“The hall opened up before her, golden and bright. Dancers filled its jasper floors, swirling between the agate pillars. The whole of her vision was consumed by them as they gamboled past. Their vague features were smudged and undefined, revealed only in flashes. A kaleidoscope of pictures falling like leaves before her eyes; a donkey’s nose, an ox’s horns, a fox’s tail, or a raven’s eye. Some with faces like angels, others as wrinkled as old trees. The goblins laughed and cried and belled and roared as they danced to the fiddler’s wild tune.” – excerpt from Lumina and the Goblin King
“Goblin”… “Fairy”… I’ve often found these terms used interchangeably. Though it seems in most lore that the term “goblin” is usually given to those fae creatures who take delight in making mischief for mischief’s sake, and those that tend towards the doing of darker deeds (at least certainly as far as humans would be concerned).
With the idea of making the distinction between the courts easier within the book, all those creatures who gather beneath the Goblin King’s banner are called “goblins”. The ones you’ll meet are many and varied; and though not necessarily evil, they are the less lovely denizens of fairy and often have more earthy, even bestial natures. Many of them are also not the ones most often read about.
So with that in mind, I am going to follow a piece of very wise advice that was given to me and make some introductions over the next couple of posts.
So without further ado…
Bogels – a somewhat generic term for many types of goblins whose temperament varies from irksome to truly malicious.
Boomen – a hobgoblin of the Orkney and Shetland islands. Similar in nature to a Brownie (a common name for a house fairy).
Bodach – this goblin will creep down the chimney to pinch or poke naughty children while they sleep, filling their dreams with nightmares or stealing them from their beds entirely.
Henkies – short, squat trows (trolls) of the Orkney or Shetland islands. They love music and come out at night to dance around earthen mounds, called Henkie knowes. Henkies limp (or henk) as they dance, hence the name.
Glastigs – a water fae, she haunts lakes and rivers, luring men to dance with her before draining them of their blood. Her goat legs are hidden beneath a long flowing dress of green. She has another side, as fae often do, and is sometimes known to watch over cattle, and in turn, the children and elderly who look after the herds.
Powries – much like Red Caps, these goblins haunt old watch towers and the edges of ancient battlefields, wherever a great deal of blood has been spilled. They are murderous folk who take delight in rolling boulders down on unwary travelers.
Muilearteach – a blue-faced hag similar to the cailleach bheur who is born every Samhain with her the dark months of winter.
Wulver – a man with a wolf’s head found in the folklore of the Shetland islands. Benevolent, so most say. He might even share a fish or two with those who need.
Curious to read more about the Goblin King’s host? Then I hope you’ll join me for my next post where I will continue on with the introductions. Until then, here are some resources that I have used that might go a ways to satisfying your curiosity:
The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore
By Patricia Monaghan
An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures
by Katharine Briggs
Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology
By Theresa Bane
Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee