
flute their founding deity Faunus invented.
Fairies of Normandy, the fées are a small and handsome folk ruled by their
Queen, Abundia, and enjoy dancing at night in circles (or fairy rings).
Anyone who sees them is irresistibly impelled to join them. He is let in,
but the whirling movement increases so that he feels giddy, and finally
falls to the ground exhausted. The fées may then amuse themselves by taking
him and flinging him up to a great height in the air, severely bruising and
sometimes even killing him. They live in the hollows of rocks or barrows,
and may haunt springs, where they wash their linen, hanging it out to dry on
the Druidic stones. They may make use of a farm's horses or utensils at
night, but leave no trace of their work in the morning, unless they break a
utensil, in which case it will have been mended good as new. Originally
nature spirits, they have the power to turn into small trees, moss or
stones. They may also hold fairs on cliffs, selling marvels and magical
enchantments, but if a mortal tries to buy something, they will seize him
and throw him down the cliffs.
Tall, with twisted, ugly features and a body covered with black hair, the
fenoderee is a Brownie who dwells on the Isle of Man . Originally, he was a
handsome prince from the proud Fairy tribe of the Ferrishyn, and his present
looks are a punishment for failing to attend a fairy festival, preferring to
spend his time with a mortal maiden. He possesses great strength and is
favored by farmers for helping with heavy agricultural tasks, and are famed
for their skill, thoroughness and efficiency in harvesting crops. He may
mischievously shake hands with someone, easily crushing the person's hand
with his grip. However, people can take advantage of his dullness and
instruct him to gather water in a sieve or round up a hare with a flock of
sheep in revenge. Like all brownies, he is offended by thanks or gifts,
especially of clothes, and will not tolerate criticism either.
The High king of the Irish Fairies, Finvarra was the leader of the tribe of
the Daoine Sidhe, originally the Tuatha de Danaan, and lived in the Hollow
Hills. The palace court, known as Finvarra's Rath, was below the Hill of
Knochma. He possesses great intelligence and is a famed chess player, and
many mortals have lost all they owned including their lives in a game with
him. Although both he and his court have diminished in size since the coming
of Christianity, his looks and virility have not been impaired, and although
married to Oonagh, the most beautiful woman who ever lived, he frequently
gives chase to mortal maidens, who, after a night with him, rarely wish to
return to their mortal husbands.
This odd little Fairy of Ireland with a blue nose and a red coat help
mortals trapped in Fairyland to escape or show them antidotes to spells or
curses for a fee paid in whisky. However, he also enjoys the art of "pishogue"
the art of bemusing man's sense so that things seem to be their opposites so
it is unwise to trust him too much.
A Northern French demon which inhabits homes of country people and cannot be
kept away with water or exorcism, the follet has a habit of pelting people
with sticks, stones and domestic utensils as the people come in through the
door. They are invisible, but speak like humans.
Ghosts of the islands off northern Australia and some parts of New Guinea.
Although rarely seen, they can be likened to the East Asian Spirits of
Accident because of their habit of causing things to go wrong in its
descendants' homes. They do this mainly because of boredom and loneliness
rather than an evil nature, wanting to remind their descendants of their
existence, and thus can be averted by making frequent visits to their graves
or bringing their remains into the house, both of which will give the forso
lots of company.
Foxes are traditionally creatures of cunning, and according to Northern
Chinese myth, when a fox reaches fifty years of age, it will be able to turn
itself into a woman. At the age of a hundred, it will be able to transform
into a young girl. At a thousand, it will become a celestial fox, and will
have grown nine tails. They often appear in the form of girls to scholars
studying in the evening, and seduce them. The scholar makes love to the
girl, and finds that she has disappeared in the morning, but she returns
once more in the evening to do the same thing. The scholar finds himself
getting weaker and weaker, until he learns from a Taoist that the girl is a
fox who is sucking him dry to obtain the essence of immortality. In case you
find yourself in a similar position, other signs that the girl is a fox
fairy are her surname, which she will say to be Hu, meaning fox, and the
fact that she never changes her clothes, but they never seem to get soiled.
Fox fairies also lived invisibly with people in houses in old
Beijing, with a fox official keeping watch in the tower at the
eastern side gate of the city. Families who share these houses were to put
out food for them and not complain when they made noise at night, or else
the foxes would put filth in their food supply. The Japanese also believed
in fox fairies, which they called koki teno and assumed human form by
entering the bodies of mortals or by finding a skull in a cemetery and
facing the North Star. They could be recognized by their fear of dogs.
beside roadways and travelers should offer them bread and milk before
starting on a journey.
Nine priestesses of Brittany, holy in perpetual virginity. They lived at an oracle for
the Gallic god, and could raise the winds and seas, turn themselves into
animals, cure wounds and diseases incurable by others, and see into the
Handsome, dashing, and totally unprincipled, the Ganconer truly lives up to
his Irish name of Cancanagh or Love Talker. Playing enticing music on his
flute, he wanders lonely valleys and copses, searching for an unaccompanied
shepherdess or milkmaid to seduce, and then disappears. The girl, having
experienced fairy lovemaking, is no longer content with the mortal world and
pines and dies for him. Girls wishing to escape such a fate should keep away
from fairy flowers: harebells, love in idleness, and especially the May
Apache Indian shamans offer prayers to the gans wearing black masks and high
headdresses made of wooden slats, and hold dances in ceremonial houses known
as kivas. the gans are asked to drive evil spirits away and will use their
considerable powers to attract good fortune if satisfied. Ironically, when
the first white settlers arrived in America, they identified the gans with
Extremely shy, these sweet natured, docile and solitary Scottish wood
sprites are clad in moss and leaves and live in birch trees. They are kind
to lost children and show the hungry which nuts and berries are safe to eat.
These female water sprites have the faces and torsos of beautiful and
seductive women and the hairy horses and cloven hooves of goats, which they
hide beneath their long, green, embroidered gowns and cloaks. The glaistig
lures a man to dance with her by a highland loch before feeding on his
blood. However, she has a kinder side and loves music, as well as sometimes
helping children, old women or cattle tending farmers.
These elemental spirits of the
Isle of Man sometimes magnetize the stones that mark the road's edges. and
these exert a strong pull on passing cars, causing them to swerve off the
road despite the driver's best efforts.
These field sprites frequent farmhouses on the Isle of Man and help farmers
with their chores, only asking for a bowl of cream at the day's end, much
like the Brownie. They may also appear as small grey water horses or lambs,
always with unusually long tails. They are not entirely benevolent, as those
slighted have been known to run amok, raping women and destroying crops,
usually when they or their families have been injured by the farmer's land
clearance. Farmers should loudly explain their intentions as they walk past
areas known to be inhabited by glastyns, giving them ample time to relocate.
Gnomes are about twelve centimeters tall and have pointed red caps and
beards. They live for hundreds of years, and are generally helpful and
benign, and live mostly on cereal and root vegetables. Some live
underground, each family looking after a store of a mineral resource, and
are able to swim, like North European Dwarfs, through the earth. Others live
in the roots of trees in forests, helping milkmaids with milking, shepherds
with rounding up sheep, and cobblers with shoemaking. They pioneered many
crafts, such as weaving and woodworking, although they chose not to explore
more complex technologies, thus avoiding the problems of industrialization.
The goblins resemble miniature humans, but their smiles of malicious
mischief and depraved cunning have never been matched by those of humans. a
goblin smile will curdle the blood, and his laugh sours milk and causes
fruit to fall from trees. Their prime works o mischief are luck spoiling and
weaving nightmares to be inserted in people's ears. They also enjoy tipping
over pails of milk, hiding hens' eggs, pestering horses making them blow and
stamp, blowing soot down chimneys, extinguishing candles in haunted houses,
and altering signposts. They are able to communicate with wasps, mosquitoes,
hornets and flies, and enjoy directing them to humans or horses and watching
the results with delight. Goblins have no actual homes, for although they
may infest mossy clefts in rocks or roots in old trees, they are too
capricious to settle down for long, and travelers can often hear their
squeals and titters as they plot some fresh mischief. Their king is Gwyn ap
Nudd, who rules them from the realm of Gwerddonnau Llion.
In England, a grant may appear as a yearling foal erect on its hind legs
with sparkling eyes. It will appear in the streets in the daytime or at
sunset, warning people of impending danger of fire by running about the
streets, causing dogs to chase after it, although their efforts to catch it
will be in vain.
Usually found in elm, oak, willow and yew, but also pine, holly, ash and
apple, these tree spirits are easily offended if their trees were not
treated with respect, so one should ask permission from the resident of a
tree before chopping a branch from it, and Derbyshire farmers still plant
primroses at the feet of such trees in order to be rewarded with wealth and
longevity. In Scotland, the same name was given to a phantom that would
haunt a family just before a death was imminent, sometimes taking the shape
of a bunch of trailing ivy.
Mischievous spirits of tools and machinery, gremlins were said to have
helped inventors and craftsmen to bring about the Industrial Revolution, but
because they were not given any credit for this, began to channel their
efforts into making life difficult for humans. They often caused machinery
to break down at the most inconvenient moments during World War Two, making
it rather surprising that
emerged triumphant in the end, and today infest houses, doing much the same
thing to toasters, sewing machines and word processors as they did to
airplanes. Gremlins are thought to be small with long, webbed feet which
allow them to move quietly, green skin, pointed ears and mischievous smiles
on their faces, as they are friendly pranksters rather than malicious
goblins. Sometimes they are said to dress like mechanics, at other times
they appear in spats, top hat and breeches.
