I decided to add in something new, something with a little bit of wildness to it like those damn pesky faeries, so I decided to do some folklore. I am coming to discover that this uncovers a bucket of worms the size of Siberia. After doing some research I have found that folklore covers everything from your typical stories of faeries and trolls, to throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder if you tip over the salt shaker, to the boy who called wolf, to UFOs. You can imagine my thoughts on writing this page, where do I begin? Even so, I am dedicated to bring this topic to you. This more than anything else is the epitome of what gives a culture character. Besides, if I don't the Boogie Man might come and get me!
I did end up splitting up the folklore subjects because of the amount of information, so if it is mummies and the creature under the bed type of folklore that you are looking for, click on the Monsters button and UFO's should be self explanatory. Here I will cover some areas that have caught my eye about faeries, pixies, brownies, gremlins and generally anything that is mischievous or not as malevolent.
Realize that I will not cover everything here, the bulk of the information I am going to let you dig for. There is just too much to cover. Even so, there are some fantastic sites out there. Make sure you check out some of the links, the amount of information in some of them is just staggering. This page is very much under construction, but keep checking back, I will add as I can.
The first nasty little bugger I am going to cover is leprechauns. Part of me wants to put him in the monster section because that is where he really belongs. It actually is a faerie, and as such has magic, but most people don't categorize him as a faerie. Many pictures of him are depicted as happy go lucky and full of charm. What was a more common belief back in the time when he was believed to be real, was that he was not nice at all. If some one crossed him he would play cruel jokes. He was very jealous of his gold and would protect it fiercely. "Go find the pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow." was a two fold statement. One, most leprechauns hid their money so well that you would have an easier time plucking the wings off of a dragon as finding the bottom of the rainbow or a leprechauns gold. Two, it was said as a sarcastic statement, almost a curse, because if you ever did get a hold of the little guys pot of gold, you were in the biggest world of crap that anyone has ever seen. Now depending on which legends you read, it was possible to get one up on a leprechaun if you where to get one of his gold coins. He would grant you a wish to get his gold back. Considering the mischievous nature of faeries, who knows what you would get in the end. There is a movie called Leprechaun that is a fairly good representation of what they were really like, rent it and see what you think.
I suppose what I should have covered first was some of the general information on faeries. All faeries, in there all of their varieties, have an aversion to iron. It is deadly to them, and is one of the few things that can truly kill them. No one really knows how long they live, some say forever. If they are not immortal, they have been said to live thousands of years. There are many different kinds of the fae folk as well and many different names. Just a few of names would be faeries(or fairies), the fae(or fay), wee folk, sprites, widgets, and the nisse. All fae have a certain natural ability with a form of magic. Each of the fae can have a different kind of magic. For instance, it is said that it is the fairies that bring each of the seasons. This is the origins of Jack Frost.
One of the most well known of these wee creatures, is Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. I hear the familiar "Oh yeah! Pixie dust!" Yes that is the one. As an odd bit of fact, most of Tinkerbell's figure was based off of Marilyn Monroe. Yes, pixies are one of the few faeries that believe that having fun is enough. That pranks are not always required, although appreciated. Typically speaking they are also rather small, at the most 6 inches tall. Most depictions of these fae indicate that they have wings, almost like a cross between a butterfly and a hummingbird. They would appear to be the most delicate of the fairy world, but pixies are surprisingly strong and tough for their size. This is not to say that they can take on a rhino, but considering most are a few inches tall, they are underestimated quite a bit. Another feature is, most of them glow to a certain extent. These fae are not malicious in nature, they are mainly just out to have fun and will even help others out when they can. Pixies find the surprised expressions when someone discovers something nice has been done while they weren't looking to be appealing and in many ways, very funny. They are loyal to their friends but mainly, having fun is what it is all about.
Alright, lets talk about another type of fae, the brownie. These little guys usually don't have wings, but are still very small, maybe three to six inches tall. These are the fae that are said to be dancing in the mornings before the dawn and would leave fairy rings in the grass. Mainly the tales thay you would hear about from Ireland or Scotland are about brownies. These wee folk, as they were commonly called in Ireland, are all about fun, literally. They would have no problem cutting wood and stacking it all up to see the shocked look on your face. At the same time, they would definitely would want to see the expression on your face after they have pulled your clean clothes off of the clothesline and into the mud. While you are cursing and throwing your linen around in a fury, they would be behind the bushes giggling. There are countless tales of michief related to brownies and their antics are widely varied.
So lets move on to something beside faeries. How about gremlins? Stories about gremlins became more popular in World War II, especially with the English, but there have been tales dating back several centuries in Japan. Most people have heard of gremlins because of the movie that came out in 1984. These creatures are truly mischievious in every sense of the word and I think they secretly train in a facility with Murphy as their task master (you remember Murphy's Law right? "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the most inopportune time.") Gremlins are the ones that mess with the wiring on your toaster so it will set your bread on fire, rig your car so that the horn is connect to the brake lights, or weaken the back of your seat so as your driving down the road all of a sudden your seat reclines all of the way back and you find yourself laying down facing the dome light as your car drives with no one steering. If you hear a cackling after something like this, you are probably dealing with a gremlin. Gremlins are almost never seen. They like making their efforts look like "accidents". They are usually assocciated to mechanics of some kind. Breaking something or rigging a device to do exactly what it should not do is what gremlins love to do the most. The reason I mentioned Murphy above is that gremlins are known to make sure that they do their antics at precisely the moment that you don't want to deal with it. World War II pilot were said to have all kind of problems with their aircraft and to hear laughter when things went wrong or an unidentifiable slime in the aircraft.
Well those are the big ones in folklore. They are hundreds of other types of
creatures spanning all of the world and some I have described above may be known by a different name in
another cultures. I will try to add more as I do some research, but by all means if you know of something
that I forgot or you think I am misinformed, don't be shy send me some mail!
Great Folklore Page
Even Better Folklore Site
The Folklore Society
Scottish Fairy Tale Page