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M - Z

Mab

The Queen of the Faeries. She is often portrayed as a trickster who robs dairies and steals babies. Mab first appeared in post-sixteenth century English literature, in the poems Nimphidia, and Entertainment at Althorpe by Ben Jonson. The origin of Queen Mab is most likely Celtic, either from Mabb of Welsh Mythology or Maeve (Maebhe) of the Cuchullain tales.

Mamur 

Of the family of Imps, it is a small Dwarf, sometimes horned, that wears a red, pointed hat (as all Imps) and red chausses. Mamures have many names. Mamures are so small they can dwell in a pin's box. They belong to a human, not to a house, and they work hard, and help and obey their master. This one can sell them or give them to one of his children or other relative. 

Mara

A goblin from Scandinavian folklore who seizes men in their beds and takes away all speech and motion. 

Mazikeen 

The ancient Hebrews mentioned little winged, elf-like beings called Mazikeen. These tiny creatures could change themselves into whatever shape they desired. 

Mermaids

A marine creature with the head and upper body of a beautiful young maiden and with the lower body of a fish. She can be found in seas and lakes, or lying on a rock and combing her hair with one hand while holding a mirror in the other. Mermaids sometimes foretell the future and are often accompanied by seals.  According to myth, they lure sailors by singing and with lovely music. They live in a kingdom on the bottom of the sea, and it is here they take their prisoners to. From this story, the fear amongst the sailor grew and they thought that seeing a mermaid would cause bad luck: it could predict death by drowning. The belief in mermaids is not limited to a few countries, but there are tales from all over the world (in India, for instance, there are the Apsara, beautiful water nymphs). However, most of those tales were told by sailors who "saw" them on their long journeys. The idea of Mermaids and Mermen, the male equivalent, could be based on creatures from Greek and Babylonian mythology: Sirens and Tritons of the Greeks, and the fish gods, who were half human and half fish, from the Babylonians.

Meerows

The Irish mere-folk distinguish themselves from other sea-elves by wearing red feathered hats which they use to find their homes. Should such a hat be stolen, the Merrow would be unable to return to his home. Although the males are ugly, they are very friendly and cheerful. The females are gentle and beautiful creatures who often fall in love with fishermen. Merrows appear as portents of oncoming storms. Sometimes they come ashore in the shape of small, hornless cattle. 

Mitmit 

A mischievous Hungarian being, quite small, whose favourite game is to wink at people from the bushes. It lives near waters.

Mooinjer Veggey 

(Pronounced moo-in-jer vegar). "The Little People". The Manx name for the faeries who dwell on the Isle of Man.

Mother Holle

A crone who lives at the bottom of old wells. She dispenses justice and might aid you with guidance and divination if she likes you. 

Mumiai 

Best known for persecuting peasants, especially those of the lowest castes, who had stolen from their neighbours or demonstrated their dirty habits. The Mumiai toss their belongings in the air, break their pottery and trample on their gardens, finally forcing them to move out of their villages. 

The Muryans

(Cornish for "ant") are believed to be the souls of ancient heathen people, too good for hell and too bad for heaven. Their size gradually dwindled until they were the size of ants, after which they vanished and no one knows what became of them. Another traditions tells that the Muryans were shape-changers and that after each time they changed, they became a little smaller. In Cornwall it was considered unlucky to kill ants.

-N-

Nagas 

Nagas are human from the waist up and snake from the waist down and are often seen wearing hooded canopies or with seven or more heads. Both sexes are extraordinarily beautiful and several royal Indian families claim to be descended from them. They bite humans who are evil or destined to die prematurely. Buddhists regard them as minor deities and door guardians.

Nain Rouge

"Red dwarf". A Lutin or house spirit of Normandy, kind to fishermen. There is another called le petit homme rouge (the little red man). 

Nocnitsa 

The night-hag of Russian, Polish, Serbian, and Slovak folklore. She torments children at night. In some regions, the mothers place a knife in the cradle or draw a circle around it with a knife. Hiding an ax or a doll under the floor beneath the cradle also prevents her from getting at the child (possible based on the belief that supernatural beings cannot touch iron). Other names for the hag include Kriksy and Plaksy. Her Bulgarian equivalent is the Gorska Makva, a hideous wood-hag. 

