Up the steps she climbed and her feet were as light as air because her journey was almost at an end. As she went she wondered if her sweetheart was okay, would he be surprised that she found him despite his dire prediction? Would he be as overjoyed to see her as she would be to see him? But that was the question, was it not? Would he be happy to see her after she ignored his warning and betrayed his trust?
Her heart began to grow heavy with such thoughts, so that when she reached the top of the stairs, it was though her feet had turned to lead.
A grassy hill top rose up before her. On its crown was a lovely castle made of airy spires as delicate as spun glass. She by contrast was as grubby as a beggar-maid, with her shoes full of holes and her once fine dress worn down to threads. Aurelina could not bring herself to got to the front door, but instead went round to where the servants would be found.
Once there, she knocked on the door and asked if there was work to be had. The servant who answered the door did not recognize his former mistress. But he was kind enough, and was told that there was work to be had in the kitchen, if she was willing to work hard.
And so she did, scrubbing pots and carrying trays until her arms were sore. Sneaking glances of her raven-haired love whenever she could. Most often she saw him when cook would send her out into the kitchen garden to pick vegetables for that night’s dinner. Always the Raven King would come out onto his balcony to stare out across the sea.
One day the cook caught her at it.
“Well, Missy,” she said, “if you have time to be mooning about, you have time to help others out!” and sent her off to steward so she might help with the upstairs cleaning.
The steward looked disapprovingly at Aurelina’s tattered self but sent her off anyway to help sweep the chambers and make the beds. That was how she found herself in the Raven King’s bedchamber, staring at the rumpled bedsheets. Unable to help herself, she laid down, resting her head on his pillow. It was soft and warm, and brought to mind happier times when she and her sweetheart would talk and laugh in their castle of alabaster with its shining silver roofs. Truth be told, she would be happy to live in the crude little hut he had first brought her to, if only they were living in it together.
Yet she still could not bring herself to reveal who she was, fearing that she would learn he no longer loved her. That truth would hurt her far worse than the loneliness of being so close to him, and him not knowing. It felt as though she were further away from him now than ever she had been while on her journey.

* * * *

That night, when the Raven King went to lay down in his bed, he found a single hair, bright as spun gold gleaming across his pillow. It pierced his heart like an arrow, for he missed his Aurelina and often wondered where she was out in the wide world.
He carefully wrapped the golden strand around the third finger of his left hand and fell asleep to dream of the smiling face of his love.
This went on for far longer than it should, but that is be expected. People often are fools when the heart is involved. One season passed into the next and Aurelina would sneak in to lay her head on the king’s pillow and he would find golden hair every night and wrap it around his finger.

There did finally come a point where the Raven King decided there needed to be a resolution. So he went out as he usually did in the day, but snuck back in to hide in his closet. Shortly after, he saw one of the servants come in to clean. Her back was to him, she wore a tattered dress that may have once been fine and her hair was caught up beneath a large handkerchief. She lay down on his bed, much to his surprise, resting her head with a sigh on his pillow.
He waited for a moment, then crept out to look down on the sleeping woman’s face. Her cheeks had been darkened by the sun and made rough by the wind and the hand beneath her cheek was callused but that did not stop him from recognizing his own heart’s desire.
Gently he brushed his hand over her head, drawing with it the handkerchief. A river of golden hair spread out across his pillow and his bride, lost to him so long ago, opened her glorious eyes. Startled, she gasped and sat up.
“I truly did not think I would see you again in this life time,” he said and a soft smile was on his lips. “Why did you hide yourself among the servants? Why did you not show yourself to me?”
“I was not sure if you would be happy to see me,” she admitted. “I thought you may be mad at me for betraying your trust, and not heeding your warning.”
“I was mad, for a time,” he said. “But only because I was forced to leave you. I knew it was a risk to give you the napkin before we were wed but even so, I would have you happy no matter the cost to myself. Yet you found me, which could have been no small feat. How did you manage such a thing?”

