A fairy is a type of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore, a form of spirit described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural. Myths and stories about fairies do not have a single origin, but are rather a collection of folk beliefs from disparate sources. Various folk theories about the origins of fairies include casting them as either demoted angels or demons in a Christian tradition, as minor deities in pre-Christian Pagan belief systems, as spirits of the dead, as prehistoric precursors to humans, or as elementals; the label of fairy has at times applied only to specific magical creatures with human appearance, small stature, magical powers, a penchant for trickery. At other times it has been used to describe any magical creature, such as gnomes. Fairy has at times been used as an adjective, with a meaning equivalent to "enchanted" or "magical". A recurring motif of legends about fairies is the need to ward off fairies using protective charms. Common examples of such charms include church bells, wearing clothing inside out, four-leaf clover, food.
Fairies were sometimes thought to haunt specific locations, to lead travelers astray using will-o'-the-wisps. Before the advent of modern medicine, fairies were blamed for sickness tuberculosis and birth deformities. In addition to their folkloric origins, fairies were a common feature of Renaissance literature and Romantic art, were popular in the United Kingdom during the Victorian and Edwardian eras; the Celtic Revival saw fairies established as a canonical part of Celtic cultural heritage. The English fairy derives from Old French form faierie, a derivation from faie with the abstract noun suffix -erie. In Old French romance, a faie or fee was a woman skilled in magic, who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, of herbs."Fairy" was used to represent: an illusion or enchantment. Faie became Modern English fay, while faierie became fairy, but this spelling exclusively refers to one individual. In the sense of "land where fairies dwell", archaic spellings faery and faerie are still in use.
Latinate fay is not related the fey, meaning "fated to die", but some dictionaries do list "fey" as a kind of fairy. Various folklore traditions refer to fairies euphemistically as wee folk, good folk, people of peace, fair folk, etc; the term fairy is sometimes used to describe any magical creature, including goblins and gnomes, while at other times, the term describes only a specific type of ethereal creature or sprite. The concept of "fairy" in the narrower sense is unique to English folklore made diminutive in accordance with prevailing tastes of the Victorian era, as in "fairy tales" for children. Historical origins include various traditions of Celtics, Germanic peoples, of Middle French medieval romances. Fairie was used adjectivally, meaning "enchanted", but became a generic term for various "enchanted" creatures during the Late Middle English period. Literature of the Elizabethan era conflated elves with the fairies of Romance culture, rendering these terms somewhat interchangeable.
The Victorian era and Edwardian era saw a heightened increase of interest in fairies. The Celtic Revival cast fairies as part of Ireland's cultural heritage. Carole Silvers and others suggested this fascination of English antiquarians arose from a reaction to greater industrialization and loss of older folk ways. Fairies are described as human in appearance and having magical powers. Diminutive fairies of various kinds have been reported through centuries, ranging from quite tiny to the size of a human child; these small sizes could be magically assumed, rather than constant. Some smaller fairies could expand their figures to imitate humans. On Orkney, fairies were described as short in stature, dressed in dark grey, sometimes seen in armour. In some folklore, fairies have green eyes; some depictions of fairies show them with others as barefoot. Wings, while common in Victorian and artworks, are rare in folklore. Modern illustrations include dragonfly or butterfly wings. Early modern fairies does not derive from a single origin.
In folklore of Ireland, the mythic aes sídhe, or'little folk', have come to a modern meaning somewhat inclusive of fairies. The Scandinavian elves served as an influence. Folklorists and mythologists have variously depicted fairies as: the unworthy dead, the children of Eve, a kind of demon, a species independent of humans, an older race of humans, fallen angels; the folkloristic or mythological elements combine Celtic and Greco-Roman elements. Folklorists have suggested that'fairies' arose from various earlier beliefs, which lost currency with the advent of Christianity; these disparate explanations are not incompatible, as'fairies' may be traced to multiple sources. King James, in his dissertation Daemonologie, stated the term "faries" referred to illusory spirits that prophesied to, consorted with, transported the individuals they served. A Christian tenet held that fairies were a class of "demot
Brigit, Brigid or Bríg was a goddess of pre-Christian Ireland. She appears in Irish mythology as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the daughter of the Dagda and wife of Bres, with whom she had a son named Ruadán, it has been suggested. She is associated with the spring season, healing and smithcraft. Cormac's Glossary, written in the 10th century by Christian monks, says that Brigid was "the goddess whom poets adored" and that she had two sisters: Brigid the healer and Brigid the smith; this suggests. Saint Brigid shares many of the goddess's attributes and her feast day on 1 February was a pagan festival marking the beginning of spring, it has thus been argued. She is identified in Lebor Gabála Érenn as a daughter of a poet; the same passage mentions that she has two oxen, Fe and Men, that graze on a plain named after them, Femen. She possessed the king of boars, Torc Triath, Cirb, king of wethers, from whom Mag Cirb is named; the animals were said to cry out a warning and thus Brigid is considered the guardian of domesticated animals.