Nuckelavee 

He is the most horrible of all the Scottish elves. He lives mainly in the sea, but was also held responsible for ruined crops, epidemics, and drought. His breath could wilt the crops and sicken the livestock. He looks like a horse whose legs are part fin; he has an enormous snout-like mouth, and a single, fiery eye. His arms reach to the ground, his body is distorted and his huge head sways on a small neck, as if it is to weak to hold the head. The most gruesome about his appearance is the fact that he has no skin. Black blood courses through yellow veins and the pale sinews and powerful muscles are clear to see. He has an aversion of running water and those who are chased by him have only to cross a stream to get rid of him.

Númen 

(Plural, Númenes). In northern Spain, but mostly in Basque country, it is a generic name that applies to all sprites and spirits or supernatural beings.

Nunnehi 

Cherokee version of elves. They live in towns beneath the ground. Nunnehi are saddened by the suffering incurred by the Cherokee and occasionally offer assistance. Nunnehi led the Cherokee to Pilot Knob, North Carolina, where they passed through the realm of the Nunnhei and were safe. 

Nunus 

They are little creatures or dwarfs. They live in a rock of two holes. They help and are kind to anyone who passes them; they even offer them to live in their rock.

-O-

Oannes 

 Fish-headed beings from another world, these were considered to be sea-gods by the ancient Chaldeans. Oannes lived among men by day, building the great Sumerian civilization and teaching art, science, and religion, while at night they returned to the Persian Gulf to swim in the ocean.

Obrigwabibikwa 

In Pygmy myth, a dwarf who is able to change himself into a reptile.

Ogre

In folklore and fairy tales Ogres are creatures of very malignant disposition, who live on human flesh. They are larger and broader than a man but somewhat shorter than a giant.

Ohdows

A race of small, well-formed people with the features of the Native Americans who live underground in North America. They use their magic to subdue the earth spirits who cause earthquakes.

The Old People

Another Cornish name for the fairies.

Omang 

Little people in the belief of the Batak of Sumatra. They are said to be clever thieves.

-P-

Pechs, or Pehts

The Scottish Lowland names for fairies and are confused in tradition with the Picts, the mysterious people of Scotland who built the Pictish Brughs and possibly also the round stone towers. The Pechs were considered tremendous castle builders and were credited with the construction of many of the ancient castles. They could not bear the light of day and so only worked at night, when they took refuge in their Brughs or "Sitheans" at sunrise. It seems likely that some historic memory of an aboriginal race contributed one strand to the twisted cord of fairy tradition.

Peg Powler

An ugly old woman with a green skin, long hair and sharp teeth who inhabits the river Tees. She grabs the ankles of those who stand to close to the water, pulls them under water and drowns them. Swimming or wading in this river is strongly discouraged.

The People of the Hills

English faeries who live under green mounds.

People of Peace

Fairies who live under the green mounds, or tumuli, all over England. The Irish often referred to the Sidhe in this manner. The word Sidhe means peace.

Peri

A Persian fairy. Evil Peris are called “Deevs”

Phooka 

The Phooka is a harmless Irish Goblin who appears in a great diversity of animal shapes. He can be seen in the shape of a dog or horse, usually pitch-black with fiery eyes. As an apparently tame and shabby pony, the Phooka offers careless travellers a ride on its back. But as soon as the traveller mounts the horse, he is in for a hell-ride through marshes and thorn-bushes. Then suddenly, he is thrown into a ditch or mud pool and the chuckling he hears is the Phooka galloping away. Sometimes he appears in the form of an eagle and carries people away on his back. 

Phynnodderee 

A Manx hobgoblin combining the properties of the Scandinavian Troll, the Scottish Brownie and the Irish Leprechaun. The Phynnodderee drives home sheep and helps in the harvesting if a storm is brewing. He possesses great strength. 

Picts 

The original peoples who dwelled in the north-eastern coast of Ireland. They were called the "Cruithne" and migrated down from Gaul or Galia (France). As the conquering waves of invaders arrived in Ireland, eventually the Picts retreated to the woods and lived in caves and underground forts. They were a small, dark people and became known as the classic Faery-people. See Pechs.

Pigwidgin

A fairy or dwarf; anything very small. 