The females of this species of Highland Scots fairy have long fair hair and
travel from village to village by water, helping to tend cattle. Because of
their mode of transport, the gruagach tends to arrive at the farm door
drenched, asking to dry herself by the fire. If she is admitted, she will be
lucky around the house and serve the family well. The males help with farm
work, and wear jerkins of bright red and green leather. Rather like
Brownies, they will happily serve their masters for nothing more than a cup
These may be more of a parallel to angels or gods than fairies, as they
acted as supernatural teachers and guides of both the North and South
American Indians. They often manifested in animal form and guided
individuals through advice and songs, contacting them through dreams or
other portents. One found his guardian spirit by going through a vision
quest, at the end of which the spirit would appear to the person. In
North America, all individuals were expected to find personal guardian
spirits, whereas in South America, this was only the privilege of shamans. Guardian spirits are
still popular today in New Age belief.
In China, these are souls of people who have not earned enough merit during
their lives to warrant promotion to the afterworld, and must continue their
miserable existences on earth, naturally making them angry and evil natured
and eager to take revenge on those who sin, although they may act charitably
towards their descendants. When displeased, at best they will merely
overturn furniture and pinch children's faces, and at worst they will bring
sickness and death. They resemble skeletons, except that their skulls are
fronted with demonic faces, and tend to have long tongues. They have no
legs, and so the males get around by jumping, and the females glide above
the floor. Because they can only move in straight lines, putting a screen in
front of a doorway in a room will frustrate them, as they will not be able
to go round it, and roofs with upward curving gables will prevent them from
sliding down them and pouncing on people below. They also shy from iron and
steel, and if asked a riddle, they will ponder upon it for a while, then
give up and go elsewhere.
Beautiful blonde water maidens, the gwraggedd annwn of Wales live in rich
palaces beneath lakes. By moving certain flowers or stones by these lakes,
one can gain entrance to a secret passage leading to the lake's middle,
where the gwraggedd annwn hold court surrounded by beautiful gardens and
visitors are entertained with music and sweet foods. However, if the guest
should take even a blade of grass as a souvenir, he will thus close the gate
to this land forever. The gwraggedd annwn enjoy dancing in the meadow flats,
wafting scarves of silver mist above their heads, and have been known to
take on mortal men as husbands, producing children gifted in healing who
often become famed physicians.
HAN XIANG ZI
Nephew of the celebrated scholar Han Yu, Han Xiang Zi lived in ninth century
China and renounced public life to study with the sage Lü Dong Bin. They are
both now members of the Ba Xian., or the Eight Immortals. Han Xiang Zi can
make flowers grow and blossom at will, and his symbol is the flute.
Nature spirits in the mythology of ancient Egypt, the Hathors can be
compared with North European Nornir, the Eastern European Uristory and the
South European Fatae. When someone was born, seven of them would gather to
plan the life of the child. The Hathors were often portrayed as the sky
goddess Hathor, goddess of beauty, love, marriage and childbirth, who often
took the form a gigantic cow.
HE XIAN GU
The only female among the Chinese Ba Xian, He Xian Gu is symbolized by the
lotus. In life, she swore never to marry, and her stepmother did not know
what to do with her. One day when she was cooking rice, she was attacked by
a demon and rescued by Lü Dong Bin, who made her an immortal.
These Swiss dwarfs have lively, joyous dispositions, and are fond of
strolling through valleys, viewing and partaking of the labors of
agriculture. They are kind and generous, and will drive home lost lambs as
well as leaving brushwood and berries for poor children. They keep cattle,
and make excellent cheese from their milk, and this cheese, if cut or bitten
into, will grow back to its original size, although it can be destroyed if
completely eaten at one go.
These evil Bogies kidnapped people and imprisoned them in caves, where they
had to mine for fairy gold before they were eaten for their pains. They were
all extremely frightened of dogs, and with good reason, as they were finally
all eaten by a big, black dog.
A Kobold who lived in the palace of the Bishop of Hildeshein, his name meant
"little hat", as he wore a small felt hat that hung over his face. He was
usually kind and obliging, sometimes informing the Bishop of events to come
and making sure the watchmen did not fall asleep, but it could be dangerous
to affront him. A scullion who had habitually thrown dirty water and dirt at
him was strangled one night, then chopped up and cooked. When the cook heard
of this, he abused him, but was thrown in the moat. In the end, the Bishop
was forced to banish and exorcise him.
Huacas in Inca myth were often just objects or places sacred because they
were associated with important events, or simply because they were uniquely
shaped. But sometimes they were stone forms of spirits or divine beings, and
watched over fields. They were probably a form of elemental spirit. They can
be compared with East Asian Kami.
The Icelandic Elves. Their name means hill people, and they possess bodies
and rational spirits, marry, have children, own cattle and other property,
have poverty and riches, weeping and laughter, human affections, and have
the length of their lives decided by God. Their political system is also
like that of the Icelanders. Two viceroys rule over each tribe, and at the
end of two years, they sail to
with some of their subjects to report to the ruler. Their subjects testify
toward their characters, and if the viceroys have been bad, others are
appointed in their positions. Newborn infants are prone to be taken by them
if left unbaptized, and are replaced with the umskiptinger, or changelings.
They live in the rocks, hills and sea, and may appear when it pleases them,
usually when the sun is bright as they rarely see it in their dwellings.
Sometimes on new year's night, they will change their habitations, and one
can confront them in the roads at this time to get them to tell the future,
but most, seeking favor with them, leave out food for them, and keep their
doors open on that night.
Well intentioned fairies of East Anglia in England, these sand colored
sprites with green eyes can readily assume the form of sand martins, and
thus disguised, rescue lost children and return them to their homes. If the
child was lost and frightened due to his parents' neglect, the hyter sprite
will admonish the adults severely, as he dislikes irresponsibility and
According to a Slavic folk tale, Iskrzycki (whose name literally meant
firestone) was a man like creature with horse's hooves whom a nobleman took
in as a servant. When he noticed his hooves, the nobleman wanted to back out
of the contract. but Iskrzycki insisted that he must keep to his word, and
took p his abode invisibly in the stove. After a while, the household became
accustomed to his presence, but the lady still disliked him and persuaded
the lord to have them move to another castle. However, on the way to their
new home, their carriage began to overturn, and as the lazy cried out,
Iskrzycki's voice rang out from nowhere, saying "Iskrzycki is with you!"
Seeing, that there was no getting rid of him, the lord and lady moved back,
and lived on good terms with their strange servant until his term had ended.
In Olmec and Amazon mythology, these were snarling spirits with the heads of
jaguars and the bodies of men, often with staring eyes, a double row of
fangs, and skin with magical healing properties. They symbolized the
supernatural world and the fertile aspect of the jungle, and can be compared
to East Asian Fox Fairies. Even today, when a jaguar is to be killed, it
must be stalked for three days first, then killed with a wooden spear.
Formed from "smokeless fire , the fire of the wind Simoom, these entities
were created several millennia before Adam, and were governed by a
succession of monarchs named Suleyman, the last of which was called Jân ibn
Jân and built the pyramids of Egypt. However, because of their disobedience,
they were punished and driven from the earth to the islands by the angels.
Many were imprisoned or slaughtered, and one captured jinnee (a male jinn;
the female is called a jinniyeh) known as Azâzel became an angel but refused
to worship Adam and so was banished and became a sheytân or devil, the
father of all sheytâns. The jinn are not immortal, but will survive mankind,
and can be destroyed by men, other jinn, or shooting stars hurled at them
from heaven. Because fire runs in their bodies instead of blood, once hit,
they will burn to death. They eat, drink and can have children with other
jinn or humans. Good jinn are of great beauty, while evil jinn are gigantic
and horribly deformed. They hate iron, and the evil jinn can cause
waterspouts and sandstorms. All jinn can change their shape and have great
powers of magic. They also live in the mountains of Kâf, but some may take
up residence in baths, wells, latrines, ovens, ruined houses, seas, rivers
and market places. They can fly up to the lowest heavens and listen to the
words of the angels, and from this can learn the future. Men, with the use
of talismans or magic, can make them obey their words and ask them divulge
their knowledge of the future.
The Amazons believed in an amazing variety of ogres, demons and powerful
spirits, often shaped like animals. Some of these were the ghosts of the
dead, and they lived in a spirit world parallel to our own, running
alongside to it. They could only contact these spirits through their shamans
(see Guardian Spirits ) . They also regarded birds as demonic spirits, and
dead spirits would sometimes battle them, often only to die the final death
by being eaten by a gigantic eagle.
The ancestor spirits of the Pueblo Indians in North America, these were
associated with all parts of daily life and in certain festivals, were
played by dancers wearing feathered masks. The Hopi Indians also believed in
kachinas, considering them to be the souls of virtuous dead people. They
exist in the spirit world for half the year, then return to the Hopi from
winter to midsummer. There are over three hundred different kachinas, each
with its individual personality and mask.
