Friday, July 25, 2014

Creatures of Lore (Part 1)

There are many creatures of legend and lore that we can recall off the tops of our heads such as vampires, fearies, dragons, lycans and more. But there are numerous creatures of lore that we don't hear about as often or rather that we do not recall off mind. Creatures like a wendigo, will - o - wisp, Dark Man, Skelki and more. Some creatures remain in the culture they originated from, others travel to other countries and have changed to resemble something else. Some creatures are innocent and good, while others are not so sweet and innocent.

Creatures like the Far Dorocha (Or Dark Man) in Irish folklore, who is infamous for abducting mortals. Far Dorocha serves the queen of the fairies and caters to her every desire from bringing her tea to riding off into the mortal realm to bring back whomever she desires. Regardless of his task he never deviates from his orders. Neither does he show emotion or remorse about his actions, all to serve the queen. He never utters a word but the desired mortal knows his intentions and is unable to disobey thus following him into the fairy realm. Few have made the trip home from the fairy world. The Fairy Queen desires a certain amount of confidentiality from those she entertains, so much so that if they violate her terms they must suffer the consequences by the hand of the dark man. Most often he will remove the offending guest's eye thus removing their fairy sight, or simply touches an arm or leg to whither the muscles within. Forever a reminder to never disobey the fairy queen.

Many of us can recall the cute adorable house elf from Harry Potter: Dobby. But did you know there is a British creature of folk lore known as Dobie? A Dobie is a fairy (some say a brownie) that would help around the house doing chores and guard family treasure (much like the Dobby we came to love). Some say that while a Dobie is helpful it also a very foolish creature. It is said they are not smart and are fairly clumsy creatures. Some enjoy harassing travelers that come past by irritating their horses. Many attributes we see in the Harry Potter character follows much of the characteristics of this creature of lore.

Gancanagh is another Irish legend that is not so nice and innocent. Ganganagh is a male fairy also known as the love taker, or love stealer. He is said to be the relative of the Leprechaun but doesn't have much in common with them other than carrying a coin purse in his pocket. He strolls through Irish valleys making love to the young country women. It is said to be bad luck should one meet the Gancanagh and if you have experienced poor judgment in the ways of love, then you have been with this fairy creature. Once a lass has fallen victim to his debonair nature, she pines over him and ultimately dies of despair or a broken heart. Never want to meet this fellow!

Will o the wisp made an appearance in a popular Pixar movie: Brave. Young Merida chases after these little balls of light which lead her to the witch's cottage in the woods. There are many ideas on what a will o wisp is from ghosts to fairy fire to even lanterns held by other creatures of lore. One of the most common ideas is that they are spirits of dead or non-human intelligence. Or even spirits of those who are unable to enter heaven or hell. They are malevolent creatures who lead travelers away from safe paths into paths of misfortune. In the movie, the wisps lead Merida to the witch who's spell doesn't have the desired effect, something these creatures would do.

Fenoderee is a friendly creature that is said to live on the Isle of Man. He is a creature of farming and loves using his scythe but is useful for carrying large stones mortal man cannot carry. Because of this they are known to be incredibly strong and are the hardest worker you will find to help in the fields. They are very friendly and love helping farmers harvest their crops. While they are very helpful and friendly, they are also nudists, old and ugly nudists. They are easily offended if offered clothing and will run away, also if you wait for them to finish working. Best way to keep them happy is to give them their food or payment and walk away while they work. Some have explained away crop circles as being the work of a Fenoderee as they tend to work alone and sometimes create patterns among the crops.

There are so many different creatures of folk lore and legend in any culture that we haven't heard of, possibly even some within our own culture. One tends to wonder where some of these legends arose from such as the Far Dorocha. These being are what help shape a culture and the stories that are told today. Personally I enjoy learning about them to help my understanding of where today's literature and story telling originated from, something new to learn.

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