So she told him of her travels and all that she had gone through to find him. He, in turn, finally told her of the curse that his stepmother, the dowager queen, had put him under so that he might never find a queen of his own, in order to force him as far away from his father’s kingdom as she could. The princess told him of how she watched him and laid her head on his pillow every morning after he was gone and he showed her the strands of hair that he had wrapped about his finger.
And in this telling all was made plain and what ever secrets or doubts there might have been between them where banished like ghosts. Finally the golden-haired princess and her raven king where reunited. The band of hair encircling the Raven King’s finger became a solid band of gold and a matching one graced Aurelina’s finger, so now they might never be parted again.

The End

I hope you enjoyed the Raven’s Bride!

All around them the surface of the lake began to shiver. Their boat shied and shifted beneath them, as two pointed ears rose up from the depths. They were soon followed by a pony’s shaggy head, and before long a phooka was standing chest deep in the water beside them. His mane hung lank with waterweed and lilies. His hide was the same color as the space between the stars, but his eyes glowed green like marshlights.

– excerpt from Lumina and the Goblin King

Mischievous and delightfully tricksy, the phooka is a shapeshifter who is said to take on any number of different forms – hounds, hares, goats, even eagles – but the one of its favorites is that of a horse or pony. Usually a seemingly harmless creature who just so happens to be in the perfect place when a weary (or tipsy) traveler needs a ride. Of course, its not the ride they expected. But a wild race over high hedges and through sucking bogs most often ending with the rider being tossed into some pond or puddle; the phooka laughing all the while. Sometimes the rider would come to a darker end, but usually the phooka is just out for a bit of mischief and is much less murderous than the Scottish Kelpie or Each-uisge. In fact, it can be said that they are generally well-disposed towards humans. However, they do enjoy leading them astray. Pouk-ledden it is called, and those that find themselves caught up in such a glamour can wander round and round the whole night through without knowing where they are. When the morning comes, they may find themselves far from home or standing on their very doorstep.

There are many places and times of year associated with the phooka. Samhain (Oct. 31st-Nov. 1st) is one of those times, which usually marked when the last of the crops were brought in. It was (and sometimes still is) tradition to leave a small portion of the harvest, the “phooka’s share”, in the field to placate him.

I have to admit, the phooka has always been my favorite, even from the time when I was very young. A fairy that can be a horse? How could a little girl who loved horses not like such a creature! I still have a big soft spot for them, and they often appear in my stories, usually as irreverent rogues. They inevitably turn out to be some of my favorite characters to write.

Phookas have appeared in many different books, under many different names (pooka, pwca, púca, pookha, phouka, pouke, to name a few). One book I have read many times over the years is “The Grey Horse” by R.A. MacAvoy. An interesting story to read if you like a book with historical flavor as well as an otherworldly element.

Other books I have enjoyed that were published much more recently are the Faerie Sworn series by Ron C. Nieto (The Wild Hunt, The Wild Curse, The Wild Herald). The series definitely has its own unique flare, but the most compelling thing about it is the personalities and logic of the fae in it which are undeniably not the same as a human’s. It also explores the fact that there are rules, cautions and consequences for those humans who find themselves caught up in fairy dealings.

I have mentioned several other sources in previous posts that are good places to read more about the phooka. But there are also many website that are worth taking the time to explore. Here are some of the links:

yourirish.com

Puca – Wikipedia

IrishCentral.com

Sacred-Texts.com

If you read part 2 of The Raven’s Bride and were a little confused, you are not alone. It seems I left out the whole conversation between Death and his Grandmother (thank you to my husband for catching that!). The post has been edited to add that section back in, and now makes a great deal more sense. Sorry!!!!

She walked and walked, the whole day through until she could go no more, then she laid herself down to rest. She woke the next morning and set out again. Everyday she searched, asking all she met if they had seen a great black raven flying overhead and if they had what direction he might have gone, but no one could tell her a thing. This went on for quite some time till it seemed to Aurelina that she had walked the whole world round. Then one day, just as night was falling, she came to a hut at the edge of a wood. Unable to put one foot in front of the other, she knocked on the door not caring who it was that might answer.
The door opened and there stood an old woman with cloud-white hair and a kindly face.
“Child, you should not be here,” said the old woman. “This is Death’s house and it would do you no good if he were to find you here. He spares none, young or old, fair or foul. I should know, I am his grandmother.”


But Aurelina, beyond caring, found that she could not walk another step. Death’s grandmother seeing how tired she was, took pity on the princess. She offered her food and drink, and while they ate, the princess told the old woman everything that had happened. The old woman admired her determination to find the sweetheart she had lost.
“There may be somewhat that I can do to help you,” she said. “Do you see the clock in the corner there? When you have done eating, climb into it and be very quiet. When my grandson returns home, we will see if he knows something which might help you in your quest.”
Aurelina did as the old woman suggested. It was no trouble for her to hide in the clock, for it was a huge old thing that filled the corner of the room and could have fit three of her inside with room to spare.
It wasn’t long before she heard the door open and close. The air around her became frigid and it took all that she had to keep her teeth from chattering.

“Hello Grandmother!” Death said and she shivered to hear his voice. “Phew… I smell mortal blood in the house for sure!”
“Nonsense!” exclaimed his grandmother. “Mortal blood indeed! As if a mortal would come to this house if they had anywhere else to go! Though I did have quite the dream today. Sit down and eat, and I will tell you all about it.”
The princess could hear the scrape of the chair as Death sat down to dinner and the clank of silverware as he ate. As for herself, she stayed as quiet as a mouse, barely drawing a breath.
“So tell me of this dream, Grandmother. Was it a true dream or no?”
“Well I can’t say,” said the grandmother. “I dreamt of a golden-haired princess who roamed the world, hunting for her Raven sweetheart. But sadly, no matter how far she wondered she could not find him.”
“Ah, it was a true dream then, for there is such a princess and she has wandered far looking for her sweetheart, just as you have said. Unlikely though she is to find him.”
“Really? Why would you say so?”
“Because he lives in a castle, on an island in an endless sea, at the furthest edges of the earth.”
“How unfortunate! I had hoped that she would find him. But you say there would be no way for her to reach him?”
“Only if she were to have my pale horse. He can travel faster than a wish and would get her to the seashore quickly enough.”
“But that still leaves the endless sea for her to cross. Maybe she could find a boat to take her…”
“Pfft, there is no boat that can sail that sea! But at its edge is a gnarled old pine tree with a hat snagged in its branches. That hat belongs to the west wind and he has been long looking for it. If she were to have it then perhaps he would take her across that great water. Now I’m off about my business, thank you for my dinner!”
“Of course, my dear. You are very welcome,” Death’s Grandmother replied. “Will your horse need feeding as well?”
“You need not mind him. I left him grazing in the wood next door where I am sure he will be content till I have need of him again.”
With that, Aurelina heard the swish of a cloak and the opening and closing of a door and the air about her grew warmer again.
A moment after that, the door to her hiding place opened and the old woman’s kind face peered in.
“So there you are, my child. The pale horse waits in the wood next door, if you are stouthearted enough to ride him,” said the old woman. “Mount on his back and tell him were you wish to go and he will take you there. Be steadfast and brave and you may yet find your sweetheart. Good luck!”
Aurelina thanked her and left.

Just next door to the hut there was a tall dark wood, exactly as the old woman had said. Aurelina searched resolutely through the trees despite the shivers that ran up and down her spine. Sure enough, she found Death’s pale horse tethered to an old oak, grazing peacefully.
He was a fearsome beast, as pale as old bone and the glow of gravelights shone from his eyes and softly blowing nostrils.

Despite her shaking hands, Aurelina resolutely loosened the pale horse’s bridle and mounted upon his back. He stood quiet enough so she told him where she wished to go. Away he flew like a whirlwind and before she could catch her breath, he had her on the shore of the endless sea. She dismounted from his back, and away he sped back towards his home.

The princess found the gnarled old pine tree that Death had mentioned not far from where the pale horse had left her. Snagged in its branches was an old hat, just as Death had said there would be. All through the tree top birds flew, squabbling over the hat and generally making a huge hubbub.
Picking up a pebble, the princess waited and threw it in their midst just as they had tugged the hat free from the branches. With a indignant squawk, they dropped the hat and flew away.
Aurelina caught the old hat, and as she did she saw a fair-faced man dancing along the dune towards her, setting the grasses asway and aflutter around him.
“My hat, my hat, my dear sweet princess you have finally found my hat!” He spun her around and kissed her cheek his breath was warm and sweet. “No need to tell me your wish for I have seen you wandering the world and heard you asking about a certain Great Black Raven.”
“Take my hand, take my hand for I was always one with a soft heart for lovers,” and with that he swept her up onto his back.
Away he flew. The tumultuous waves that sped beneath them tickled her tired toes and the sea spray kissed her chapped lips. Before long she stood on another shore with a long line of steps stretching up a rocky crag before her and the west wind’s wishes for good luck still whispering in her ears.

To be continued in The Raven’s Bride Pt. 3

I hope you’ve found the posts interesting so far! Of course, there are many, many, many more goblins which I did not mention (no offence intended!).

This is the final post of The Goblin Host, but next week’s will be about one of my favorite goblins – the phooka – shapeshifting tricksters of which there have been many a tale told.

One of the phooka’s favorite shapes is that of a wild pony.

Until then, here are a few more denizen’s that you might find in the Goblin King’s court…

Gruagach – Fair or haggard, male or female, clothed or naked, gruagachs have been described many different ways, but one thing they all have in common is their long hair. They would often help with work around the farm yard, such as minding cattle or threshing grain. Curiously, female gruagach have sometimes been associated to water, and will appear dripping wet even on the sunniest of days.

Loireag – Found in Scottish lore, this plain, diminutive fairy of the Hebrides is a patroness of spinning; and can be fiercely insistent that all rituals associated with such (spinning, warping, weaving and washing) be followed correctly. Loireag have sweet voices, often singing as they go about their tasks.

Bao Sith – Beautiful fairy women in Scottish lore who are said to have much in common with vampires and succubus. Seducing mortal men who are away from home to dance with them through the night. Only to disappear when the morning comes; leaving their victims to be found drained dry of blood. Much like glastigs, they often wear long flowing green dresses to hide their feet, which are in the shape of deer’s hooves.

Piskies – Cornish fairies who tend to be older, shorter and more wizened looking than the British pixy. They enjoy mischief making, and take great delight in leading people astray. They have also been known to take horses out for wild rides late at night, galloping them around in circles called “gallitraps”. They are not always troublesome and have been known to help those humans that are their favorites. They are most often seen dressed in red or green, clothes of those color being favored by the Good Folk.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thanks for reading! And if you want to read more about the Good Folk, here are some suggestions…

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

Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins – an encyclopedia by Carol Rose

The Raven’s Bride is a retelling of Howard Pyle’s “Princess Golden-Hair and the Great Black Raven” which appeared in his book The Wonder Clock published in 1887.

If you have ever read the original, you will find many of the elements changed in my telling of it; although I don’t think I would go so far as to call it a reimagining. Whether you are a fan of the original or have never heard of it before in your life, I hope you will enjoy my telling of The Raven’s Bride.

Just a quick reminder, all these tales are unedited, so there will be typos and grammatical errors, and all artwork is still conceptual or in progress. Still, I hope you have as much fun reading them as I had writing them!

And now…

The Raven’s Bride

Part 1 of 3

There was once a great king who had three daughters. All were beautiful but it was his second daughter, Aurelina, who was often called Princess Golden-hair for her hair was as bright and shining as spun gold.
It happened one day, that the king was out hunting in a great wood when, through no fault of his own, he was separated from his huntsmen. On and on he rode, becoming less sure of his way as the trees crowded closer and closer together. Soon the branches above him were thick enough to block out the sky and the wood around him as dark as night.
As he came around a bend he found a great black raven on the path before him. It stood nearly as tall as the king’s horse, and its feathers were as black as soot. The eyes that regarded the king glowed like burning coals.
“Where are you headed, your majesty?” asked the Raven.
“I can not say,” the king replied, “for I am not sure where I am. In fact I am quite lost.”
“Ah, I can help you,” the Raven assured him. “I will lead you out of this wood, if you will consent to give your golden-haired daughter to me as my bride.”
Of course, the king refused.
“As you will,” said the Raven. “But I promise you will not find your way from this wood without me.”
Again, the king refused.
The Raven nodded. “Well good luck to you then, and if you change your mind you have only to call out to me and I will be there. But do not take too long or there will nothing left of you for me to lead out.” And with that, the Raven flew off.