As the daughter of Dagda, she is the half sister of Cermait, Aengus and Bodb Derg. In Cath Maige Tuireadh, Bríg invents keening, a combination of weeping and singing, while mourning for her son Ruadán, after he is slain while fighting for the Fomorians, she is credited in the same passage with inventing a whistle used for night travel. Brigid is considered the patroness of poetry, medicine and crafts, cattle and other livestock, sacred wells and the arrival of early spring. In the Christian era, nineteen nuns at Kildare tended a perpetual flame for the Saint, believed to be a continuation of a pre-Christian practice of women tending a flame in her honour, her festival day, Imbolc is traditionally a time for weather prognostication: In her English retellings of Irish myth, Lady Augusta Gregory describes Brigit as "a woman of poetry, poets worshipped her, for her sway was great and noble. And she was a woman of healing along with that, a woman of smith's work, it was she first made the whistle for calling one to another through the night."A possible British and continental counterpart Brigantia seems to have been the Celtic equivalent of the Roman Minerva and the Greek Athena goddesses with similar functions and embodying the same concept of elevated state, whether physical or psychological.
She is the goddess of all things perceived to be of high dimensions such as high-rising flames, hill-forts and upland areas. In the living traditions, whether seen as goddess or saint, she is associated with the home and hearth and is a favorite of both Polytheists and Catholics. A number of these associations are attested in Cormac's Glossary. In the Middle Ages, the goddess Brigid was syncretized with the Christian saint of the same name. According to medievalist Pamela Berger, Christian "monks took the ancient figure of the mother goddess and grafted her name and functions onto her Christian counterpart," St. Brigid of Kildare. St. Brigid is associated with perpetual, sacred flames, such as the one maintained by 19 nuns at her sanctuary in Kildare, Ireland; the sacred flame at Kildare was said by Giraldus Cambrensis and other chroniclers to have been surrounded by a hedge, which no man could cross. Men who attempted to cross the hedge were said to have been cursed to die or be crippled; the tradition of female priestesses tending sacred occurring eternal flames is a feature of ancient Indo-European pre-Christian spirituality.
Other examples include the Roman goddess Vesta, other hearth-goddesses, such as Hestia. Both the goddess and saint are associated with holy wells, at Kildare and many other sites in the Celtic lands. Well dressing, the tying of clooties to the trees next to healing wells, other methods of petitioning or honoring Brigid still take place in some of the Celtic lands and the diaspora. Saint Brigid's feast day is on 1 February celebrated as St Brigid's Day in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and by the Anglican Communion; the Gaelic festival coincides with Imbolc, a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid. Brigid is an important figure for modern pagans, she is sometimes worshipped in conjunction with Cernunnos. Old Irish Brigit came to be spelled Brighid by the modern Irish period. Since the spelling reform of 1948, this has been spelled Bríd; the earlier form gave rise to various forms in the languages of Europe, starting from the Medieval Latin Brigit /ˈbriʒit/, suggested by the written form, from there to various modern forms, such as English Bridget and Bridgit, French Brigitte, Swedish Birgitta, Italian Brigida and Finnish Piritta.
