DARK FAIRIES: GOBLINS
Some Grotesquer Members of the Fairy Realm
Nowadays mostly associated with Halloween, a goblin is one of the less lovely fairies. Generally small, ugly and gnome-like, it is related to other unglamorous fairies such as bogeys, boggarts, and puca, and to the German kobold and Celtic brownie. While generally believed to be mischievous or evil, goblins can also be playful, helpful or benevolent, depending on the circumstances.
Although they never remain long in the same place, these grotesquer members of the fairy realm often inhabit grottos, caves, mossy clefts in rocks and roots of trees. They may also take residence in the homes of humans - especially those that contain pretty children and generous amounts of wine.
How to Know if Your Home has Goblins
Typical symptoms of goblin activity include minor acts of mischief such as hiding small objects, banging on walls, slamming doors, rearranging your furniture, snatching off your covers while you're asleep, and resetting your alarm.
I personally am semi-convinced I have a goblin or two in residence, although I also have cats, so can't be completely sure. There was a time in our previous residence, however, when the toilet would flush by itself, the vacuum cleaner apparently once switched itself on in the middle of the night (yes, it had been left plugged in, but I swear all the cats but one were locked in the basement that night, and that one was curled up at the foot of our bed) -- along with some other mysterious occurrences, though I suppose some people might attribute those kinds of things to poltergeist activity, which would require some explanations of its own. One might actually surmise that a belief in goblins evolved as a convenient explanation, one less scary than other alternatives, for mysterious and otherwise unexplainable happenings.
There are positives? Yes -- on the whole, goblins are actually benevolent and helpful, and will often make themselves quite useful around the home. They can also be playful and a great source of fun and mischief -- though children tend to appreciate these qualities more than do adults (which is probably why goblins usually prefer children to grown-ups).
Above all, these fairy beings are protectors of the garden, and to this day, in the form of gnomes and similar small statues, are found in gardens far and wide, placed there by people with no conscious idea of why they felt inspired to do so.
To attract goblins to your garden, in its more northerly areas place mosses, lichens, ferns, other wild plants and flowers, herbs, tree bark, and rocks.
Goblins are also very good at helping with both mental stress and material needs. If you would like the help of a goblin, bury a silver coin (it only needs to be silver-colored, not pure silver), then wait; when you feel a goblin's presence, quietly state your request. Of course, one of the best places to do this is in your goblin-friendly garden!
Dealing with a Goblin Infestation
Or, How to Give Goblins a Nervous Breakdown
If your goblins-in-residence, like so many other houseguests throughout time, have outstayed their welcome, you'll be happy to know that goblins are actually easier to get rid of than ants! Not only will you not need to call in exterminators (or even exorcists), but the solution is also completely safe (to people and pets, that is) and organic. Simply scatter flaxseed on your floor. That's it - though you may have to repeat this action a few times. This is guaranteed to cause goblins considerable distress, as their obssessive-compulsive natures will dictate that they pick up every single flax seed - and before long, out of sheer nervous exhaustion and frustration, they will be forced to evacuate your premises.
Some Special Kinds of Goblins
If a 'goblin (hob) waylays you,
Slice him up before he slays you.
Nothing makes you look a slob
Like running from a hob'lin (gob).
The Roguelet's ABC
A hobgoblin is generally considered to be a more benign form of goblin. Robert Burton, in 1621, wrote of "Hobgoblins and Robin Goodfellows" that would "grinde corne for a mess of milk, cut wood, or do any maner of drudgery work" (Anatomy of Melancholy).
Closely related to brownies, they are small, solitary, shaggy-haired fairies, who love the warmth of fire, but like most fairies cannot build their own. They will become attached to particular families, and do housework and odd jobs; however, although generally good-humored and helpful (if a bit overly fond of practical jokes) - like most of the fairy folk, they may become spiteful or even violent if offended.
The fairy Puck (a.k.a. Robin Goodfellow) is the most famous of the hobgoblins, appearing in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, among other writings of note.
A type of English goblin, a bogey (or bogy/bogie), unlike most other types of goblins, is usually large and black. Active at night, it delights in scaring children - hence the term bogeyman or boogieman.
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