A Goblin is a legendary evil or mischievous creature; a grotesquely evil or evil-like phantom.They are attributed with various (sometimes conflicting) abilities, temperaments and appearances depending on the story and country of origin. In some cases, goblins have been classified as constantly annoying little creatures somewhat related to the Gnome. They are usually depicted as small, sometimes only a few inches tall, sometimes the size of a dwarf, or even the size of a small child. They also often are said to possess various magical abilities. They can be very greedy and love money. They can also shapeshift into animal forms.
Goblins are tricksters, and are known for rearranging items in the house, tangling horses, banging pots and pans, removing the clothes from sleeping humans, knocking on doors and walls and even digging up the graves to scatter the bones around. Goblins like to borrow horses and ride them all night. If a horse is tired in the morning, it is said a goblin rode it. If a horse is panicking, the goblin is trying to mount it.
Goblin women steal human babies, replacing them with ugly goblin babies. Goblin babies are sometimes known as "oafs" or "crimbils".
Mine goblins make knocking noises by stricking pickaxes and hammers against the stones. Some miners take the resulting sounds as a sign of good luck, believing they indicate the presence of rich deposits of ore. Other believe that they (Kobolds and Wichtlein) just imitate the miners to fool them. As a death companion he is sometimes accused to cause underground fires or warn for the coming deaths. To avoid the Knockers' wrath, a pastie (traditional miner meal) should be left for them.
The English Hobgoblin loves to live in homes where he makes much trouble for the people who live there. Some other reside in mines where they search for treasure/trouble. Still others of the family prefer grottos, often residing in the same one for their entire life.
One fabled origin for Goblins is in France, in a cleft of the Pyrenees, from which they spread rapidly throughout Europe. They hitched a ride with Viking ships to get to Britain. Bryn y Ellyllon, 'The Hill of the Goblins', is a place in Somerset. The Gap of Goeblin is a hole and underground tunnel in France.
Origins in folklore
- The Benevolent Goblin, from Gesta Romanorum (England)
- Chinese Ghouls and Goblins (England 1928)
- Erlking is a malevolent goblin from German legend.
- The Goblin of Adachigahara (Japanese fairy tale)
- The Goblin Chief of Norway, from The Elf Mound (Danish fairy tale)
- The Goblin Pony, from The Grey Fairy Book (French fairy tale)
- The Goblin Rat, from The Boy Who Drew Cats (Japanese fairy tale)
- The Goblins at the Bath House (Estonia), from A Book of Ghosts and Goblins (1969)
- The Goblins Turned to Stone (Dutch fairy tale)
- Gwyn ap Nudd was ruler over the goblin tribe. (Welsh folklore)
- Shiva has a cohort of goblins and Ghouls (India).
- Twenty-Two Goblins (Indian fairy tale)
- King Gobb (Moldovan Gypsy folktale)
In South Korea, goblins are known as Doggebi (도깨비). They are especially important mythical creatures in Korean folklore.
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