The name is derived from Proto-Celtic *Brigantī and means "The High One", cognate with the name of the ancient British goddess Brigantia, the Old High German personal name Burgunt, the Sanskrit word Bṛhatī "high", an epithet of the Hindu dawn goddess Ushas. The ultimate source is Proto-Indo-European *bʰr̥ǵʰéntih₂, derived from the root *bʰerǵʰ-. Brìghde/Brìde Ffraid (also Braint, alt. Breint, the name of a river in Anglese
Brú na Bóinne
Brú na Bóinne or Boyne valley tombs, is an area in County Meath, located in a bend of the River Boyne. It contains one of the world's most important prehistoric landscapes dating from the Neolithic period, including the large Megalithic passage graves of Knowth and Dowth as well as some 90 additional monuments; the archaeological culture associated with these sites is called the "Boyne culture". Since 1993 the site has been a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, known since 2013 as "Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne"; the area is located eight kilometers west of Drogheda in County Meath, Ireland, in a bend of the River Boyne. It is around 40 kilometers north of Dublin. Brú na Bóinne is surrounded on its southern and eastern sides by the Boyne. All but two of the prehistoric sites are on this river peninsula; the area has been a centre of human settlement for at least 6,000 years, but the major structures date to around 5,000 years ago, from the Neolithic period.
The site is a complex of Neolithic mounds, chamber tombs, standing stones and other prehistoric enclosures, some from as early as 35th century BC - 32nd century BC. The site thus predates the Egyptian pyramids and was built with sophistication and a knowledge of science and astronomy, most evident in the passage grave of Newgrange; the site is referred to as the "Bend of the Boyne" and this is taken to be a translation of Brú na Bóinne. The associated archaeological culture is called the Boyne culture; the site covers 780 ha and contains around 40 passage graves, as well as other prehistoric sites and features. The majority of the monuments are concentrated on the north side of the river; the most well-known sites within Brú na Bóinne are the passage graves of Newgrange and Dowth, all known for their collections of megalithic art. Each stands on a ridge within the river bend and two of the tombs and Newgrange, appear to contain stones re-used from an earlier monument at the site. Newgrange is the central mound of the Boyne Valley passage grave cemetery, the circular cairn in which the cruciform burial chamber is sited having a diameter of over 100 metres.
Knowth and Dowth are of comparable size. There is no in situ evidence for earlier activity at the site, save for the spotfinds of flint tools left by Mesolithic hunters; the passage tombs were constructed beginning in around 3,300 BC and work stopped around 2,900 BC. The three largest tombs of Newgrange and Dowth may have been constructed to be visible from each other and from northern and southern approaches along the River Boyne, as part of a scheme to "bind the disparate elements of the extended passage tomb cemetery into a more defined prehistoric numinous precinct"; the area continued to be used for habitation and ritual purposes until the early Bronze Age, during which a number of embanked and wooden post circles were built. Artefacts from the Bronze Age are comparatively inconspicuous: some cist and ring ditch burials and burnt mounds. For the Iron Age there is only evidence of sporadic activity, such as burials near Knowth and at Rosnaree. Valuable items from the Roman period such as coins and jewelry were found as votive offerings near Newgrange.
Numerous other enclosure and megalith sites have been identified within the river bend and have been given simple letter designations, such as the M Enclosures. In addition to the three large tombs, several other ceremonial sites constitute the complex including: Cloghalea Henge Townleyhall passage grave Monknewtown henge and ritual pond Newgrange cursus Each of the three main megalith sites have significant archaeoastronomical significance. Newgrange and Dowth have Winter solstice solar alignments, while Knowth is oriented towards the spring and autumn Equinox. In addition, the immediate environs of the main sites have been investigated for other possible alignments; the layout and design of the Brú na Bóinne complex across the valley has been studied for astronomical significance. All access to Newgrange and Knowth is by guided tour only, with tours beginning at the Visitor Centre, opened in 1997 in Donore, County Meath; the tourist visitor centre is located on the south side of the river Boyne, the historical site is located on the north side of the river and is accessed via a shuttle with a tour guide.