Pixies

Green faeries who often take the form of hedgehogs. In folklore, pixies (or piskies) are little people who believed to live on the downs and moors of Cornwall, England. According to one myth, pixies were originally Druids who resisted Christianity, and the more they resisted the smaller they grew. Yet another myth tells of a race of people who were not good enough for heaven, nor bad enough for hell and were doomed to wander the earth forever. They love to steal horses and ponies and make nocturnal rides on their backs over the heaths and moors, while entangling the manes of the animals. Even inside houses people are not safe to their tricks, such as throwing small objects at the inhabitants. Although pixies like to play, they are hard workers as well. They work on the fields the entire night for some bread and cheese. 

Plant Rhys Dwfen

(Pronounced "plant hree thoovn"). The Plant Rhys Dwfen ("children of Deep Rhys") are a tribe of fairies who inhabit a small land which is invisible because of a special herb that grows there. They are handsome, less than average in height, and grateful to those who treat them fairly. They often visit markets in Cardigan where they pay such high prices for goods that ordinary buyers can not compete with them. When visiting the main land, they assume human form.

Plur na mBan

She was the daughter of Niamh, the faerie queen of Tir na n-Og, and the Irish bard Oisin. She was born in the Land of Eternal Youth after her father had left that island forever. Plur na mBan became the faerie-goddess of Beltaine, the 1st of May, the ancient Celtic celebration.

Polevik 

A Polish faerie, he appears as a two-footed goat and helps to bring in the harvest. A Slavic spirit of the field.

Portunes 

Portunes are tiny medieval fairies, described by Gervase of Tilbury as being the size of a finger. They are very old men with wrinkled faces who work on human farms. Friendly and helpful they may be, at night they cannot resist grabbing the bridle of a horse and leading the horse and its rider into ponds.

Puck

Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, is a character from Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  With his flute, made from a willow twig, he accompanies fairies on their moonlight dances. He is closely related to the Irish Phooka and the Bwca from Wales.

-Q-
 -
-R-

Rakshasas 

Shape-shifting demon goblins. They can appear as monsters, animals, or beautiful women to seduce holy men and then eat them. They have side tusks, ugly eyes, curling awkward brows, bull's heads, bloated bellies, tangled hair, and backward pointing hands. They can cause leprosy, raise the dead, and regenerate severed limbs. 

Redcap

One of the most evil of the old Border Goblins. He lives in old ruined towers and castles, particularly those with a history of wickedness. He re-dyes his cap in human blood.

Rimenanwe 

The little people of the Marshall Islands. They are rascally little fellows, who mostly steer clear of humans, but like to "borrow" canoes and food and such, as they can get away with it. 

Roane

Irish name for the Selkie. 

-S-

Seelie Court

The Court of the kind and benign fairy host, usually seen around twilight in long solemn processions. These fairies help the poor with gifts of corn and bread. The opposite of the Seelie Court ("Blessed Court") is the evil Unseelie Court.

Selkies 

The seas around Orkney and Shetland harbour the Selkies or Seal-Faeries (known as Roane in Ireland). The shy Selkies are marine creatures in the shape of a seal. They can be found near the islands of Orkney and Shetland. A female can shed her skin and come ashore as a beautiful woman. When a man finds the skin, he can force the Selkie to be a good, if somewhat sad, wife. Should she ever recover the skin, she will immediately return to sea, leaving her husband behind. The male Selkies are responsible for storms and also for the sinking of ships, which is their way of avenging the hunting of seals. 

Shellycoat

A Scottish bogeyman who haunts the rivers and streams. He is covered with shells, which rattle when he moves, announcing his presence. He enjoys misleading wanderers and often puts them on the wrong track. The Shellycoat is playful, but rather harmless. Generally, the creatures who inhabit rivers are less dangerous than those who live in lakes and seas. 

Sidhe, Sith, or Si

Sidhe (pronounced "shee") literally means "people of the (fairy) hills". It is the Gaelic name for the fairies in both Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. Usually these fairies are attracted to those who are beautiful as well as wealthy. 

Silent Moving Folk 

The Scottish fairies who live in green knolls and in the mountain fastnesses of the Highlands. See Still-folk.

Sluag 

(Pronounced "sloo-ah"). Sluag was the Pictish/Scottish fairy of the Highlands and Host of the Unforgiven Dead. Related to the Irish/Celtic Sluagh.

Sluagh 

(Pronounced "sloo-a"). The most formidable of the Highland fairy people; The host of the Unforgiven Dead. By some scholars, they are regarded as the fallen angels, not the dead, but on the whole their accounts correspond closely to that given by Alexander Carmichael in "Carmina Gadelica".