A Japanese word used to describe all natural objects with awe inspiring,
sacred power, such as tall and ancient trees or rivers and oceans, as well
as powerful humans. It also applies to deities and spirits. There are
millions of kami, and they can be found in both heaven and earth. They can
be likened to Huacas of the
These demon dwarfs of Japan resemble grotesque little men with
tortoiseshells on their backs and claws on their webbed hands and feet. They
have greenish skin, round eyes, beaked noses, smell of rotten fish and a
circular depression filled with water on the tops of their heads. They
descend from the spirits of drowned people, and lie in wait for wandering
people and animals at the water's edge, ready to drag them into the water
where they will eat them from the inside out. If you are unfortunate enough
to encounter a kappa, you should do either one of two things: bow, so that
it will return the bow, spilling the water stored in its head and rendering
it powerless until it submerges itself to refill the depression, or throw it
a cucumber with your name and age carved on it, as they love these even more
than they love human flesh and will gladly eat it instead, making a note of
who you are so that they will spare you in the future. Kappas can travel on
their cucumbers, which fly like dragonflies. they have been known to
befriend wise men, and teach them the art of setting bones.
A Scottish water spirit, while the kelpy sometimes manifests himself as a
short, hairy man, he is usually seen as a wild young colt who enjoys
throwing its riders into the sea or a cross between a horse and a bull, with
two long, sharp horns. In his guise as a horse, it is possible to
temporarily tame him with the use of a magic bridle, though this will
infuriate him no end and it would be best not to be present when it is
removed. He often eats his victims after they have drowned, and is
recognizable by his inverted hoof prints. Sometimes he takes the form of a
handsome young prince, leading maidens to a watery fate worse than death. In
this shape, he can be discerned by the shells or barnacles in his hair. In
Ireland, he is known as the aughisky.
The good fairies of the gypsies, their name comes form the Romany word for
spindle, as they are connected with spinning (a particular Gypsy invocation
against sterility includes the words "Fairies, spin.") They possess the
power of magic, and lead long lives. Their princess is
Ana, and they
must send all female members of their clan aged over 999 years, to the
Loçolico, perhaps a parallel to the trend that British
pay to hell every seven years.
These forest demons of Papua New Guinea Kyakas look like miniscule, wizened
versions of the tribes people of the country's highlands. One possible
reason for this is that they may actually be babies who have aged without
reaching adult stature, as the kilyakai have a habit of stealing mortal
babies and bestowing demonic natures upon them in order to reinforce their
numbers. Examples of their mischief also include the theft of pigs and the
shooting of tiny arrows at people walking through the forests, giving them
terrible diseases such as malaria.
These ugly Brownies of Scotland guard mills. Every mill possesses one, and
they devote themselves to the welfare of the family they serve. They have no
mouths, but enormous noses, so that they eat by snorting up their food.
Dwelling in a cozy spot by the hearth or oven, the killmoulis will wail if
sickness or misfortune threatens the family. However, they can also be
pranksters, blowing ashes over shelled oats left out to dry.
Literally "church folk" in Finnish, these are little misshapen beings to be
found beneath the altars of churches rather than staunch Christians. When
the female kirkonwaki are experiencing a difficult labor, a Christian
woman's laying her hand on the altar will relieve this, and, being grateful,
they will reward her with a gift of gold or silver.
Cornish goblins who dwell in mines of southwestern England, knockers point
out rich veins of lead, silver and tin by tapping on the shaft walls with
their antler picks, hence their name. Miners often leave behind pieces of
Cornish pasty for them to eat. However, whistling and swearing annoys them
and they will shower the guilty person with pebbles and gravel until he
stops. There is a belief that they are the ghosts of the Jews who took part
in the crucifixion of Jesus and were sent to work in the mines as
punishment, which makes them fear the cross. Knockers also exist in
where they are called coblynau.
German house spirits, these are also found in Switzerland. Before moving
into a house, they will test the disposition of the resident family by
bringing chips and sawdust into the house and throwing dirt into the milk
vessels. If the master of the house ensures that these are not disturbed,
the kobold will move into the house and stay there as long as one of the
family remains alive. A change of servants does not bother him, but a
leaving servant should tell whoever replaces him of the kobold, and instruct
him to treat him well. If he does not do this, things will go badly in the
household until the newcomer leaves.
In Brittany, these are short, stumpy people with shaggy hair, dark, wrinkled
faces, little deep set eyes bright as carbuncles, hollow, cracked voices,
cats' claws and horny goat feet. They are expert smiths and coiners and have
great treasures stored in the dolmen (stone tables) that they built and live
in. They dance around the dolmen at night, and passing peasants will be
forced to dance with them until he drops dead from exhaustion. They always
carry a large leather purse full of gold, but when this is stolen it turns
into only scissors and hair. They are said to have erected the standing
stones. Their day of rest is Wednesday (I do not say "holy day" because they
detest religion) and their annual feast falls on the first Wednesday in May,
which they celebrate with singing and dancing.
These fairies of Brittany are less than two feet tall, and can predict the future,
assume any form they please, move from place to place as fast as thought,
and cure maladies with charms. If a human is to their liking, they may tell
him one of these charms. The females have long flowing hair, which they
often comb, and wear a long white veil as a dress around their bodies. They
look ravishingly beautiful at night, but in the daylight, their eyes are
red, their hair is white, and their faces are wrinkled, so they rarely let
themselves be seen at this time. They are fond of music, but do not dance,
and have a tendency to haunt springs. They celebrate each returning spring
with a great nocturnal festival with great food, lit by a crystal cup
emitting bright light. At the end, a cup filled with liquor that can make
the drinker as wise as god is passed round the table. At the coming of a
mortal, the entire festival will simply vanish. The korrigans may steal
children, but can be exorcised by invoking the Virgin Mary with a rosary. it
is said that they were once princesses who refused to accept Christianity
and were changed into spirits through God's curse, which explains why they
detest it so. They continue their race by uniting with handsome young men.
The king of the Yakshas, Kubera is the god of wealth and is associated with
the earth and mountains because of the treasures that lie in them in the
forms of minerals and gems. He originally lived in Lanka with Ravana, his
half brother, but was expelled, and now resides on a beautiful mountain in
the Himalayas. Many men have ventured there to steal from the mounds of
treasure that lie in his palace, but now their bones lie among the riches
that they so coveted. He is usually depicted as a dwarfish figure with a
paunch, bearing a moneybag or a pomegranate and seated on a man. Sometimes a
mongoose also accompanies him.
A water spirit of the Eskimos in the arctic, Kul may be malevolent but
generally helps the Northern peoples with their fishing rather than
hampering it. As a show of gratitude he is offered some of the fish caught
at the beginning of each season.
Perhaps comparable to the Limniads, these Spanish water spirits live in a
lake on the summit of Convagnum in Catalonia. If anything fell into this
lake, there would be an awful unrest in the lake, and the water in it was
dark and fathomlessly deep. The lake demons kidnapped humans and used them
as beasts of burden, especially children whose parents carelessly wish for
this to happen. These unfortunates are kept for at last seven years before
being released to the mortal world once more.
Benevolent and protective spirits of ancient Chaldea, the lamas supervised
the welfare of mortals and were usually depicted as female, their likenesses
carved beside doors to sacred chambers to repel evil. In later myths, they
took different shapes and were named, such as lion headed Nigal and bull
torsoed Kirub. Most often, however, the lama was shown as a winged hybrid
creature, and may have been linked to the goddess spirit who presided over
the home and the heart, Lamaria.
LAN CAI HE
The patron saint of minstrels, Lan Cai He is one of the Chinese Ba Xian; his
gender is somewhat ambiguous, and is said to have been a singer whose sons
foretold the future when on earth. His emblem is a basket of fruit or
flowers, and is often seen in market places wearing a ragged blue gown and
only one shoe.
Shadowy, seductive, capricious, elusive and quite irresistible, Leanan
Sidhe's beautiful voice and exquisite voice inspires poets and singers in
Ireland to brilliant, albeit short, lives, much like the South European
Muses. However, on the Isle of Man she is a blood-sucking vampire and is
known as Lhiannon Shee.
These Irish fairies are chiefly occupied as shoemakers for the fairies, and
are never seen with more than one shoe in their possession so that they can
escape quickly when a mortal sees them. Like many animals, they hibernate
underground during the winter and emerge only in the summer, when the
tapping of their hammers can be heard over moors and meadows. They are merry
fellows, dressed in green and wearing cocked red caps, breeches, leather
aprons and buckled shoes, working on shoes under dock leaves. Like their
cousins the Cluricauns, they indulge in alcohol, though only in heather ale.
Leprechauns also know the location of hidden treasure, but it is useless to
seek them for that reason. A leprechaun can be caught, but never held, and
as soon as a human tries to interrogate him he will fling the contents of
his snuffbox in his face, and when the human recovers from his fit of
sneezing, the leprechaun will be long gone.
In the dark pine forests of the Baltic countries there live these wood
spirits, skinny little creatures with blue skin, green hair and green eyes.
A leshy resents travelers, considering them invaders into the forests, and
will punish them by leading them astray. They can cause a bewilderment of
the senses and make you lose your sense of direction totally, and during
winter they will erase your footprints so that you cannot retrace them if
you get lost. They are extremely nimble, and it is folly to try to catch a
glimpse of one on your trail as they will always be faster than you and can
dodge behind you as soon as you look in the spot where they last were. They
can be defeated by the simple albeit uncomfortable methods of putting one's
shoes on the wrong feet and one's clothes on back to front. This will
confuse the leshy, who will be unable to tell which way you are going and
will, in the end, leave you alone.