The king wandered for three days, and the truth of the Raven’s words bore out, for no matter how far he went he could not find his way out of the dark wood. Hungry, thirsty, and fearing for his kingdom, the king relented, calling out to the Raven.
As promised, the Raven appeared.
“If my daughter were to become your bride, do you promise no harm will come to her? And that you will take care of her and treat her well?” the king asked. When the Raven assured him that it would be so, the king agreed to give the Raven his daughter as a bride. With that the Raven spread his great wings and bade the king follow as he took to the sky. The king followed and true to his word, the Raven lead him safely out of the forest.
“I will come for my bride tomorrow,” said the Raven flying back toward the wood.
When the morning came, the Raven was waiting outside the castle gates. But when the time came, the king found that he could not give up his daughter. So, he had the swineherd’s daughter dress in one of the princess’s dresses and sent her out in her stead. After all, the king reasoned with himself, a raven would not be able to tell the difference between a swineherd’s daughter and a princess.

The Raven flew away with the swineherd’s daughter on his back. On and on he flew, over flowering meadows and rolling hills and great wide rivers, until he finally brought her to a rude hut perched atop a bleak hill. There was not a soul to be seen for miles, only a great flock of birds of all different kinds wheeling above the hut’s meager roof.
There the Raven landed. “Here is our home,” he said and bade the girl go in and refresh herself.”
When she went inside, she found a wooden table. On it was a golden goblet of good red wine, a silver cup of cider and a earthenware jug full of bitter beer. Tired and concerned for her future, the swineherd’s daughter went straight for what she knew, picking up the earthenware jug of bitter beer she took a long drink. It was then that the Raven knew it wasn’t the princess who stood before him, what princess would be content with a jug of bitter beer when a golden goblet of good red wine was at hand?
“Come, I will return you to your home for you are not the bride I seek,” said the Raven and bade her climb on his back. Away he flew, back over the flowering meadows and rolling hills and great wide rivers until he was once again at the castle gates.
“King!” said the Raven in a great voice. “This is not the bride I seek, send out my true bride as we agreed or you and your people will suffer for it!”
The king felt a shiver of fear run down his back for he did not doubt what the Raven said.
“Come tomorrow and you will have your true bride,” said the king.

When the morning came, the Raven was once again waiting outside the castle gates. Still, the king could not bring himself give up his daughter. Instead, he had the steward’s daughter dress in one of the princess’s dresses and sent her out to meet the Raven. After all the king reasoned with himself, a steward’s daughter is fine enough of a raven.
So, the Raven took the steward’s daughter on his back, and away they flew, back to the isolated little hut on the bleak hilltop. Into the hut went the steward’s daughter, where she found the wooden table with its golden goblet of red wine, silver cup of cider and earthenware jug of bitter beer. Tired and concerned for her future, the steward’s daughter went straight for what she knew. Picking up the silver cup of cider, she took a long drink. It was then that the Raven knew it wasn’t the princess who stood before him. What princess would be content with cider when good red wine was at hand?
“Come,” said the Raven, “back we go again, for you are not the bride I seek.”
So, the Raven flew back to the castle carrying the steward’s daughter with him. When he landed, he called out in a great and terrible voice. All who heard it shivered with unreasoning fear, gooseflesh rising up along their skin as if someone had just walked over their grave.
“So king, this is how you would treat with me! You promise me one bride and send out another. I will come tomorrow for my true bride and if you do not send her out I will bring the castle down around your head and pick the eyes from your skull!” with that dire warning still ringing through the air the Raven flew away. But all who had heard him knew he would be back the next morning.
The king realized there was no way around his promise. When he went to his daughter, Aurelina, and told her of what he had promised she was quite understandably upset. The rest of the day and night she sat weeping in her chambers. Her sisters’ sat with her, comforting her as best they could. But truth be told, deep in their hearts each of them was relived that it was not herself who was to be the Raven’s bride.

