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Goblins (folklore)

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Goblins are an evil or mischievious type of fairies found in the folklore of many societies and has become an umberella term to describe an entire host of dangerous creatures in myth and legend.


A typical goblin is of short stature, grotesque in appearance and very sneaky - they enjoy playing malicious pranks on humans or other fairies and are also often bullies: frequent passtimes for goblins include scaring children, pulling people's hair, leading travellers astray and causing poltergeist activity in the homes of people they dislike.

Goblins are often greedy and territorial as well with nasty tempers, they love playing tricks but don't like being tricked themselves and in many ways they share common traits with an imp but are not classified as demons (at least not until the Christian era).

Goblins tend to be annoying, obnoxious or mischievious rather than truly wicked and they rarely kill humans on purpose - although exceptions to the rule exist - however goblins aren't above hurting people when their pranks go wrong, though they normally leave be after a while: normally a goblin simply wants to provoke a reaction rather than harm their victim.

Goblins may act as bogeymen as well, frightening children and threatening to eat them - although some may well do this most of them are simply playing a trick, as is their nature: goblins also have a habit of stealing food or tools and making noises in the dead of night to keep people awake.

Goblins can be cruel to livestock and were blamed for causing many farmyard illness by pricking cattle (causing paralysis) or riding them to exhaustion during the night - today these are recognised as illness but in the past it was easier to blame goblins and other fairies for such phenomena.

Goblins tended to stay away from bright light and like many magical beings didn't like Christian imagery - these two things were often employed to keep these troublesome spirits away, unguarded homes were often seen as free game by goblins, who may stay and do housework for a while but would ultimately cause havoc (unlike the Brownie, who was a benevolent house spirit).

Goblins could live anywhere as long as it was sheltered from sunlight and not consecrated - although they frequented human abodes most goblins preferred to live in forests and woodland or bogs, though they seldom lived too far from humans or livestock as they found mortals a source of entertainment.

Related Creatures

  • Redcaps (a murderous type of goblin native to the Border regions of Scotland and England).
  • Rumplestiltskin (a legendary goblin (or dwarf) from the famous fairy tale).

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