Solitary Fairies

The fairies who are chiefly malignant or ominous creatures, comprise this group, although there may be a few nature spirits or dwindled gods among them. An exception is the Brownie and its variants - though there are few family groups among the Brownies - some think that they were unacceptable in Faeryland because of their ragged, unkempt appearance, and that they went off to the Seelie Court when they were properly dressed. However, this is only one school of thought on the subject. Other creatures, such as the Leprechaun, Pooka, and Bean Si, also comprise this group.

Spriggans 

Spriggans are ugly, grotesque creatures and although there are very small, they can enlarge themselves to the size of a giant. They are the guardians of treasure mounds. Spriggans are clever and dangerous thieves who are capable of robbing the homes of humans and stealing their children. Often they would leave a Spriggan baby in the child's place. They control whirlwinds with which they destroy corn-fields, and they scorch the crops, besides other unpleasantness.

Sprites

A sprite is a kind of fairy or elf. Sprite comes from the Latin word spiritus or spirit and once meant "soul" or "ghost." Sprites are used in many folktales. Sprites are creatures of the element water. They are found only in places where it is serene and cool. They like to play with nymphs or torment butterflies. (The butterflies don't really mind.) Sprites have one very important job, which is going around and changing the colours of a tree's leaves in Autumn. They have many cans of bright paint in every shade between red and yellow. This makes sure they don't run out. Sprites are very creative. They are muses, artists, and poets. They are some of the most creative fairies. Some even decide to bond or marry a human or elf and stay with them their whole lives. 

Still-Folk

The Scottish name for the Highland fairies. (See Silent Moving Folk).

-T-

Themselves, They, or Them that's in it 

The most common Manx names used in place of the word "fairy", which was generally considered an unlucky word to use. It is sometimes said that "themselves" are the souls of those drowned in Noah's flood.

Tiddy Ones, or Tiddy People

The Lincolnshire fenman's nature spirits, which are also referred to as the Yarthkins or Strangers. These are usually groups of influential spirits, rather than individuals. They are generally helpful. Tiddy Mun was often invoked to withdraw flood waters. However, if they are hurt (physically or emotionally), they throw tantrums and cast pestilence on cattle and children.

Tinkerbell 

Originally from the Peter Pan stories by J. M. Barrie, but more famous for the Disney version. She is also often referred to as a Pixie, and leaves a trail of fairy dust (or pixie dust) behind wherever she goes.

Tokolosh 

A South African faerie; Tokolosh is a sullen spirit who lives beside streams, throwing stones into the water on still nights. He is famous for frightening lone travellers, usually by jumping on a small animal or bird and strangling it so that the poor animal's panicked cry alarms the traveller. He is described as being something like a baboon, but smaller and without a tail, and covered with black hair. 

The Tooth Faerie

She is a kindly faerie who keeps a tooth collection. When a child loses a tooth, if he or she wraps it carefully in tissue, cloth, or in a special tooth pillow, she will come and collect it, leaving money as a thank you. Over the years, she has kept up with economic inflation. The current rate is approximately a dollar per tooth. 

Trolls

In Scandinavian myth, trolls are ugly, malicious creatures and the enemies of mankind. They are much bigger and stronger than humans, and leave their caves only after dark to hunt. If they are exposed to sunlight they will instantly turn to stone. Trolls are very fond of human flesh. In later myths they are roughly the size of humans or elves, and thought to be the owners of buried treasures. They are sometimes, although very rarely, portrayed as friendly, less ugly creatures.

Trooping Fay or Faery

The Faery have been divided into two main classes: Trooping and Solitary. It is a distinction that hold good throughout the British Isles, and is indeed valid wherever fairy beliefs are held. The trooping fay can be large or small, friendly or sinister. They tend to wear green jackets, while the Solitary Faery wear red jackets. They can range from the Heroic Faery to the dangerous and malevolent Sluagh, or the Diminutive Fairies who include the tiny nature spirits that make the fairy rings with their dancing and speed the growth of flowers.

Trows

The Trows from the Shetland Islands are similar to the Scandinavian Trolls. Like their Nordic relatives, they hate sunlight, for this turns them into stone. Trows were observed many times performing a strange dance, which the islanders call 'Henking'. There are land-trows and sea-trows. A common phrase used by mother who were angry with their children was 'Trow take thee'.