LI TIE GUAI
Shown as a sick beggar with an iron crutch for his lame leg, Li Tie Guai had
his body burned by his disciple who assumed he was dead when he had gone
spirit traveling. He was forced to take on a newly dead body; the sick
beggar was the first one at hand. His emblem is a bottle gourd, from which a
bat is seen escaping. He was taught the art of immortality by Xi Wang Mu
herself, and is now one of the Ba Xian of China.
These ghostly flames hover over bogs and meadows in Finland, rather like the
British Will O' the Wisp. It bobs at eye level and presages death or mishap
for all who see it, often mistaking it for the light of a welcoming
farmhouse. It is said that a long ago New Year festival had children sing
while marching through the village holding candles above their heads. This
custom ended when a witch seized the opportunity to kidnap the children, who
were never heard of again save in the form of their lost souls wandering the
marshes, still holding their candles which are the flames of liekko. Since
they can only return to earth by replacing one of their numbers with a
living child, mothers warn their children never to follow the lights.
These were the Greek Nymphs of the lakes, and once helped Syrinx, a Dryad,
by turning her into some lakeside reeds.
These dwarfish spirits of the new Hebrides live in trees and stones. They
are potentially dangerous, as they will devour a man who has offended them.
These amiable Brownie like creatures with extremely long tails, their
essential difference being that they are very large and strong, which makes
them ideal for heavy farm work. When their work is done, they snooze in a
warm spot by the hearth, only hoping for a bowl of milk as payment. However,
some are quite clumsy and doltish and it is best to give these only simple
tasks and give them their refreshments outdoors.
One of the most beautiful water spirits ever known, Lorelei was a German
girl who was unlucky and love and so drowned herself. She can be seen
sitting on the banks of the Rhine strumming a wistful song on her harp,
rather like South European Merfolk or Sirens. It is said that those who see
her lose their minds, or their sight, or both, and others say that she lures
sailors and fishermen to their dooms in revenge against her lover.
LÜ DONG BIN
The head of the Ba Xian in China, Lü Dong Bin is symbolized by the sword
with which he slays demons, and a wealth of legend has gathered around his
name. Two popular romances relate how he had to prove his power in ten
ordeals. He is said to have lived either in the Tang or the Song dynasty,
and is the patron saint of barbers.
Frequenting blackthorn trees, this Irish tribe of fairies guards them from
careless passers by, and will use their bony white fingers to unmercifully
poke anyone who has broken a branch from one without asking permission
first. Taking a cutting on Halloween or May Day when the fairies are about
is also extremely foolhardy.
The lutin of Normandy is also called the Bon Garçon, meaning the good boy, and has
a fondness for children, horses and young maidens. He takes care of horses,
gallops them, and plaits or twists their manes in an inexplicable manner. He
enjoys this so much that once, upon encountering two maidens asleep in a
stable, entwined their hair so that it had to be completely cut off to
release the two. When he appears in the form of a horse, he will wait for a
peasant to mount him, then kick, fling, rear, bound, and finally jerk him
into a marsh or a ditch. If his habits become too annoying, he can be
banished by scattering flax seed in the area in question.
In China, Ma Gu is a companion of Xi Wang Mu, and carries a bamboo staff
with a basket full of hanging from it and is usually depicted with a boy
carrying a peach. Her basket is full of flowers and medicinal mushrooms, and
she wears her hair in a bun or down to her waist. She grows her nails
unusually long, and it is thought (for some obscure reason which I do not
understand) to be an indescribable pleasure to be scratched by her nails,
but she will punish any who voice this thought with her invisible whip.
The Queen of the English Fairies, Mab is sometimes thought to be a
descendant of the Queen of the Sidhe, Maeve. Unlike Maeve, however, Mab is
portrayed more often as a mischievous sprite rather than a Queen, and enjoys
giving people dreams, especially erotic ones.
The maitya appear as astonishingly young and beautiful maidens to begin
with, but, motivated by their desire to seduce men, they become deflowered
and lose their youth and beauty immediately. They also bear three pairs of
twins as a result of this union, thus continuing their kind. Their working
of havoc is only limited, but their habits can be compared with those of
Originally a Norse term for goblins who attacked sleepers, robbing them of
their faculties so that when they awoke they were bereft of speech. Later
they were English night riding demons, usually female, who preyed upon men
and gave them bad dreams, hence the word "nightmare". Sometimes, they were
the souls of jilted girls who visited their erstwhile lovers while they
slept, stimulating them to nocturnal emissions and general restlessness.
Also known as the shideem or shehireem, these Jewish fairies are very like
the Jinn, and know much of magic and enchantment. They were born when Adam
and Eve were excommunicated for 130 years for eating of the tree of
knowledge. Female spirits lay with Adam, and male spirits with Eve, and of
these unions were born spirits, demons, specters of the night and the
mazikeen. Mazikeen are a rank between men and angels: they are like angels
in that they can see and not be seen, they have wings and can fly, and can
tell the future, and are like men in that they eat and drink, marry and have
children, and are subject to death. They also have the power of assuming any
shape they please.
Like British Brownies, these helpful spirits of the Hawaiian islands appear
in households at night and finish the chores. However, they are particular
about which families they help, having a preference for ones with kind and
pleasant members. Very few people are said to have seen them, but they are
believed to have pointed ears, shaggy black hair, and tiny agile bodies.
These water spirits have been sighted all over the coast of Europe, and by
North America and China as well. They are human from waist up and fish from
the waist down, but can change their tails to become legs and walk on the
land, and some have green hair. The females are exceedingly beautiful in
both visage and voice, and the males are strong and handsome Many cases of
love between humans and merfolk have been documented; a mermaid will change
her tail to legs and live with her mortal lover on the ground, while a
merman will turn his mortal lover's legs into a tail so that she can join
him underwater. Children produced of unions of the former type will have
scaly skin and webbed hands and feet, and will also be unusually gifted. The
merfolk do not have souls and so cannot go to heaven, but have extremely
long lives. They can tell the future, and tend to be vain, jealous and
unforgiving. Many can work magic, and their knowledge of the sea enables
them to help fishermen by pointing out where fish are. Fish is, of course,
their principal food, and they eat it raw, having no fire beneath the sea.
These Irish merpeople differ from other sea fairies in that they wear red
feathered caps when swimming and the loss of these caps when on land will
force them to wander the shores in the form of hornless cattle. Gentler than
the females of South European Merfolk, the females are beautiful, with long
flowing hair, sweet voices and jeweled webs between their fingers, and
appear as omens before storms. The males are quite amiable but their green
hair and teeth, little pigs' eyes, long red noses and short, flipper like
arms make them extremely unattractive to behold.
Rock spirits of the hills of Arnhem in Northern Australia, mimis are
extremely thin and attenuated, allowing them to make their homes in the
crevices of rocks. They only emerge to seek their food, which includes yams,
assorted root vegetables, and the occasional passer by. They have to be
careful of when they emerge, though, as a strong wind could blow them away
or even break their necks.
MIN MIN LIGHTS
These large, flickering lights of the Min Min region of Queensland have a
tendency to appear suddenly to people traveling over the plains at night,
stay for an unspecified period of time, then disappear as abruptly as they
come. Sometimes they assume the form of a horse or a man, and in recent
years, people have mistaken them for lights of approaching vehicles.
Although often frightening, Min Min Lights are, otherwise harmless.
Literally little monks, these short, thick men of Italy appear dressed in
the long garments of monks with broad brimmed hats on their heads. They
appear individually to people in the dead of the night, beckoning them to
follow. If the person has enough courage to do so, he will be led to some
treasure. Moniacellos also have a habit of snatching people's bedclothes off
their beds at night.
The mumiai is a poltergeist best known for persecuting peasants, especially
those of the lowest castes, who had stolen from their neighbors or
demonstrated dirty habits. The mumiai toss their belongings in the air,
break their pottery and trample on their gardens, finally forcing them to
move out of their villages.
Only two feet high, but immensely strong, the mu of Papua New Guinea also
have the ability to make themselves invisible. Luckily, they are
good-natured, helping lost children in the forest, but will avoid adults,
though not out of fear.
Nine goddess nymphs of Greek myth, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the
spirit of memory. They attend on Apollo, and dwell on Mount Olympus, each
supervising an artistic talent and fostering it in mortals. They are
Calliope, in charge of epic poetry, Erato, for love poetry, Euterpe, for
lyric poetry, Polyhymnia, for religious poetry and hymns, Clio, for history,
Urania, for astronomy and astrology, Terpsichore, for dance, Melpomene for
tragedy and Thalia for comedy.
Nagas are human from waist up and snakes from waist down, although they are
often shown with hooded canopies or seven or more heads. Both sexes are
greatly beautiful, and several royal families in India were able to claim
descent from them, one of their kings married a nagi (a female naga) in the
past. They are in many ways superior to man, and are potentially dangerous,
but have promised only to bite humans who are truly evil or destined to die
prematurely. Originally, they inhabited the surface of the earth, but they
grew too populous and Brahma sent them to the nether regions, where they now
live in a great city filled with palaces beautifully ornamented with gems,
called Naga loka, Patala loka or Bhogavati. Their tribal chief is Taksaka,
and his birthday is still celebrated in
India today as
a Hindu holiday. Nagas are associated with water, and can be guardians of
treasure. However, Buddhists regard them as minor deities and door
The fairies of the Passamaquoddy Native Americans, these are very ugly and
hence try to avoid human sight. However, their interest in the fortune of
the tribe leads them to help them by giving them good luck while hunting,
fishing, and other activities.
Nymphs of the springs, these also make the earth pour forth its fruitfulness
for mankind. A particularly lovely naiad, Daphne was once pursued by Apollo
but escaped from him by changing into a laurel.
Supernatural beings from Myanmar, these may be good or evil and live in the
sea, air or land. They are part of a complex system of spirit worship, and
the most important of them are a group known as the "Thirty Seven Nats", the
souls of thirty-seven legendary men and women, who, like all mortals who
become nats after death, died violently. Nats are much more powerful than
humans and some may be mischievous, unpredictable, and even dangerous, and
will cause trouble if annoyed.
These piteous sprites are found by lakes in Finland and Yugoslavia, and are
thought to be the ghosts of babies who died unbaptised or had been murdered
by parents unable to feed them, rather like Utburds or American Angiaks.
They appear as pale, pretty girls or young children clinging to the branches
of riverside trees like willows, where they cry and moan unhappily.
Sometimes they take the form of huge black ravens that scream in human tones
to passers by, begging for baptism. Others may try to lure people into the
water by pretending they are drowning. Sacrifices were sometimes made to the
navkies who thirsted for revenge against the living, and even today many in
the area respectfully ask the navky's leave before jumping into a stream or
lake to swim.
These deceptive creatures have the outward appearance of a handsome young
man, and one can only recognize him by his teeth, which are like those of a
fish's. He captures young maidens by asking them to scratch his head, but if
they are smart enough to identify him, he will promptly disappear into thin
Nymphs of the sea, these live like female humans in the caverns and grottos
beneath the sea and avert shipwrecks from pious navigators. They descend
from Nereus, the sea god, and Gaea, the earth mother. Examples are
Amphitrite, Poseidon's wife, and Thetis. Peleus, a mortal, fell in love with
Thetis. She changed into many slippery sea animals as he held on to her, but
he did not let go of his grasp, and she became his wife, bearing him a son,
the famous Greek hero Achilles. However, most remain virgins, and mothers
should guard their newborn babies against them.
Little creatures of the Feroes, they wear red caps on their heads and live
in houses bringing good luck to the residences, much like British Brownies.
Literally the children of mist or darkness, these were subterranean Duergar
of Norse folklore descended from Nibelung, famous for having slain twelve
giants. Jealous and selfish, they hoarded a mass of treasure in their
The nickur takes the form of an apple grey horse with hooves reversed, and
will gallop of the cliffs into the sea if one mounts them.
These fairies of Brittany are seen washing the linen of the dead on the banks of
rivers, and may call upon passers by to help them. It is unwise to refuse
their request, as they will drag unhelpful people into the water and break
This mysterious Arthurian enchantress lives on the Isle of Avalon, in the
midst of an imaginary lake surrounded by knights and damsels. The surface of
the lake was only illusion, and concealed her whereabouts. She raised
Lancelot du Lac, bestowing gifts of strength, valor and beauty upon him,
presented Arthur with his sword, Excalibur, and was one of the four fairy
queens who took him to Avalon to rest.
Like the Kobolds, the nisses of
Scandinavia do housework and farmwork at night, and punish servants for
irregularity. The nis resembles a Troll in appearance, and like them, hates noise. He is
half the size of a one year old, but has the face of an old man, and dresses
in grey with a pointed red cap, but wears a round cap on Michaelmas day,
like the peasants of the area. He likes the moonlight, and in winter he may
be seen jumping over yards or driving a sledge. He also loves music and
dancing. A nis called the
kirkegrim can also be found in every church, who looks to order and
Also known as water people, the nixes live in the lakes and rivers of
Germany. The males differ from human males in that they possess green teeth,
and are usually seen wearing green hats. The female nix appears as a
beautiful maiden, and can be seen on sunny days, sitting on tree branches or
the banks of their resident bodies of water and combing her long golden
locks. They have also been seen dancing on the surface of the water just
before someone drowns. Their abode beneath the water is magnificent, and
they may invite humans here as servants. According to the report of a girl
who worked for them once, everything in this realm was excellent, but no
salt could be eaten with one's food. Female nixes would sometimes go to the
market to purchase meat, extremely neatly dressed save the fact that a part
of their clothing, such as the corner of their apron, would be wet. One
should beware the land roaming nix, as they have been known to carry off
women to work as midwives or to tempt men into the waters with their beauty,
These three women sit beneath the world tree Yggdrasil and shape the lives
of men by spinning them. Their names are Urd, Verlandi and Skuld, who know
of the past, the present and the future respectively. They assist at the
births of famous men, bestowing upon them gifts of both good and evil and
foretelling their fortune.
This word originally meant a newly married woman, but now generally applies
to the nature spirits of Greece. They were almost always female and
attractive, and included Oreads, Dryads, Naiads, Limniads, Nereids, and
occasionally the Muses. They were honored with prayer and sacrifice, and had
love affairs with mortals occasionally, and are often the mothers or
ancestors of heroes and warriors. They are something between goddesses and
women, and are long lived because of the ambrosia they eat, but are, like
the natural elements, ultimately destructible.
It is unwise to wander around felled oaks, as oakmen may be lingering around
them, angry at the loss of their parent tree. Beatrix Potter described them
as red nosed dwarfs wearing red toadstools as caps. They guard the wild
animals of the forests and dwell near clumps of bluebells. They may offer
delicious food to passing mortals, but this must be refused, for as soon as
the fairy magic on them is reversed, you will see they are, in reality, bits
of poisonous fungi.
Fish headed beings from another world, these were considered to be sea gods
by the ancient Chaldeans. Oannes lived among men by day, building the great
Sumerian civilization and teaching art, science and religion, while at night
they returned to the Persian Gulf to swim in the ocean.
The King of the Fairies and the husband of Titania, Oberon was said to be a
three-foot high dwarf with a humped back and a charming face. He has been
said to be the son of Cephalonia, Queen of the Hidden Isle and Julius
Caesar. At his christening,
Cephalonia's ladies in waiting bestowed various gifts on him, including the
ability to read mens' thoughts and transport himself to nay place in the
world instantly. However, an evil fairy cursed him, resulting in his low
stature. Still, this defect has not kept Oberon from having numerous affairs
with both human and fairy females.
Ohdows are a race of small well-formed people with the features of the
Native Americans who live underground in
North America and are thus never seen. They possess magical powers, which they
use to subdue the earth spirits, giants that live in a lower level of the
earth. These spirits wish to break out onto the surface, but would wreak
havoc on the world if they ever did so. Sometimes these spirits rebel
against their imprisonment, and we feel the effects of this as earthquakes
or tremors. Luckily, the ohdows always manage to put them back in their
place, allowing the world to rest in peace again.
These are the Nymphs of the mountains and rocks, and generally dwell on
Mount Helicon. An example is Echo, who used to be a handmaiden of Hera and
engaged in gossip with her so that she would not notice that her husband
Zeus was having a love affair. Upon discovery of the truth, Hera punished
Echo by making her only able to repeat the words others said. When she fell
in love with a mortal youth, Narcissus, he scorned her because of this
curse, and so she pined away, and today only her voice can be heard as the
echo in the mountains.
Finnish fairies much like the West European Kobolds, the paras steal milk
from cows and bring them to the sorceress that they serve, disgorging it in
her churn. If troubled by them, it is advisable to find a certain species of
mushroom and fry it with tar, salt and sulfur, then beat it with a rod. At
this, the sorceress will appear and entreat you to spare the mushroom, which
is in reality her para in its daylight form.
With fair skin and beautiful voices, the patupaiarehe of the Maoris gave man
the secret of fishing with nets, and possess canoes made of reeds, which
they can change into sailing vessels, simply by magic. They are known to
fish on the uninhabited
island of Rangi Aowhia.
Fairies of Persia, these can be compared to the good Jinn of the Arabs. They
originated from Zoroastrianism, and are said to live with the
Jinnestân in the mountains of Kâf. Their province is known as Shâd u kam
(meaning pleasure and delight), the capital of which is the beautiful city
of Juherabâd (Jewel city). They are of great beauty, and can fly, although
they are deprived of this power when their clothes are stolen. They have
fantastically long lives, but are subject to death in the end. They wage
constant war with the Deevs, flinging stars and fireballs at each other at
night, and when captured, are hung in iron cages from the tops of high
trees. Here the peri may starve, if other peries do not come to give them
perfume, which they live on. This perfume is the scent of aromatic wood
smoke from religious sacrifices. They may favor lucky mortals with charms or
amulets, or point a path amongst the stars by which the pure in mind can
travel to heaven.
Ancient spirits in Thai folklore, the phi have survived since before the
time of the Buddha. They frequent trees and waterfalls, and may influence
men's fortunes for good or for evil. One branch of the phi, the chao phum
phi, are much like British Brownies, being spirits of the earth and
preferring to haunt houses.
Extremely hairy with the lower end of their bodies ending in goats' hooves,
the pilosi of ancient Gaul were believed to bring good fortune to the home
and so, like British Brownies, were encouraged to sit by the fireside by
nailing a horseshoe to the hearth.
