The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

Side Note: There have been concerns about my using Wikipedia because it is not a reliable resource. I am well aware of wikipedia's unreliable nature--but that's exactly why I use it. Fantasy creatures are available to all, and everyone should have a chance to add their "discoveries." This website is supposed to be a fun collection of fantastical creature information with fun images to go with. I am not a reliable source--I'm just a collector. Though at this point, I am flattered that people are concerned with the validity of my site. :)

!!!!This is NOT a forum. Comments are to be informative and generally helpful. Clean humor is acceptable, but NOT if it detracts from the entry. This site is to help people find out more about fantastical creatures!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pooka


The Phooka (old Irish), (also Pooka, Puka, Phouka, Púka, Pwca in Welsh, Bucca in Cornish, pouque in Dgernesiais, also Glashtyn, Gruagach) is a creature of Celtic origin, notably in Ireland and Wales. It is one of the myriad of faery folk, and, like many faery folk, is both respected and feared by those who believe in it.

Description
According to legend, the phooka is an adroit shape changer, capable of assuming a variety of terrifying forms. It may appear as a horse, rabbit, goat, goblin, or dog. No matter what form the phooka takes, its fur is almost always dark. (its name is a cognate of the early Irish 'poc', 'a male goat', but it most commonly takes the form of a sleek black horse with a flowing mane and glowing yellow eyes.


Encountering a Phooka
If a human is enticed onto a phooka's back it has been known to give them a wild ride. But unlike a kelpie, which will take its rider and dive into the nearest river or lake to drown and devour him, the phooka will do the unfortunate rider no real harm. The Púca has the power of human speech, and has been known to give advice and lead people away from danger. Though the phooka enjoys confusing and often terrifying humans, it is considered to be benevolent.


Agricultural Traditions
Certain agricultural traditions surround the Púca. It is a creature associated with Samhain, the third Pagan (Celtic, Wiccan) Harvest Festival, when the last of the crops is brought in. Anything remaining in the fields is considered "puka," or fairy-blasted, and hence inedible. In some locales, reapers leave a small share of the crop, the "púca's share," to placate the hungry creature. Nonetheless, November Day is the Púca's day, and the one day of the year when it can be expected to behave civilly.

Modern Encounters
In the classic Mary Chase play Harvey, the title character Harvey is a pooka, in the form of a very tall humanoid white rabbit. Interestingly enough, the actual play was based on a true encounter with a phooka, but it has been adapted several times to fit a comedic setting instead. However, there is a humorous scene in which Mr. Wilson, the asylum orderly, reads the definition of pooka in the encyclopedia: "Pooka. From old Celtic mythology. A fairy spirit in animal form. Always very large. The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one at his own caprice. A benign but mischievous creature. Very fond of rum-pots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?" This provides the notion that Harvey is real--and of course, the definition is highly accurate.


A special thanks to Wikipedia and to RYCE for all the help! Also, a thanks to unholy-warlock of Deviantart.com for this slightly stolen image.

3 comments:

Ruth said...

I really like your entry on the Pooka In our podcast we are telling tales from Celtic Mythology and at the moment we are telling the stories from the Irish Book of Invasions. In our stories we have started to bump into the Sidhe and other faeries of Irish mythology, and it is interesting to see how the nature of these mythical creatures change over time.

Ruth (co-host and Broadcaster)

Ethenielle Teir'elenia said...

Changing over time? If you have some additional information about their past you would like to add that would be wonderful!

the bee charmer said...

Ruth - do you remember me? I'm Idgie Threadgoode.

I rescued you from your horrible husband and then we got rather friendly! We rode the rails together and you broke your ankle and I had to carry you back to town.

I miss you.