Bus Éireann route 163 operates between the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre via Donore. The nearest railway station is Drogheda railway station 9 kilometres distant. List of archaeoastronomical sites by country Lewis-Williams, D. and Pearce, D. Inside the Neolithic Mind and Hudson, London, 2005, ISBN 0-500-05138-0 O'Kelly, M. J. Newgrange: archaeology and legend, London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd. 1982. Stout, Geraldine and the Bend of the Boyne, 2002, Cork University Press, ISBN 1859183417, 9781859183410, google books UNESCO's World Heritage Site description Official website Newgrange.com Knowth.com Brú na Bóinne in myth and folklore
A changeling is a creature found in folklore and folk religion throughout Europe. A changeling was believed to be a fairy child, left in place of a human child stolen by the fairies; the theme of the swapped child is common in medieval literature and modernly reflects concern over infants thought to be afflicted with unexplained diseases, disorders, or developmental disabilities. A changeling is identifiable via a number of traits, they may display intelligence far beyond their apparent years, as well as possess uncanny insight. A common way that a changeling could identify itself is through displaying unusual behaviour when it thinks it's alone, such as jumping about, dancing or playing an instrument — though this last example is found only within Irish and Scottish legend."A human child might be taken due to many factors: to act as a servant, the love of a human child, or malice. Most it was thought that fairies exchanged the children. In rare cases, the elderly of the fairy people would be exchanged in the place of a human baby, so that the old fairy could live in comfort, being coddled by its human parents.
Simple charms such as an inverted coat or open iron scissors left where the child sleeps, were thought to ward them off. A peasant family's subsistence depended upon the productive labour of each member, it was difficult to provide for a person, a permanent drain on the family's scarce resources. "The fact that the changelings' ravenous appetite is so mentioned indicates that the parents of these unfortunate children saw in their continuing existence a threat to the sustenance of the entire family. Changeling tales support other historical evidence in suggesting that infanticide was the solution selected." One belief is that trolls thought that it was more respectable to be raised by humans and that they wanted to give their own children a human upbringing. Some people believed. Once children had been baptized and therefore become part of the Church, the trolls could not take them. Beauty in human children and young women traits which evoke brightness or reflectivity, such as blond hair and blue or silver gray eyes, as these are said to attract fairies, as they find preciousness in these perceived traits.
In Scottish folklore, the children might be replacements for fairy children in the tithe to Hell. According to common Scottish myths, a child born with a caul across his or her face is a changeling, will soon die. Other folklore says. In these cases either the newborn human child would be switched with a fairy baby to be suckled by the human mother, or the human mother would be taken back to the fairy world to breastfeed the fairy babies, it is thought that human midwives were necessary to bring fairy babies into the world. Some stories tell of changelings who proceed to live a human life. Changelings who do not forget, however, in some stories return to their fairy family leaving the human family without warning; the human child, taken may stay with the fairy family forever. Feeling connected to the fate of a changeling, there are families who turn their changeling loose to the wilderness; some folklorists believe that fairies were memories of inhabitants of various regions in Europe, driven into hiding by invaders.
They held that changelings had occurred. The Mên-an-Tol stones in Cornwall are said to have a fairy or pixie guardian who can make miraculous cures. In one case, a changeling baby was passed through the stone in order for the mother to have her real child returned to her. Evil pixies had changed her child, the stones were able to reverse their spell. In Germany, the changeling is known as Wechselbalg, Kielkropf or Dickkopf. Several methods are known in Germany to identify a changeling and to return the replaced real child: confusing the changeling by cooking or brewing in eggshells; this will force the changeling to speak, claiming its real age, revealing its position beyond synchronicity. Attempting to heat the changeling in the oven - a lie by capacity to endure present. Hitting or whipping the changelingSometimes the changeling has to be fed with a woman's milk before replacing the children. In German folklore, several possible parents are known for changelings; those are: the devil, a belief shared by Martin Luther a female dwarf a water spirit a Roggenmuhme/Roggenmutter In Ireland, looking at a baby with envy – "over looking the baby" – was dangerous, as it endangered the baby, in the fairies' power.
So too was admiring or envying a woman or man dangerous, unless the person added a blessing. Women were in danger in liminal states: being a new bride, or a new mother. Putting a changeling in a fire would cause it to jump up the chimney and return the human child, but at least one tale recounts a mother with a changeling finding that a fairy woman ca
Oberon is a king of the fairies in medieval and Renaissance literature. He is best known as a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which he is Consort to Titania, Queen of the Fairies. Oberon's status as king of the fairies comes from the character of Alberich, a sorcerer in the legendary history of the Merovingian dynasty. In the legend, he is the otherworldly "brother" of Merowech, whose name is the eponym of the Merovingians but whose actual existence is unproven. Alberich wins for his eldest son, the hand of a princess of Constantinople. In the Nibelungenlied, a Burgundian poem written around the turn of the 13th century, Alberich guards the treasure of the Nibelungen, but is overcome by Siegfried; the name Oberon is first attested to in the early 13th century chanson de geste entitled Les Prouesses et faitz du noble Huon de Bordeaux, wherein it refers to an elven man of the forest encountered by the eponymous hero. Huon, son of Seguin count of Bordeaux, passed through the forest inhabited by Oberon.
