"If the sun and moon should ever doubt, they'd immediately go out.." ~William Blake

March 5, 2012

Critters and Creatures ~ part 1

Hello all!!

I like all things cute and furry and also things not so cute and furry . . . sometimes! So I thought I would do a post on creatures from the Spiderwick Cronicles and few others that I came across in my perusing of the internet!  So let us enter into the world of fantastical creatures!

Around the House and Yard    

From helpful Brownies to troublesome Boggarts, mysterious Changelings to thieving Pixies, fiery Salamanders to baffling Stray Sod, the Faeries that are closest to Humans in proximity are not always the friendliest.

Brownies (Family: Homunculidae)

These kindly and dependable creatures (also called Lobs, Hobs or, if female, Silkies) attach themselves to Human households, where they help with chores and protect the well-being of people living on "their" land.
Fiercely loyal, Brownies will defend a home and its surrounding estate from burglars and Goblins. They live somewhere on the land they protect, perhaps in an abandoned barn, an unused closet or within the walls. Despite their love of cleanliness, Brownies are rather shabby in appearance, often going shoeless or wholly unclothed. Even so, they expect no payment other than scraps of food and a bowl of milk left out at night; in fact, further gifts are likely to induce adverse effects.
Shuffling sounds at night can be a sign of a Brownie; the careful observer may be able to spy one at work if he or she can sneak up quietly enough. Even if not actually seen, the Brownie may disappear in the middle of completing a task, leaving proof in the form of half-finished mopping or partially washed dishes.
Unusual organization of items is also common in houses with Brownies. A Brownie may alphabetize books by the middle initial of the author's names or file records by the titles of favorite songs.
Industrious themselves, even the gentlest of Brownies hates laziness in others. If taken advantage of, or otherwise ill-used, the Brownie may become a Boggart. (Compare to Boggart, Leprechaun and Knocker)

    Boggarts (Family: Homunculidae)

    Abuse of a Brownie, either through neglect of chores, a failure to leave out food or deliberate insult, will turn it into a Boggart.
    Also known as Bogans or Bogies, Boggarts delight in tormenting those they once protected and will cause milk to sour, doors to slam, dogs to go lame and other mischief.
    Boggarts particularly like to steal food and to hide household items like keys and socks. More common than Brownies, Boggarts reside in many houses and workplaces. This may be the result of decades of improper treatment of Brownies, which were once far more prevalent.
    As loyal as Brownies, Boggarts are almost impossible to get rid of. Many families have fled from a house tormented by a Boggart only to find the Boggart fleeing with them.
    Boggarts are sometimes confused with Poltergeists because both terrorize households. And as both generally remain unseen, it can be hard to tell the difference. Listen carefully after something goes awry; if muffled laughter is heard, a Boggart is the likely culprit. (Compare to Brownie and Hobgoblin)

    Changelings (Family: Circulifestidae)

    Changelings are Creatures from the Invisible World that have taken on the form of a Human, usually a child, while that person is carried to live among the Faeries. Elves and Pixies are most commonly the culprits, either leaving behind one of their own to grow up among mortals or leaving behind a piece of wood enchanted to look like the mortal that was stolen. Sometimes the Changeling will fake its own death or mysteriously disappear in order to rejoin its own family (now one member larger with the addition of a Human brother or sister).
    There are various methods of protecting a child from being stolen: leaving open iron scissors where the child sleeps (dangerous and not recommended), placing a key on the child's blankets, turning the father's trousers inside-out and hanging them over the cradle or stringing bundles of rowan and garlic along the sides of the infant's bed. Despite the abundance of methods, however, few are employed today.
    Changelings often have distinct characteristics that set them apart from their children. They may have a tail, a hunched back or a withered appearance, even if very young. They may also develop a grayish or greenish tone to their skin. A Changeling will also eat differently from a regular child. Although they can consume enormous quantities, some are very picky and occasionally refuse to eat anything but uncooked vegetables or flowers. Their hair and nails grow long quite quickly, adding to the strangeness of the Changeling's overall appearance. Perhaps the unnaturally swift growth is due to the difficulties with aligning a Human body to a Faerie passage of time.
    The Fey Folk cry and laugh at inappropriate times and say unexpected and strange things. A person that speaks entirely in singsong or riddles is probably a Changeling.
    Changelings have been known to try to lure their Human "family" into the hands of their Faerie family. Beware if asked to go on a moonlit walk through the woods with a family member that has been behaving strangely.
    To win back your stolen family member, you should catch the Changeling and return it to the Faerie mound where it came from. If this proves impossible, you can threaten the Changeling with iron, which has the same effect on Changelings as it does on all Creatures of the Invisible World. Although in some of the old stories the Changeling is thrown on a fire or burned with a hot poker, it is unlikely that such an action would go unpunished.
    Occasionally a Changeling will grow up with a mortal family and his or her odd characteristics will diminish, until even the Faerie forgets that it is not a Human. (Compare to Pixie and Elf)