The pixies inhabit the far western areas of England, especially Cornwall,
and it is said that they were the original inhabitants of England, and
fought terrible wars with the Fairies, who arrived during the Roman
conquest. They are usually no larger than a human hand, but can increase and
decrease their size at will. They have red hair, turned up noses, malicious
smiles, and squinting green eyes. Full-grown red headed men with squinting
green eyes are almost always pixies who pass themselves off as humans. Their
costume is entirely green, which gives them camouflage when playing tricks
on unwary travelers. To break a pixy spell, one should turn an item of one's
clothing inside out, and one should do this as soon as one realizes his
condition, as the pixies are not above confusing a person so thoroughly that
he never recovers, but wanders the countryside aimlessly, babbling in
strange languages, a state known as "pixy led". To keep on good terms with
the pixies in the district, one should leave buckets of water out at night
for the pixy mothers to wash their babies in, leave milk on the table for
them to drink, and sweep the hearth clean so that they can dance there.
A Malaysian bottle imp as small as a child s little finger, the polong is
made by a sorcerer taking the blood of a murdered man, putting it in a wide,
round, narrow necked bottle and chanting incantations over it. After a week
or two, the pelesit, a cricket shaped spirit, appears. The polong has to be
fed on blood, so at night, the pelesit is sent to an enemy of the sorcerer s
and enters it tail first, the polong following, sucking his blood. The
victim falls ill, and a medicine man is sent for. If he asks the polong who
sent it, it will reply, saying the sorcerer s name in a chirping,
These sea fairies are spirits of the Pacific, the ogres of the ocean. Headed
by the God of the Sea, they have often been at war against the heroes of New
In South France, it is believed that porpoises live in human form on an
island in the sea, and can walk on the water in this form. Once, when a man
wounded a porpoise, his ship was caught in a deluge and a knight came riding
on a horse upon the sea to get him. He took the offender to the island,
where he had to remove his weapon from the wound of the knight who had been
the porpoise, and was then returned. Since then, sailors of that region no
longer hunt porpoises.
Also known to the French as
Neptunes, the portunes of
England look like old men with
wrinkled cheeks less than a half inch high. They wear little patched coats
and appear in farmers' houses at night through locked doors, warming
themselves at the fire and occasionally roasting frogs on it and eating
them. They will help with housework, and, in spite of their size, can carry
heavy objects into the house quicker and better than a human can. They may
annoy people (though never injuring them) by taking the reins of a horse
they ride and leading it into a neighboring shough.
Pucks are English spirits who confuse travelers by controlling their horses,
leading them astray at night. They are dressed in green, and are beneficial
to all plants, and may sometimes go into a house to help with the housework.
These fairies dwell in the tropical rainforests of northern Queensland, and
are noted for the peculiar relationship they have with the green tree frogs.
They apply a special ointment to the frogs' tonsils, preventing infection in
the humid conditions of their habitat.
These demon goblins have the ability to change their shape at will, and can
appear as monsters, animals, or, in the case of the female rakshasis,
beautiful women who seduce holy men, then eat them. They are usually
depicted with side tusks, ugly eyes, curling awkward brows, bull's heads,
bloated bellies, tangled hair and backward pointing hands. They can cause
leprosy, call upon the dead to form a grisly army, and regenerate severed
arms or heads. Most rakshasas live in Lanka, where their king Ravana, rules,
but many haunt cemeteries eating the flesh of men and sucking cows dry of
milk. Their power is greatest at night, especially during a new moon, and it
peaks at midnight, though dispelled at dawn's first light, and abhor
sacrifice and prayer. Still, not all rakshasas are evil, and many are more
like the Yakshas than their evil brothers.
The ten headed, twenty armed king of the Rakshasas, Ravana ruled in the
kingdom of Lanka possibly Sri Lanka) until he was killed by Rama. Although
once he had been imprisoned by a god in a mountain for a thousand years, he
could only be destroyed by a mortal and thus the gods were powerless to get
rid of him permanently. He came to his end after abducting Sita, Rama's
wife, when Rama, with an army gathered by many of his divine friends
including Kubera, Ravana's half brother, stormed his castle and killed him.
These evil Scottish Goblins live in ruined castles or watchtowers, and prey
on travelers who venture into these. A redcap has fiery red eyes to match
his cap of red, and possesses eagle's claws for hands as well as iron boots
that enable him to run at a great speed, but otherwise he resembles a short,
stocky old man with grey hair. He can overcome the strongest human unless he
remembers to recite a few words from the bible, which will cause the redcap
to disappear. If not, he will be killed, and the redcap will renew the red
of his cap by dipping it in the wanderer's blood.
The son of Oberon, King of the Fairies and a country girl, he was left to
his mother but given the power to transform into any shape and have whatever
he wished from his father. He enjoys playing tricks on mortals, such as
scaring them as a walking fire or rushing between their feet as a hare, then
turning into a horse and carrying them away. However, he is often helpful,
and will appear at night to help maidens with their chores. Although his
clothes are ragged, one should leave a bowl of cream out for him rather than
clothes or else he will think you are trying to bribe him. He sometimes
lives in Fairyland when summoned by his father.
This famous Dwarf appears in the folklore of Scotland, Austria, France,
Russia and Iceland, but the version of his tale that we know best was
documented by the Brothers Grimm, in which a miller's daughter, her father
having boasted to the king that she could spin straw into gold, is locked in
a cell employed to do this. Rumpelstiltskin does this for her, on the
agreement that she gives him her first-born son. The king marries her, and
when a year later Rumpelstiltskin arrives for the son, she pleads with him
to allow her to keep the child if she can guess his name within three days.
At the end of the second day, she has nearly given up hope, but her pages
tell her that they saw a short man in the woods dancing around a fire,
chanting "Little dreams the dainty dame that Rumpelstiltskin is his name!"
With this knowledge, the queen saves her child and the dwarf kills himself
in rage, splitting in half as he stamps on the floor.
The Northern Slavs use this name to apply to entities that appear floating
on rivers as old women's corpses, their skins wrinkled and their faces
bloated. If a child is curious enough to come close to the water, the
rusalki will snatch him away and take him below to torture. The rusalki of
the Southern Slavs, on the other hand, appear in the form of beautiful green
haired maidens. They swing on the branches of trees and play on the surface
of the water, sometimes bathing in the lakes and pools and wringing their
locks on the green meads on the water's edge. They are seen chiefly at
Whitsuntide, when people come out and sing and dance for them, throwing
garlands they have woven for them into the water. However, they are no less
dangerous than their northern relatives. Being the souls of drowned maidens,
they are anxious for company and may lure men to a watery grave with their
songs. They can be avoided by wearing an amulet with wormwood leaves within,
but if foiled, they will tumble angrily in the water, and like the northern
rusalki, tear at the herbage, toss fish out of the water to die, damage fish
nets, mills and dams, and even cause torrential floods. They are at their
most dangerous on Midsummer's Eve, when they are allowed to walk on the
land, in search of their prey, a motive only partially compensated by the
fact that wherever their feet fall, bright blue flowers will grow.
These male followers of Dionysius had legs, hooves, tails and ears of goats,
as well as coarse hairs all over their human torsos and monkey like faces.
Their natures were animal, and they enjoyed music and dancing, as well as
chasing Nymphs through the woods. They helped Dionysius with his wine
making, and often held drunken orgies or scared sheep and travelers. They
were mostly cruel, greedy, lustful and malicious, but their talent for
playing the panpipes was amazing.
English sea fairies, these are mostly female and usually take the forms of
seals, and reflect this even in human form, their eyes brown and beautiful
and their natures mild. They wear seal hides and travel easily through the
water, although they have to come up occasionally for air, and are thought
to be a race of humans driven into the sea for some crime. They sometimes
shed their skins and come onto the shore to dance, but if a mortal male
steals their skins at this time, they will be forced to remain with the man
and become his wife. It is best not to hunt seals for their skins in the
regions where they live, as if this happens, they may raise storms and
upturn fishing boats in a bid for revenge.
An overall Chinese term for gods and spirits. The spirits are always
concrete and palpable in their manifestations. They may be souls of
ancestors, patron gods looking after fields, roads or bridges, immortals, or
river gods hungry for human sacrifice. However, they are generally more
benevolent than the Gui. All shen once lived on earth as mortals and were
greatly virtuous, but died without leaving behind a son to venerate them in
death. We can ask the shen questions by carving words on a bone, heating it,
then reading the cracks, a technique already used in the Shang dynasty with
tortoiseshells and cattle bones.
The general name for the nobility of the Scottish and Irish Fairy courts,
especially the Tuatha De Danaan. They are extremely tall and beautiful, so
much that humans are forbidden to look at them. Their touch can send a man
mad, and their poison tipped arrows cause certain death, as does the sight
of their Queen, Maeve, whose beauty with her white silk mantle, blue eyes
and long, soft hair often kills men with wonder. They spend their time
caring for their animals, drinking whisky, baking bread and enchantingly
playing the bagpipes, fiddle and flute. They appreciate generosity, but
though your leaving a basket of potatoes or whisky near their homes in the
hills will not be overlooked, be warned: they may kidnap humans and use them
as slaves, after which they are never quite the same again, becoming either
madmen or prophets with healing powers.
Much like the Brownies, the silkies are dainty little sprites dressed in
rustling grey or white silk dresses that do housework and chide lazy
servants. They are sometimes thought to be the ghosts of women, and their
mission is often to lead people to the whereabouts of forgotten treasures or
documents. Its work done, the silky will amuse itself by sitting on a tree
branch and leaping out to scare travelers and horses.