He was warned by a hermit not to speak to Oberon, but his courtesy had him answer Oberon's greetings, so gain his aid in his quest. Huon had killed Charlot, the Emperor's son, in self-defense, so he must visit the court of the amir of Babylon and perform various feats to win a pardon, he succeeds only with Oberon's aid. This elf is dwarfish in height, though handsome, he explains that, at his christening, an offended fairy cursed him to dwarfish height but relented and gave him great beauty as compensation. Alberich features as a dwarf in the Nibelungen; the real Seguin was Count of Bordeaux under Louis the Pious in 839, died fighting against the Normans in 845. Charles l'Enfant, a son of Charles the Bald, died in 866 of wounds inflicted by a certain Aubouin in the circumstances of an ambush similar to the Charlot of the story. Thus, Oberon appears in a 13th-century French courtly fantasy, based on a shred of 9th century fact, he is given some Celtic trappings, such as a magical cup, full for the virtuous.
"The magic cup supplied their evening meal. In this story, he is said to be the child of Julius Caesar. A manuscript of the romance in the city of Turin contains a prologue to the story of Huon de Bordeaux in the shape of a separate romance of Auberon and four sequels, there are French versions, as well. Shakespeare saw or heard of the French heroic song through the c. 1540 translation of John Bourchier, Lord Berners, called Huon of Burdeuxe. In Philip Henslowe's diary, there is a note of a performance of a play Hewen of Burdocize on 28 December 1593. In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream Oberon is the king of all of the fairies and is engaged in a dispute with his wife Titania, the fairy queen, they are arguing over custody of a child. Titania wants to keep and raise the child for the sake of her mortal friend and follower who died giving birth to him. To make it look as if he didn't disappear, Titania put a fairy in his place; because Oberon and Titania are both powerful spirits connected to nature, their feuding disrupts the weather.
Titania describes the consequences of their fighting: Oberon tricks Titania into giving him back the child using the juice from a special flower that makes you "madly dote upon the next live thing that it sees". The flower was accidentally struck by Cupid's arrow when he attempted to shoot a young maiden in a field, instead infusing the flower with love. Oberon sends Puck, to fetch the flower, which he does successfully. Furious that Titania will not give him the child, he puts juice from a magical flower into her eyes while she is asleep; the effect of the juice will cause Titania to fall in love with the first live thing. Titania awakens and finds herself madly in love with Bottom, an actor from the rude mechanicals whose head was just transformed into that of a donkey, thanks to a curse from Puck. Meanwhile, two couples have entered the forest: Lovers Hermia and Lysander are pursued by Demetrius, who loves Hermia, Helena, who loves Demetrius. Oberon witnesses Demetrius rejecting Helena, admires her amorous determination, decides to help her.
He sends Puck to put some of the juice in Demetrius's eyes, describing him as “a youth in Athenian clothing”, to make him fall in love with Helena. Puck finds Lysander –, a youth wearing Athenian clothing – and puts the love potion on Lysander's eyes; when Lysander wakes, he falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Demetrius has been anointed with the flower and awakes to see Helena, pursued by Lysander, a fight breaks out between the two young men. Oberon is furious with Puck, casts a sleeping spell on the forest, making Puck reverse the potion on Lysander, admonishing Puck to not reverse the effects on Demetrius. Both begin the journey back to Athens. Oberon now looks upon Titania and her lover and feels sorry for what he has done, he reverses the spell using a magic herb. When she wakes, she is confused. Oberon explains that the dream was real, the two reunite happily, they return to Athens in the epilogue to bless the couples, becoming once again the benevolent fairy king and queen. Oberon is a character in The Scottish History of a play written c. 1590 by Robert Greene.