Tuatha de Donnan 

(Pronounced "Tootha day danan"). They once ruled Ireland, but fled underground when Ireland was conquered by the Milesians. When they were driven underground, the became the Daoine Sidhe. Their few remaining descendants are believed to make up the Seelie Court

Tylwyth Teg

The Tylwyth Teg ("the fair people") are Welsh fairies who live in lakes or streams or in hollows of the hills. The females are called y mamau (the mothers), a title which links them to the pagan Celtic deities, the Matres. Associated with them are the usual traditions of moonlight dance, the supernatural passage of time, the stealing of children, and the substitution of changelings. They are especially interested in children with golden hair. Their favourites they enrich with precious gifts, which disappear when these gifts are spoken of.

-U-

Unseelie Court 

The evil counterpart of the Seelie Court is always unfavourable towards mankind. The part which flies through the sky at night is called the 'Horde'. Mortals unfortunate enough to cross the Horde's path are taken along for a hell-ride. These poor victims are beaten and pinched and forced to participate in the bizarre nocturnal activities of these creatures. The Unseelie Court ("Unholy Court") solely consists of those of the fairy-like beings which are the most ugly and evil. 

Urisk 

The Urisk is a solitary Scottish elf who lives in remote pools and rivers. He is friendly and likes the company of humans, but his curious appearance usually scares away those he approaches. 

-V-

Venusleute 

Venusleute (people of Venus) were in German tales little people living in rocks near Zulova (Sumperk county, Czech Republic). They were very small, but pretty, and used to help and give food to lost children. They also bathed, cooked and washed their clothes in rock "bowls" often found in local rocks. Venusleute also sometimes used a cap of invisibility. 

Verry Volk

The name of the fairies in Gower of Wales; little people dressed in scarlet and green.

Virikas 

Never more than eighteen inches tall, these unpleasant spectral entities can be recognized by their flaming red colour and their horribly pointed, bloodstained teeth. They gather outside the homes of men soon to die and jabber excitedly. To prevent this, people can erect a small shrine in their honour and burn daily gifts of flowers and spices for them. 

-W-

Water Leaper 

The Water Leaper (Llamhigyn Y Dwr) is a tailed, winged, toad-like creature which lurks in Welsh lakes and preys on fishermen.

Wee Folk

One of the Scottish and Irish names for the fairies.

The White Ladies

The use of White Ladies for both ghosts and fairies is an indication of the close connection between fairies and the dead. The White Ladies were direct descendants of the Tuatha De Danann.

Wichtlein 

From Southern Germany. They behave in much the same way as Goblins. They announce the death of a miner by tapping three times. When a disaster is about to happen they are heard digging, pounding and imitating miners work.

Will O' the Wisp

Will-o'-the-wisps are the faint lights seen on marshes and bogs on still nights after sunset. Usually a soft bluish light, but also reddish or greenish in appearance. In folklore, they are thought to be imps or pixies leading victims to danger in swamps and heaths. Sometimes they are believed to be the spirits of stillborn children flitting between heaven and hell. 
It is also known as Jack O'Lantern, Peg-a-Lantern, Friar's Lantern, Spunkie, Fox Fire, and Walking Fire. The classical name for this phenomena is Ignus Fatuus ("fools fire").

-X-

Xanas

A kind of nymph or faerie of Asturias, they are derived from Celtic mythology. They live near streams, and spend their day singing beautiful tunes and combing their wonderful hair.

-Y-

Yakshas 

Benevolent nature spirits; they are the guardians of treasures hidden in the earth and the roots of trees. Their ruler is Kubera, who lives on a mountain in the Himalayas. They are deities of cities, districts, lakes, and wells, and are thought to have originated from a cult of the ancient Dravidians. 

Yann-an-Od 

Kindly old shepherd who tends sheep. He might have once been a faerie king. He's rather shy of humans. 

Yumboes 

Located on Goree Island, south of the Cape Verde Peninsula in Senegal, West Africa. They are two feet tall with pearly skin and silver hair. They are also called the "Bakhna Rakhna" which translates to "The Good People." They enjoy dancing and feasting by moonlight and live in magnificent subterranean dwellings in the Paps, groups of hills about three miles from the coast. Guests to their homes report lavishly decorated tables and servants invisible except for their hands and feet. They like to eat fish.

-Z-

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