These entities of Greek myth were women from waist up and birds from waist
down. They enjoy luring sailors to their deaths by singing enchanting songs,
and when they crash their ships against the black rocks they rest on in an
attempt to get closer, the sirens stop singing and prepare to devour the
sailors' flesh. Odysseus once survived hearing their songs; he had himself
tied to his ship's mast as his ship sailed past them, and had the rest of
his crew's ears stuffed with beeswax so that they could look after the ship
as he fruitlessly struggled to hear the sirens' song better. It is said that
they were so irritated at being defied in this manner that they flung
themselves from their island and were killed on the black rocks themselves.
A variety of the Gui, spirits of accident are the souls of people in China
who have died from accidents, thus perishing before their appointed times
and breaking the cycle of existence. Because of this, they cannot be
reincarnated until they provide the gods of the afterworld with a
replacement spirit. They can only do this after lingering on the
afterworld's fringes for three years, and their replacement must have died
in exactly the same way. They usually haunt their sites of death after
nightfall, trying to encourage these accidents, making it extremely unwise
for mortals to linger where a fatal accident has taken place.
Ugly little creatures with red eyes, spriggans act as slaves to noble
Fairies or as guardians of hidden treasure. They live in Cornwall, and
although very small, can change their size at will and are great prophets
and magicians. However, their bitter nature causes them to be better known
for their skills in kidnapping children, destroying buildings and causing
foul weather. Still, they rarely harm humans, preferring simply to be
In Somerset, South western England, these souls of unbaptised children are
doomed to wander the countryside until Judgment Day. Like Will O the Wisp
or West European Liekko their presence is signaled by curious lights from
the candles they carry to find their way at night. They are often malicious,
and are often blamed for upsetting boats or leading travelers astray on the
road, and their presence is most feared on Midsummer's Eve as this is when
they go to Church to meet the newly dead.
A handsome race of spirits in Algonquian myth, they live in Star country in
the sky. Star country is a beautiful place, with vibrant herbage, fragrant
air and graceful, harmless birds and animals. There is a large opening in
the ground of Star country where you can see the Earth. The star folk may
cast spells on people through this opening, so that they fall ill, and from
this the medicine men can tell that they demand a sacrifice from the person
s relatives for food. Star folk may marry humans, but if just visiting Star
country, take heed that time may pass differently there.
Their name means without equal . This race of Polynesian nymphs may ascend
from limpid pools on moonlit nights to join dancers, only to disappear at
dawn. They chiefly inhabit the pool that leads to the Avaiki, the
underworld, being the daughters of the fearsome goddess of the underworld,
Miru. The tapairus lure seducible men to Miru s palace, where Miru serves
them alcohol, then, after roasting them lightly, eats them. Ngaru, the hero
of Polynesia and the god of the waves, was once taken below, but when Miru
tried to roast him, a deluge cam down, extinguishing the fires of hell.
In Scotland, these are pathetic little spirits of babies who died before
baptism, doomed to wander until Judgment Day. They are heard bewailing their
fate as they flit among the woods, and can only be saved if a mortal douses
them with holy water and gives them a name, saying "I baptize thee in the
name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost." However, this happens
rarely as it is said that conversing with one brings misfortune or even
Mischievous supernatural beings of Japan, the tengus were sometimes thought
to be reincarnations of those who were proud and arrogant in life. They make
their homes in trees in mountainous areas, and are renowned swordsmen,
sometimes lowering themselves to teach this skill to mortal heroes. A tengu
is a small winged creature with a long red nose or a beaklike mouth. Their
tribes are usually headed by chiefs who are larger creatures with prominent
noses, angry, threatening expressions, red robes and feather fans.
Like Indian Rakshasas, these demon goblins of Maori myth have the ability to
take any shape that they desire.
Wife of Oberon, King of the Fairies, Titania has more grace than the bawdy
Queen Mab in ruling her subjects, and is certainly more morally upright than
her rather adulterous husband. She may have descended from the Greek goddess
of the moon, Diana.
A South African version of a poltergeist, Tokolosh is a sullen spirit that
lives beside streams, throwing stones into the water on still nights. Rarely
found indoors, he prefers to frighten lone travelers on the road, usually by
jumping on a small animal or bird and strangling it, the poor thing's
panicked cry scaring the traveler out of his wits. He is described as being
something like a baboon, but smaller and without a tail. He is covered with
black hair and has hands and feet like humans. He has never been heard to
speak, but has been known to perform other cruel deeds.
Scandinavian trolls live in hills, mounds and hillocks, sometimes in single
families and sometimes in whole societies. They have no kings or classes,
but are very rich, decorating their homes with silver and crystal from the
stocks of buried treasure that they find. They marry, have children, bake
and brew like the peasants, but hate noise, and can be sent away by the
sound of church bells if they plunder parties. They have the abilities to
turn themselves into any shape, to foresee the future, to confer prosperity
or poverty on any families they choose, to bestow bodily strength, and to
perform numerous feats beyond man. One can recognize the males by their
large humps on their backs, their long crooked noses, their grey jackets,
and red caps, though the females are comely enough.
These small, green clothed people of Shetland are divided into land trows
and sea trows. Land trows can travel by mounting bulrushes, and love music
and dancing, the places where their feet touch forming fairy rings where
toadstools grow. They are susceptible to disease, but have wonderful cures
for them, which they may give to humans. They sometimes steal milk from
cows, and when they are in need of meat, they shoot a cow with their tiny
arrows and leave a simulacrum of the cow in its place, the meat of which is
unadvisable to eat. They often invite mortals into their homes, using
prostitutes as their wet nurses. Sea trows inhabit a region at the bottom of
the sea, in beautiful buildings, and may possess the bodies of animals when
going to the surface, usually large seals. When going onto land itself, they
will leave behind their skins, but if they lose these, will have to stay on
earth forever, rather like British Selkies.
TUATHA DÉ DANAAN
These are majestic Irish fairies, immortal and born of the goddess Dana.
They are said to have come from heaven, endowed with gifts of science and
craftsmanship, especially in the area of metalworking. One of their works
was the Cauldron of Dagda, fashioned by the elder knights and able to feed
an entire army and still remain full. Dagda himself was the generous chief
deity of the Tuatha dé Danaan. Originally a gigantic race, they were
defeated by the Milesians and drew cloaks of invisibility around themselves,
retreating to their palaces beneath the ocean or in the Hollow Hills, where
they remain eternally young and fair.
These fair-haired fairies of
Polynesia have Uetonga as their King. He is the grandson of Ruaua Moko, the
god of earthquakes. A prince, Mataora, once fell in love with Niwareka,
daughter of Uetonga. They were married for a few years before Mataora lost
his temper with Niwareka and she left him for her realm, and he was forced
to go through Pou Tere Rangi, the gate of heaven, to fairyland to get her
back. He persuaded her to return by singing a love song, but as they left,
Kuwatawata, the gatekeeper, told them that he was closing the gate, so that
no one would ever be able to return to earth from fairyland again. Uetonga
gave Mataora a cloak called Rangi Haupapa, and its designs are still coined
by artisans today. He also taught him the arts of tattooing, weaving cloaks
and carving leather.
Also known as the Fair Family, this master race of Welsh elves have blond
hair and live beneath the waters, their lands reached via secret passages in
caves and under riverbanks. Visitors should be wary of the time distortion
that occurs when spending time in their realm: one of their days is in
reality a hundred mortal years. Visitors may also be given gifts, although
these may well turn worthless upon reaching the surface. The chief vice of
the tylweth teg is their habit of stealing blond babies and young blonde
These little people of
Lapland live underground but often come up to the surface, especially in
winter when they feed sleeping bears and other hibernating animals. The
Lapps are nomadic, and when they pitch their tents on a new area, the sound
of the uldra moving about beneath may warn them that they are blocking their
access to the surface, and if they do not move the uldra may punish them by
poisoning their reindeer or exchanging an uldra baby for one of theirs.
Uldra babies have long teeth and faces covered with black hair. To regain
one's child, it has been advised to beat the baby with a burning tree branch
until its mother, hearing its screams, comes to rescue it. Alternatively,
some say it is best to treat him kindly, so that the mother will be touched
and return restore the human baby to its cradle.
Urisk are a rough, solitary Scottish fairy that are half human and half goat
and resemble the South European Satyr. He is very lucky to have around the
house, and his great strength makes him suited for farm work. Rather
wistful, he sometimes loiters around pools at night seeking to befriend
stray travelers who are usually terrified by his appearance.
Perhaps comparable to the Southern European Fatae or the Northern European
nornir, these male fairies of the Roumanian Gypsies appear to a child on the
third night after his birth to decide his future. At this time, no one can
see them save the child himself, his mother and a sorceress. It is
impossible to annul the life they have chosen for the infant.
Vengeful infant ghosts rather like American Angiaks, Norse children who were
left to die because their families could not feed them or their mothers were
unwed became spirits burning for revenge, and each would gather its strength
only after its mother's death, then prey on solitary travelers, often in the
form of a white owl. Though its cry might warn the victim, escape was
unlikely as the utburd could expand to the size of a small house and totally
The Southern Slavs believe in these female spirits who appear young and
beautiful with long flying hair and white garments but who have the voices
of woodpeckers. Sometimes they are seen riding seven-year-old harts with
bridles made of snakes. They are thought to be the spirits of maidens who
perished before baptism or marriage, and are generally malign in nature,
sporting habits such as shooting deadly arrows at men and carrying off
children whose parents have been consigned to the devil by their parents in
fits of anger. They enjoy dancing in roundels under trees, and may also
spend time comforting lovesick deer and collecting storms in the heavens.