In 1610, Ben Jonson wrote a masque of the Faery Prince. It was performed by Henry Frederick Stuart
The púca, phouka, phooca, puca or púka is a creature of Celtic folklore. Considered to be bringers both of good and bad fortune, they could either help or hinder rural and marine communities. Púcaí can have dark or white hair; the creatures were said to be shape changers which could take the appearance of horses, cats and hares. They may take a human form, which includes various animal features, such as ears or a tail; the púca has counterparts throughout the Celtic cultures of Northwest Europe. For instance, in Welsh mythology it is named the pwca and in Cornish the Bucca. In the Channel Islands, the pouque were said to be fairies; the origin of the name may have come from the Old Norse term pook or puki, which refers to a "nature spirit". Usage of the term in Ireland, may predate the arrival of Norse settlers. In Germanic languages, such as Frisian or English, this became pook or puck; the name of the pooka may come from the Irish word poc, meaning a male goat, a form the creature is said to take.
The púca may be regarded as being either beneficent. Fairy mythologist Thomas Keightley said "notions respecting it are vague", in a brief description gives an account collected by Croker from a boy living near Killarney that "old people used to say that the Pookas were numerous...long ago... were wicked-minded, black-looking, bad things...that would come in the form of wild colts, with chains hanging about them", that did much to harm unwary travellers. Children were warned not to eat overripe blackberries, because this was a sign that the pooka has befouled them. One theme of the púca's folklore is their proclivity for mischief, they are said to entice humans to take a ride on their back, giving the rider a wild and terrifying journey before dropping the unlucky person back at the place they were taken from. This lore bears similarities to other Irish folk creatures, such as the daoine maithe or the slua si, said to target humans on the road or along their regular "passes." These human encounters of the púca tend to occur in rural, isolated places, far from settlements or homes.
While púca stories can be found across northern Europe, Irish tales specify a protective measure for encountering a púca. It is said that the rider may be able to take control of the púca by wearing sharp spurs, using those to prevent being taken or to steer the creature if on its back. A translation of an Irish púca story, "An Buachaill Bó agus an Púca," told by storyteller Seán Ó Cróinín, describes this method of control of the púca as done by a young boy, the creature's target once before:"... the farmer asked the lad what had kept him out so late. The lad told him. "I have spurs," said the farmer. "Put them on you tonight and if he brings you give him the spurs!" And this the lad did. The thing threw him from its back and the lad got back early enough. Within a week the was before him again after housing the cows. "Come to me," said the lad, "so I can get up on your back." "Have you the sharp things on?" said the animal. "Certainly," said the lad. "Oh I won't go near you, then," he said."The protective power of the "sharp things," as they are always referred to by the pooka in the tales, may stem from the Irish belief that "cold iron" has the ability to ward off the supernatural.
In contrast, the púca is represented as being helpful to farmers by Lady Wilde, who relates the following tale. A farmer's son named Padraig one day noticed the invisible presence of the púca brushing by, called out to him, offering a coat; the púca appeared in the guise of a young bull, told him to come to the old mill at night. From that time onward, the púca came secretly at night and performed all the work of milling the sacks of corn into flour. Padraig fell asleep the first time, but concealed himself in a chest to catch sight of them, made a present of a fine silk suit; this unexpectedly caused the púca to cease its work. But by the farmer's wealth allowed him to retire and give his son an education. At Padraig's wedding, the púca left a gift of a golden cup filled with drink that evidently ensured their happiness. Another example of the púca as a benevolent or protective entity comes in tales where the creature intervenes before a terrible accident or before the person is about to happen upon a malevolent fairy or spirit.
In several of the regional variants of the stories where the púca is acting as a guardian, the púca identifies itself to the bewildered human. This is noteworthy as it is in contrast to the lore of many other folkloric beings, who guard their identities or names from humans. There are stories of some púcaí being vampire-like creatures. Other stories say some are man-eating beings, hunting down and eating their victims. According to legend, the púca is a deft shapeshifter, capable of assuming a variety of terrifying or pleasing forms, it can take a human form, but will have animal features, such as ears or a tail. As an animal, the púca will most appear as a horse, rabbit, fox, goat, goblin, or dog. No matter what shape the púca takes, its fur is always dark, it most takes the form of a sleek black horse with a flowing mane and luminescent golden eyes. If a human is enticed onto a púca's back, it has been known to give
Saci (Brazilian folklore)
Saci is a character in Brazilian folklore. He is a one-legged black or mulatto youngster, who smokes a pipe and wears a magical red cap that enables him to disappear and reappear wherever he wishes. Considered an annoying prankster in most parts of Brazil, a dangerous and malicious creature in others, he grants wishes to anyone who manages to trap him or steal his magic cap. However, his cap is depicted as having a bad smell. Most people who claimed to have stolen this cap say; the legend says that a person can trap a Saci inside a bottle when he is in the form of a dust devil. There are several variants of the myth, including: black as coal. Saci-pererê is the name of a Brazilian cocktail consisting of 60 millilitres of cachaça and 45 millilitres of honey, a home remedy said to be useful in treating the common cold. An incorrigible prankster, the Saci causes no major harm, but there is no little harm that he won't do, he hides children's toys, sets farm animals loose, teases dogs—and curses chicken eggs, preventing them from hatching.
