Imagine; walking in the dark along a back road. Alone and secluded.
NOT suburbia Hell (thank you Gone in 60 Seconds). Far, far, away from another human being. And out of screaming range…
No matter how I spell it, ‘’Puka’’ just doesn’t sound all that intimidating, does it? Well, too bad. That’s all I’ve got to work with here people. None of the eighty bazillion spellings of this word change the pronunciation. Go out on a limb for me and forget that your toddler would laugh at the sound of the “Dreaded Puka”.
Puka, Puca, Pooka, Phuka, etc. They are a mischievousness specie of shape-shifter.
- ½ Fey and ½ Human
It depends on the lore. You pick.
- Terrifying humans.
- Ruining crops.
- Confusing you to pieces.
- Turning into a large, black animal for the purpose of either frightening you or taking you for a seemingly purpose-lacking ride. And then dropping you on your arse. In the middle of nowhere.
- Punishing the “wrongdoer”.
- Punishing those who are ungrateful.
- Punishing grave robbers.
- Rescuing beasts that get stuck in bogs.
- Tidying up after humans who have appeased them.
The Fey in general are held as tricksters to many of the Celts. But the Puka are mentioned specifically, several times.
- To the Celts, Samhain (Halloween) was a festival in which the final harvest and storage of the crops for winter was a big deal. Starving was not a fun thought to think. I happen to agree. So, anything left on the trees or in fields after Samhain was considered ruined by the Puka.
- The Puka can be seen on Samhain in the mountains. Come across one and it might foretell of a prophecy or warning.
- There are many legends of the Puka helping farmers who appeased them.
- Most often seen as a black horse with fire in their eyes. Or golden eyes. I wouldn’t suggest you try to saddle them. In most stories their unwise rider gets lost in a bog.
- Little kids (yes, you have baby goats and you didn’t even know it!) often call snails ‘pookas’ and ask them to ‘put out their horns’ in a nursery rhyme.
The Puka tend to roll along the same lines as most other tricksters in lore. In some stories, they’re the villain and in some the hero. Some are selfish; some selfless. Some are oafs and some could outwit Einstein. So on and so forth. Your regular every day contradictory creature.
WHY I LIKE THE PUKA:
They don’t like mean people. Grave robbers are just plain creepy. Corpse bothering = yick. And black panthers are awesome.
MY PURPOSE FOR CARING ABOUT THE PUKA:
I don’t believe they’ve been used in fiction all that recently. They’re a pretty prevalent part of Celtic lore, seeing as how they’re tied in with Samhain and all. But they’ve not popped up and I’d be interested to see just how creepy I could make them. They have a small bit of non-detail-oriented lore, giving you lots of wiggle room. Shape shifters are always fun. 😉
Regardless, the Puka are considered benevolent. Even though they enjoy scaring the bejeebers out of random people.
Makes so much sense to me… *rolls eyes dramatically*
Have you ever heard of the Puka?