They may appear to a hero to foretell his impending death. If a fortress is
being built, they may knock down its rising walls each night, and can only
be appeased by immuring a young, lovely female within its walls.
Never more than eighteen inches tall, these unpleasant spectral entities can
be recognized from their flaming red colour and their horribly pointed,
bloodstained teeth. When a person is to die soon, they gibber excitedly
outside his house, and although they can be repelled by a shaycana or
medicine man, prevention is better than cure so it is advisable to erect a
small shrine in their honor and burn daily gifts of flowers and spices for
These water imps of Russia dwell at the bottoms of millponds and lakes in
palaces illuminated by magic crystals that glow with a green light, which,
on still nights, can be glimpsed in the depths of the water. One can also
hear their threshing and snarling at when a millwheel turns. People bathing
at night without a crucifix around their necks are said to be likely to be
drowned by them, and made their slaves. Villagers have tried to appease them
with sacrifices of lambs or horses, but they persist on preying on humans,
often taking the guise of a floating log and snatching unwary passers by.
The vodyanioi are extremely ugly, with long green hair, ed eyes and bloated
faces. Their skin is spongy and moist with the pallor of a corpse, and where
they sit, puddles of water remain. They age according to the cycles of the
moon, becoming young, vigorous and hungry with the new moon. The men's
beards also change colour with the moon's phases.
This Elf lives in a cave in
Berkshire, England and
acts as a supernatural blacksmith, shoeing travelers' horses for no more
than sixpence, being offended when more is offered.
This Chinese fairy featured in the popular tale of the Weaver Girl and the
Cowherd. The cowherd saw the weaver girl bathing in a lake with her friends,
and stole her cloak of feathers so that she would be unable to return to her
home in the sky. He made her become his wife, and they had a son and a
daughter, but one day the son found the cloak and she flew to heaven with
it. However, the cowherd managed to follow her, but, being happy to see each
other again, they neglected their work and so God had them separated. We can
see the weaver girl as the star Vega and the cowherd as Altair, and the
river separating them is the Milky Way. Still, on the seventh day of the
seventh month of the lunar calendar, God sends the magpies from earth to the
heavens to form a bridge across the river so that the two lovers can be
together, and the tears of joy the weaver girl sheds at this time fall to
the earth as rain.
These house spirits live behind walls and under floors in the houses of
Germany, and knock or tap three times to communicate with mortals; this
signal usually indicates the death of the head of the household. Although
amiable and industrious, they tend to be extremely ugly, but have been known
to fall in love with young mortal girls, especially maidservants, and may
appear to them to declare their affection. If the girl should scream (and
she usually does), the wichtlein will wreak havoc in the house. Wichtlein
also live beneath mounds or stumps in the garden, and will frighten away
tramps and other visitors. They are frightened of water and will avoid
streams and creeks and hide when it is raining, and holy water is instant
death to them. A masthead, anchor or other ship's artifact also tends to
repel wichtlein if displayed prominently near a house.
German for "wild women", these entities have fine, flowing hair, are of
great beauty and live in the hills. They are good to mortals, and mostly
live in Wunderberg or Underburg, a great moor near Salzburg. This moor is
hollow, and is supplied with stately palaces, churches, monasteries,
gardens, and springs of gold and silver. Little men also live here, and take
charge of the treasures. Giants can also be found here, as well as Charles
V, who sleeps here with a company of knights. His beard has already twice
grown round the table at which he sits, and the third time it does so will
signal the Antichrist's coming. The wild frauen sometimes go out to the
village and help people to reap the corn or give bread to the children
keeping cattle. They may sometimes steal children, but only to give the
children better lives, dressing them in green and looking after them well.
XI WANG MU
The Queen Mother of the West, Xi Wang Mu is a great Chinese fairy goddess
who dwells in the depths of a cave in the Kunlun Mountains, near the supreme
ruler. She was usually thought of as a man-eater with wild hair, a leopard's
tail and tiger jaws, as well as its roar, and was believed to spread
plagues. She is the goddess of death, but also keep the herb of immortality,
and sometimes holds feasts high up on a jade tower. More recently, she has
been portrayed as a stately Chinese lady, balanced between maidenly delicacy
and matronly opulence, bearing the peach, a symbol of longevity, and riding
a phoenix. These peaches used to grow in her capital, in
Kunlun Park and Wide
Wind Garden, but the Monkey God, Sun Wu Kong stole them from her.
Xian are Chinese immortals, men and women who developed supernatural powers
within their lifetimes and become a kind of Eastern parallel to Christian
saints and are elevated to the status of gods after death. There are
hundreds of them, and they lead happy carefree lives for eternity in the
Kunlun Mountains or on the Islands of the Blessed in the Eastern Sea. The
most famous are the Ba Xian, or Eight Immortals, a group of xian whose
membership has varied over the centuries, but is presently made up of Zhang
Gao Lao, Zhong Li Quan, Han Xiang Zi, He Xian Gu, Lan Cai He, Li Tie Guai,
Lü Dong Bin and
Cao Guo Jiu .
All have interesting stories behind their names, about their lives on earth
and in heaven.
The sky demons of the Kyakas of Papua New Guinea. They can cause storms with
thunder and lightning, and can kill people unprotected by their ancestor
Benevolent nature spirits, yakshas were the guardians of treasures hidden in
the earth and the roots of trees. Their ruler is Kubera, who rules them from
a mountain in the Himalayas. They are paid homage to as tutelary deities of
cities, districts, lakes and wells, and are thought to have originated from
a cult of the ancient Dravidians.
Appearing to men disguised as a beautiful girl, the Yama Enda will seduce
him, then devour him like a tigress. She comes from the folklore of the
Kyakas in Papua New Guinea.
Yara is a vengeful spirit of a maiden murdered by her sweetheart, and now
lures young men to the water's edge in an attempt to drown them. In order to
be immune to her enchanting song, the youth should wear around his neck a
small shell that his mortal sweetheart has sung into. When Yara's song
begins to take effect, he should take the shell and hold it to his ear, and
this will strengthen him against her charms.
On Goree Island, south of Cape Verde Peninsula in Senegal, West Africa, the
Jaloff inhabitants believe in a folk called yumboes. A yumbo is two feet
high and has pearly skin and silver hair (in Africa, all that is unnatural
is associated with the colour white). They are sometimes known by the
Jaloffs as the Bakhna Rakhna, literally the good people, an interesting
parallel to the Scots' calling British Fairies the Good Neighbors. They
enjoy dancing and feasting by moonlight and live in magnificent subterranean
dwellings in the Paps, a group of hills about three miles from the coast.
They have invited many people here, both native and European. These guests
tell tales of being served at richly furnished tables where they were served
by servants invisible except for their hands and feet. Yumboes may come out
to the village in the evening dressed in pangs, oblong cotton cloths that
the natives manufacture and wear which, when worn, cover all of the body
except for the eyes and the nose. It is around this time when they obtain
corn for their food. After housewives have pounded the corn and left them in
their calabashes, the yumboes may steal this away, and later use it for
their own food. They also eat fish, which they fish for themselves in their
canoes at night and roast in the fires left burning outside by the Jaloffs
to keep away wild beasts. Sometimes they bury palm wine in the ground, wait
for it to sour, then drink it until they become intoxicated and make a great
noise, beating their Jaloff drums on the hills.
This Japanese poltergeist has been thought to be the spirit of a little boy.
Extremely mischievous, he often disturbs families at night, but one should
not try to scare him away as he brings good fortune.
ZHANG GUO LAO
Some say he was a bat who changed into a man, others suppose him to have
been a woodcutter in Shanxi, China at
the beginning of the seventh century. Li Tie Guai presented him with a mud
pill which revived dead fish, which he swallowed, and he is now a member of
the Ba Xian, and rides on a white ass who can cover a thousand miles a day,
then be folded up like a piece of paper and put away. He is symbolized by
the bamboo cane, but is also shown with two drumsticks, a phoenix feather,
or a peach.
ZHONG LI QUAN
Recognizable from his bare belly and the fan or feather duster he carries,
which can bring the dead back to life, Zhong Li Quan is one of the Ba Xian,
and lived in the Han dynasty in China, discovering the philosopher s stone
(which could melt mercury, burn lead and turn them into yellow or white
gold) and how to fly through the air. He is closely associated with Lü Dong
Bin, another of the Ba Xian, Alfar the Norse name for their Elves. Their
natures were good and elevated and they tended to be friendly to men. They
live in the city of Alfheim, and are divided into the Liosálfar, the light
elves, whose skins are whiter than the sun, and the Döckálfar, the dark
elves, whose skins are darker than pitch.
German dwarfs, these live within the earth where their apartments and
chambers are filled with gold and precious stones. At night they may visit
the surface, and at these times are silent, beneficent, and willing to serve
those who help them. If they are displeased, they will vent their anger on
man's cattle instead of on humans, plaguing and tormenting them. They may
also live in springs, wells, clefts, holes in rocks, or ruined castles. They
are of flesh and bone, and bear children and die like men, but have the
power to turn invisible and pass through rocks and walls as we pass through
air, swimming through the earth as fishes swim through water. When they
appear to men, they may lad them with them into cliffs, and give them
valuable gifts. However, they have a habit of stealing corn from fields. Not
much is known of them, as they have no proper communication with man.