In the kitchen, the Saci spills salt, sours the milk, burns the bean stew, drops flies into the soup. If a popcorn kernel fails to pop, it is. Given half a chance, he dulls the seamstress's needles, hides her thimbles, tangles her sewing threads. If he sees a nail lying on the ground, he turns the point up. In short, people blame anything. Besides disappearing or becoming invisible, the Saci can transform himself into a Matitaperê or Matita Pereira, an elusive bird whose melancholic song seems to come from nowhere. One can escape a pursuing Saci by crossing a water stream; the Saci dares not cross, for he loses all his powers. Another way is to drop ropes full of knots; the Saci is compelled to undo the knots. One can try to appease him by leaving behind some cachaça, or some tobacco for his pipe, he is fond of juggling embers or other small objects and letting them fall through the holes on his palms. An exceedingly nimble fellow, the lack of his right leg does not prevent him from bareback-riding a horse, sitting cross-legged while puffing on his pipe.
Every dust devil, says the legend, is caused by the spin-dance of an invisible Saci. One can capture him by throwing into the dust devil a rosary made of separately blessed prayer beads, or by pouncing on it with a sieve. With care, the captured Saci can be coaxed to enter a dark glass bottle, where he can be imprisoned by a cork with a cross marked on it, he can be enslaved by stealing his cap, the source of his power. However, depending on the treatment he gets from his master, an enslaved Saci who regains his freedom may become either a trustworthy guardian and friend, or a devious and terrible enemy. While some claim that the Saci myth originated in Europe in the 13th century such as the Monopod, it derives from the Ŷaci-ŷaterê of Tupi-Guarani mythology, a magic one-legged child with bright red hair who would spell-bind people and break the forest's silence with his loud shouts and whistles, he was a creature of the night, indeed the ŷaci means "Moon" in Old Tupi. This indigenous character was appropriated and transformed in the 18th century by the African slaves, brought in large numbers to Brazil.
Farm slaves would tell Saci stories to frighten the children. In this process the creature became black, his red hair metamorphosed into a red cap, and, as the African elders who told the tales, he came to be always smoking his clay-and-reed pipe, his name mutated into various forms, such as Saci Taperê and Sá Pereira, Saci Pererê. His red cap may have been inspired on the Trasgo a mythical Portuguese creature with exact same powers as the Saci; the Saci-Pererê concept shows some syncretism with Christian elements: he bolts away when faced with crosses, leaving behind a sulphurous smell — classical attributes of the devil in Christian folklore. The concepts of imprisoning a supernatural being in a bottle by a magically marked cork, of forcing him to grant wishes in return of his liberty, have obvious parallels in the story of Aladdin from the Arabian Nights; this may be more than just a coincidence, since some slaves were Muslims and thus familiar with the Arabian tales. Moreover, the occupation of parts of the Portuguese territory by the Muslim Moors, between the years 711 and 1249, provides another possible path for Arabian influence on the Saci legend.
Some people believe. The character remains quite popular in present-day Brazilian urban culture due to the immensely popular children's book O Saci by Monteiro Lobato. Saci has appearances in other films and TV series adaptations of Sítio do Picapau Amarelo. In the 1960s, the one-legged gnome — by now "domesticated" into a prankish but inoffensive and lovable creature — was chosen by premier Brazilian cartoonist Ziraldo as the leading character of his comics magazine, Turma do Pererê; this original publication, the first of its genre to feature "national" characters, was short-lived, but paved the way for other Brazilian cartoonists like Ziraldo, Angeli and Mauricio de Sousa. Tom Jobim's song Águas de M