The day dawned clear and bright. Princess Aurelina’s hair was like a rippling sheet of gold in the morning sun as she climbed onto the Raven’s back, her eyes still red rimmed from weeping the day before. The great Raven spread his wings and carried her up into the sky. Aurelina did not see all the land that they passed over, her eyes still filled with tears. When they reached the rude little hut with its flock of birds wheeling overhead, she was so tired from weeping that she did not wait, but slid down from the Raven’s back straight away and went into the tiny hut. Seeing the golden goblet of good red wine on the table, she went to it straight away and drank, without even a second thought as to how such a thing would come be in a crude little hut in the first place.
Wonder of wonders, as soon as she drank the little hut began to grow and change transforming into a great castle. Its walls were made of alabaster and its rooftops were of silver. The flock of birds that had been circling in the air above changed as well becoming courtiers and servants and men-at-arms. They all cheered as they gathered around the princess and the Raven. But the Raven was no longer there, in its stead stood a man, tall and fine, in an elegant coat. His hair was as black as the raven’s feathers. However unlike the raven, his eyes did not glow like burning coals, but instead were a warm, lovely hazel.
“You were the bride I sought,” he said taking her hands in his. “It was only when you drank from the golden goblet that my people and I were released from the evil spell placed on us by my stepmother. And now I can ask you properly, will you marry me?”

The princess agreed and so their courtship began. Aurelina could not have wished for more, for the Raven King was very thoughtful and kind to his bride-to-be. They spent many a happy day in each other’s company. But as the time for their wedding grew closer, Aurelina found that she missed her father and sisters, and she told as much to the Raven King, sharing with him her dream to visit them.
“Only misfortune will come from such a visit,” he warned, clearly unhappy. “But I would see you happy, so if you are set on this course, I can not deny you.”
So the princess made ready for her trip. Before she left, her husband-to-be gifted her with a napkin made of the finest linen.
“If there is anything you want, anything at all, spread this napkin out on the ground and wish for it; straight away it shall appear. There is only one thing you must not wish for,” he cautioned. “Do not wish for me to appear. If you do, misfortune will come of it and there will be a price to pay.”

So Aurelina set off to her father’s house in an ebony coach pulled by four silver-gray horses. She was accompanied by a full retinue of courtiers and servants, all dressed in the fine livery of the Raven King’s house. They made a splendid sight, and it was not long before her father and sisters heard about the grand lady that traveled through their land. Weren’t they surprised when it turned out to be the princess they had thought lost to them.
Her father, the king, was so happy to see her! And to hear about the fine husband she was to have and the grand home they lived in. It gladden his heart to know that his daughter had come out the better for the bad deal that he had been forced to make. Her sisters, however, soon tired of hearing about how wonderfully kind, thoughtful, and handsome their sister’s husband-to-be was. And to be honest, Aurelina did go on a bit more than was polite, finding that she missed her betrothed terribly. But it was not truly her chatter that turned her sisters’ hearts against her. Rather it was that they were secretly envious of her happiness. Each feeling that she might have had this for herself if only the Raven Prince had asked for her instead of their sister, Aurelina.
“Yes, yes, such a wonderful husband you’ll have,” said her elder sister. “Almost too good to be believed.”
“True!” her younger sister agreed. “Why is he not with you, dear sister? It makes one wonder.”

And so they went on, their words subtle and spiteful. After several days of this, it became too much Aurelina to bare. So, even though he had warned her against it, she laid the napkin on the ground and wished for the Raven King to appear.
No sooner had she wished it, but there he stood. And her sisters had nothing to say then, because he was all that they had been told and more. But he did not look at anyone else, only Aurelina and his face was both angry and sad.
“I told you there would be a price to pay if you called me to you and now we will both pay it. A geas is on me and I have no choice but to go and I cannot bring you with me. Though my heart might break from it. I doubt you will see me again,” that said he stooped to pick up the napkin on which he stood and was a raven once more. Spreading his great wings, he flew off.
At the same time, Aurelina’s fine ebony coach vanished, and all of her retinue changed into birds once more. They flew off as well, following their master. But, Aurelina paid no attention to that save to note what direction they flew off in. Without a word to her sisters, she tucked up her skirts and headed off the way she had seen her beloved go, determined to find him despite his dire prediction.

To be continued in The Raven’s Bride Pt. 2

To pick up where we left off…

Shellycoat – a water bogie who haunts the coasts and rivers of Scotland, so named because of the coat of shells he wears. He finds great fun in leading travelers astray, although he is most often considered to be mischievous rather than malevolent.