    Pixies (Family: Pusillipraedonidae)
    Tricksy by nature, Pixies particularly delight in tormenting Humans. For this reason, they can be found living in suburban and rural areas, and sometimes even in the parks of cities, any greensward, basically, where people are frequent.
    Ranging between 2 feet and the height of a Human child, Pixies (also known as Piskies) make their homes in the hollows of logs, lean-tos formed by felled trees, and in gardens. Unlike Boggarts and Brownies, Pixies never live inside houses, preferring to dwell outdoors. They sometimes can be spotted alone but are more commonly found in groups of three to five. Their desire is to dwell in groups place them in the trooping category within the Invisible World.
    Due to their prankish nature, Pixies are unremarkable in coloring. Their clothing is usually natural in tone, all the better for hiding themselves as they wait for someone to fall into their next trap.
    Like many Faeries, Pixies dislike rude, greedy and cruel people and often single them out to be the victims of their pranks. Pixies are particularly known for knotting hair, leading people astray and pinching skin black and blue. Pixies also have a fondness for stealing horses.
    An excellent sign of Pixie presence is small items going missing. Of particular interest to Pixies are thimbles, pincushions, toothpicks, eating utensils, paper clips and straight pins. If you are lucky enough to discover a Pixie's lair, you will be surprised at the array of things they've "borrowed".
    If a Dog barks for no reason while staring at an empty spot along a fence or a Cat chases something unseen in a garden, it is very likely that the yard in question is infested with Pixies. There is, however, a way to be sure. Simply take a clod of grassy dirt and turn it grass-side down. If, when you return later on, it has been flipped back, there are definitely Pixies in the area. (Compare to Brownies, Boggarts and Stray Sod)

      Salamanders (Family: Flammieuntidae)

      The Salamander is a tiny, deceptively agreeable Creature resembling its amphibious namesake. It can withstand extreme heat and when threatened, the Salamander will ignite, creating a white-hot flame around its body. Regardless, its skin is cool no matter how hot the temperature around it.
      The Fire Salamander can be found in damp places or in woodpiles, although it has also been spotted near volcanoes. It gives off the odor of sulfur and is believed to secrete poison so terrible that it burns whatever it touches.
      Salamanders are sought by alchemists because they are an integral component for turning lead into gold. They are also sought for their pelts, since the skins can be used to make flame-retardant gloves. Although swift, a Salamander can be caught with tongs and kept in an iron box.

      Stray Sod (Family: Herbiformidae)

      The Stray Sod is a troublesome Creature whose entire purpose seems to be leading travelers astray. These Faeries wander about in open fields and grassy areas and can occur in large numbers. Many consider the Stray Sod to be a subspecies of the Pixie. Others suppose that Stray Sod are not Pixies at all but are created by Magic. If this is so, it is unclear if Stray Sod are aware of their effect on Humans.
      If a Human inadvertently steps on a Stray Sod, that person loses all sense of direction. The disorientation takes effect the instant a foot is placed on the Creature's back and lasts for hours. Victims have been known to wander around their own neighborhood with no hope of finding their way. Landmarks appear missing or in the wrong places, roads look unfamiliar and everything is strange. People have even become lost in their own front yards.
      Eventually the effect wears off; however, the spell can be broken immediately by turning clothing inside out or by carrying a piece of bread in a pocket.

      More to come soon!! 


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