Friday, 19 April 2013

Q is for...

Quikinna'qu is a large raven from the folklore of the Koyrak people of North America. He was born when the Sky God was making a spear and a chip of rock fell from it down to the earth. When the chip of rock landed it transformed into Quikinna'qu who went forth to collect the tools for man to survive in those early days. It is also believed that he taught the first humans to fish, hunt and make fire.

P is for...

The Pukis is a small creature who takes the form of a cat during the day and changes into a dragon when night falls. A Pukis will guard its masters home and bring good fortune to its owner. It will also steal treasures for its master - normally from their neighbours - as the Pukis is small and extremely fast and agile, it makes the perfect thief. 

O is for...
Old Lady Of The Elder Tree

The Old Lady Of The Elder Tree (or Elder Mother) come from the folklore of Germany and Denmark. She wears a cloak and carries a magical staff made out of wood from the Elder tree. If anyone else wishes to take wood from an Elder tree then they must first ask the Elder Mother by saying:
"Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree"
If permission is not asked before taking the wood then the person will be cursed with bad luck and the wood will become twisted and rot.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

N is for...

Nut (meaning 'sky') is the goddess who supports the sky in Egyptian mythology. She is seen as a woman covered in stars and arched over the world, supporting the heavens with her body. Sometimes she is pictured as a giant cow whose four legs form the four pillars of heaven. Nut was believed to protect the sun and moon as they passed over her body - she would swallow them at dusk and they would pass through her body during the night before being reborn again at dawn.

Nut was also believed to be the protector of the dead and she was often painted on the inside lid of sarcophagus to protect the body within. Vaults and tombs would also be painted dark blue and covered with stars to represent Nut.

Monday, 15 April 2013

M is for...

These creatures are said to have the upper half of a human, but their lower half is just one large leg and foot. The Monopod can move extremely fast on this one limb and will lie on their backs when it rains to seek shelter under their giant foot, or to keep cool when the sun is too hot. They carry fruits with them at all times and live off of the perfume it produces, however if the fruit dies then so will the Monopod.

L is for...

Every forest has its own Leshii who lives deep within the trees with his wife and children. The Leshii normally takes the form of a man with hair and beard of leaves, grass and vines, but he can also take on the shape of any animal or plant. He is the guardian of the forest and protects all the animals living there. The Leshii is not evil but he does enjoy misguiding travellers and leaving them lost within the woods. If he is befriended, however, he will pass on his knowledge of magic.

If there is more than one Leshii in a single forest then they will fight violently to claim the territory as their own, leaving a trail of fallen trees and scared animals. When travelling through the forest it is sensible to take a gift of bread for the Leshii to ward off his troublesome nature.


L is also for LATE.

I had pre-written and scheduled this post for Saturday and then I went away, but apparently it was shy and wanted to stay in hiding. So I apologise for this a-z post being a few days late.

Friday, 12 April 2013

K is for...

The Kirin comes from Japan and takes the form of a multicoloured horse-like creature with a horn on its head, much like the well known unicorn. It is often depicted as covered in fire and is thought to be a good omen - bringing peace and prosperity. 

The Kirin is a very gentle creature and loves all living things. It is careful to never tread on any small animals while walking and barely even disturbs the blades of grass that its hooves touch. However, if the Kirin witnesses a pure person being threatened by a sinner than it will turn fierce, even breathing fire from its mouth.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

J is for...

Deep in the forests of Sweden lives the Jerff. This creature lives on a diet of carrion (the dead flesh of animals), which it eats and eats until it is fat and bloated. When it can eat no more it will find two trees growing close together and squeeze itself between them - pushing the meat through its body at the same time - and then begin the whole ritual again.

Hunters would wait until the Jerff was wedged between the two trees and then attack and kill. The creature was not hunted for its meat, but rather for its blood which is believed to have aphrodisiac qualities. This blood would be mixed with honey to make a sweet drink and served to couples on their wedding day.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I is for...

The Invunche are legendary creatures from the folklore of Chile in South America, and they guard the entrances to witches caves.

Legend says that an Invunche is a child who was kidnapped by a witch and hideously transformed into a deformed hairy monster. To make an Invunche the witch would brake one of the child's legs and twist it over his back, apply a cream all over his body which would cause a thick hair to grow and split his tongue to give it a snake-like appearance. They would first feed their Invunche on milk from a cat and eventually on flesh from an adult human.

The Invunche can only communicate by howling and grunting, and walks awkwardly on its hands and one good leg. To gain access to the witches cave the best must either be killed or kissed on its ass.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H is for...

The strange looking Hodag is a creature from North American folklore. It has "the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end". Due to the spines along its back, the Hodag cannot sleep on its side and leans against trees instead. To kill the creature lumberjacks would saw through part of a tree and wait for the Hodag to lean against it, when it fell over its spines would get stuck in the ground leaving it helpless and open to attack.

A Hodag was discovered in 1893 by Eugene Shepard in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Shepard wanted to capture the creature alive and gathered a hunting gang to help him. After they found that their guns had no effect on the beast they decided to use dynamite, but the resulting fire killed their prey leaving nothing but charred remains. Shepard claimed that he had caught another Hodag in 1896 and he put the creature on display at the first Oneida County Fair. Hundreds of people paid money and went to see the beast which Shepard could move with a series of wires in order to make the hoax seem more real.

Monday, 8 April 2013

G is for...

art by Larry MacDougall

The Gwyllion are female creatures who live in the treacherous mountain areas of Wales. Their name comes from the Welsh word gwyll which means gloom and darkness. This creature appears as hag dressed in grey clothes and wearing a four-pointed hat - they can sometime even disguise themselves as goats.

Gwyllion are often mistaken for kind old women by unfortunate travellers who have lost their way. These creatures will offer to guide them back on the right path, but once they have realised their mistake in following her (usually by hearing her very distinctive laugh) it would be too late and she will drown them in mountain lakes.

During bad weather a Gwyllion may visit a humans home in order to get warm and escape the rain. If this happens then great care must be taken to not offend her - she must be offered clean water and all metal knives must be hidden from view.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

F is for...

The Fachan (also known as Peg-Leg-Jack) is a creature from Scottish and Irish Folklore who only has half a body. It has one leg, one eye, one hand coming out of its chest, a huge mouth and a tuft of black feathers on the top of its head. Legend says that its appearance is so horrifying that it can actually cause heart attacks.

The Fachan is very dangerous and is sometimes known to wield a chain in its strong, singular arm. It can swing this chain so hard that it is able to destroy an entire orchard in a night. It is a solitary creature and will kill anyone who is foolish enough to wander into its territory.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Flash Fiction Friday #5

Coconut Freeze

They make a man of white, so life-like that they swear he's alive, and angel silhouettes on the ground which get smudged by clumsy feet when they try to stand.

They burry each other under brilliantly white piles, their noses blushing red.

They slip and slide and giggle when one of them falls over completely, landing with a thump which is followed by a series of foul words.

They stop laughing when the white turns to red under his head and his eyes can no longer stay open. 

They sob silently as they run back home, but the coconut continues to fall from the sky.

E is for...

The Eloko are people eating dwarf-like creatures from Africa who live inside hollow trees in the rain forest of central Zaire. They are thought to be the ancestors of the people living there and legend says that they exist because they have a grudge to settle with the living.

Eloko are covered in a coat of grass which grows over their face and bodies, and they wear clothes which are made from leaves. Their eyes are said to glow like fire and although they are quite small creatures their jaws can open wide enough to devour an entire grown man.

The vicious Eloko bewitch their victims by ringing magical bells which are impossible to resist and they protect their treasures of game and rare fruits ferociously. Certain amulets can be used to avert the spell of the Eloko, but only professional hunters with magic powers can safely travel through the forest and survive.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

D is for...

The Domovoi (dom means "house") is a household spirit from Russia and eastern European folklore. He is a friendly creature and is vital to the health and wellbeing of any home, but he is also volatile, impulsive and prone to violent tantrums if aggravated. He helps the family of his house by doing household work and chores and helps to maintain peace and order.

He is a very shy creature who is not often seen, but when he is, he is covered in fur and is often mistaken for the family pet. Sometimes the Domovoi takes on the guise of the master of the house and some people say that he resembles a very old man, in fact he is referred to as "Grandfather" behind his back. The Domovoi was also thought of as an oracle and he could warn his family about future events, for example; if he pulled a woman's hair it meant there was a danger of an abusive man, if he was seen to be weeping then there would be a death in the family and if he played music on a comb it meant there would soon be a wedding.

He is said to live under the threshold of the door or under the stove and must be addressed as "Master" if spotted to show proper respect. Some people like to leave him gifts of milk and biscuits at night as a way of thanking him and to ensure protection of their home. If the Domovoi of a house becomes unhappy then it will play nasty tricks on the members of its household, such as leaving muddy footprints, making the walls creak, throwing pots and smashing plates. If things escalate too far then he may even suffocate people in their sleep, but he can be made happy again before this happens by leaving him salted bread wrapped in white cloth or by hanging some old boots in the garden for him. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

C is for...

According to North American folklore, Champ (also known as 'Tatoskok') is the giant sea monster who lives in lake Champlain. He is said to be 30-ft long with humps along his back, and some people say that his head resembles a horse. There have been over 300 reported sightings of the creature and he attracts a vast amount of tourists to the local area.

Scientists believe that Champ might be a basilosaurus - a prehistoric snake-like whale. The remains of one of these creatures have been found near Charlotte, Vermont, which is very close to lake Champlain itself. In 2003 the Fauna Communications Research Institute investigated the lake and recorded the sounds of an unknown animal. The sounds resemble that of a Beluga Whale or an Orca, but no dolphin or whales species are known to have ever lived in the lake.

Champ was spotted by two fishermen in 2005, so it seems that he is still very much alive and well. You can view their video of the creature and the news report here.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B is for...

The Baku is a benevolent creature from traditional Japanese folklore. It is said to resemble a great tapir with the body of a ox, the head of a lion, a snout like an elephants, and the paws of a tiger. 

In Japan is it  common belief that if you suffer from a bad dream then you will also suffer from bad luck for the rest of the day. To prevent this from happening the unfortunate dreamer can call upon the Baku to come and devour the nightmare and so rid them of their bad luck. This can be done before bed as a preventative measure with the use of charms, talismans, drawings, dolls or the name 'Baku' written on a piece of paper and kept under the pillow. However, the dream-eater can also be summoned after the nightmare by speaking the phrase "Devour them, O Baku."

The Baku is thought to not only eat the offending dream, but also the spirit who caused the dream - preventing further nightmares. However, if an uninvited Baku decides to have a nibble on your dreams then you could be seriously deprived of sleep, as it will eat all of the dreams, not only the bad ones. 

Monday, 1 April 2013

A is for...

The Afanc (pronounced avank) is a water creature from traditional Welsh mythology, but references can also be found in British and Celtic folklore. Descriptions of its appearance vary but it is most often thought to resemble a giant beaver, though this may be because the word 'afanc' comes from a Welsh word meaning beaver. It is also said to look like a crocodile, dwarf, demon or a frog with sharp claws.

This creature lives in the lakes of Wales where it preys on anyone foolish enough to fall in, or take a swim in the waters. Its victims are devoured instantly. 

The Afanc has a weakness for beautiful women and in one tale it was tricked into falling asleep in a young maidens lap while the local villagers attempted to chain it up and drag it away. However, the creature awoke and its violent struggles crushed the poor maiden.

In another story the beast caused a huge flood with the thrashings of its tail. The waters killed everyone in the country except for Dwyfan and his wife Dwyfach, who built an ark to save themselves. The couple then founded the British race.

The stories of King Arthur even mention the ferocious Afanc. The king is said to have dragged the creature from the lake on his horse Llamrai, where he then managed to kill it. There is a hoof print in a rock near Llyn Barfog which, legend says, was made by his horse when he killed the beast.

Some legends say that the Afanc still survives and is living in lake Cwm Ffynnon.