Cu Sith – Fairy dogs appear in the lore of many different lands, and each has its own name for them. How they look varies as well. Sometimes they are great white hounds with red ears. Sometimes they are seen as huge black dogs with glowing eyes. However, the Cu Sith of the Scottish highlands has to be one of the most interesting I have found. They are as large as a good-sized calf or small cow, with vermilion eyes and shaggy dark green coats. And if you should come across him in Lumina and the Goblin King, this is how he would appear to be.

They can be harbingers of disaster and sometimes will foretell a man’s doom.

Hogboon – A mound dweller of the Orkney Isles, this goblin can be helpful if shown the respect he feels is his due, or bring great misfortune if he is not.

Bucca – a Cornish hobgoblin that sometimes is said to inhabit tin mines and sometimes likened to a Brownie. However, they are also mentioned in association to storms and the sea. Fisherman will often leave offerings of fish on the shore in hopes of their good regard.

I haven’t often run across them in my reading, but they are worth looking into further if you have the time.

Brownie – A household spirit often found in English and Scottish lore. They are very small, brown as a nut, and have no nose to speak of. Their clothes are often ragged, if they wear any at all. They help about the house and farm, often taking on the most tedious tasks. The only payment needed for all their hard work is a bowl of cream and a slice of bread or cake. However, their help can be easily lost if the work they do is criticized. And they may even undo all that had been done, adding more work to it besides if they feel the slight they were given warrants it.

Barguest – A bogie found in Northern England, it is often described as a great black dog bound in chains, with glowing eyes, huge claws, and on occasion, horns. It can sometimes appear as a headless man or woman. Which is the form I pictures when I was writing the scene where Lumina gets her first peak at the goblin’s market, through the Mirror Gate.

Curious to learn more? Then I hope you’ll join me for my next post. 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

Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins – an encyclopedia by Carol Rose

“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

Many tales mention the the two courts of Faerie. Sometimes they may be called the Seelie and the Unseelie, or perhaps the Summer Court and the Winter Court. Neither is wholly good nor wholly bad, though for humans, neither is wholly healthy.

In Lumina and the Goblin King there are two courts as well. Though I chose not to name them, for a good reason. With names, come expectations and I didn’t want to limit the story that way.

Of the two courts with which Lumina must contend, one owes its allegiance to the Goblin King; the other to the Fairy Queen, and never shall the two in friendship meet. The enmity between them is long standing, with good reason as you will learn.

The Fairy Queen’s court resides Underhill where the crystal trees grow but cast no shadows. While the dark walls of the Goblin King’s keep with its crimson banners and river of clouds, stands at the edge of the goblin’s city. Though truthfully, they are both in the land of faerie, and as such do not bend to the natural laws of the mortal realm, but rather serve as a reflection of those who rule them.

Ah, I can’t wait for you to read about them!

If your interest is piqued or you just want to learn more about fairies, goblins and the like, 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

Don’t steal from the goblins…

Because every debt comes due, eventually. And even deeds done with the best intentions often come at a price. Some things are worth the price though, what ever it might be.

A dying kitten and a rash decision will lead one kind-hearted sprite to make that choice. She will learn a debt to the Goblin King is no small thing.

Caught up in an age old enmity between the Fairy Queen and the Goblin King, she will soon come to understand that even small pebbles can make large waves, and that every tale has more than one telling.”

Concept sketch of the cover for Lumina and the Goblin King. Look for the cover reveal in September 2020

Lumina and the Goblin King is my first full length novel. And as I mentioned above, there will be a host of goblins, fairies, elementals and the like, plus one opinionated cat.

All over the world, stories are told of the Good Folk in one form or another (though for Lumina and the Goblin King, I drew mostly on Scottish and Irish lore). And there is certainly one thing that is very clear; fairies are rarely flighty things that do no harm. They are beautiful and terrible… and they do not think as mortals do.

For some readers, the creatures they’ll meet within the book’s pages will be old friends, for others, new ones. But whether old or new, it might be that introductions are in order. Because, like all storytellers, I’ve taken some liberties with the lore I found in order to set the stage for the story I wish to tell.

To that end, I hope you will come back to visit my blog as I post more about the Good Folk and the unexpected inspirations that led me to write Lumina and the Goblin King.

Until then…