Region of origin: Eastern Russian
A raven-spirit deity and trickster figure from the mythologies of the Russian Far East region, Kutkh is vital to myths of creation and providing mankind with things from light and fire and parts of the landscape to concepts like sex and language. Stories often depict Kutkh as crude, lazy and self-centered, and the resulting benefits that are imparted to the earth and its people tend to be more aftermath or comeuppance from a scheme than intentionally helpful, such as when the Kamchatka peninsula was created as the result of a drinking binge with a bear. Due to proximity of the regions and similarities between the figures, it is believed Kutkh may share some origins with the Raven myths from indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest.
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Region of origin: Japan
One of the sub-groups of yokai of animals believed to increase in intelligence and magic power as they age, it is believed when a fox turns 100 years old it grows a second tail and gains new powers such as shape-shifting or the ability to create illusions. This continues to increase every hundred years up until it has nine tails and their fur has turned from red to gold or white. The kitstune are broadly divided into two categories, the zenko kitsune are considered benevolent and who act as messengers for the Shinto deity Inari, whereas the yako kitsune are more malicious pranksters, but both groups tend to use their magic to the end of punishing people who have done something to deserve it and respect those who show them kindness. Among their more common tricks, they can possess people and cause them to behave erratically or destructively, or they may turn into people their victim knows to sow confusion, or someone the person will find attractive to seduce them away from their families. The latter can be short-term, but there are stories where it results in an actual long-term relationship and marriage, occasionally producing half-human offspring who possess some of their kitsune parent’s magical abilities. Kitsunebi, or “fox-fire,” is a form of ignis fatuui that is believed to be magical lanterns the kitsune can summon and will use in their wedding processions.
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Region of origin: Abenaki tribes, northeastern North America
Appearing in the folklore of the Abenaki and neighboring tribes, Azeban was a Trickster spirit who enjoyed playing pranks on mortals but was depicted more as silly and lazy than ever cruel or malevolent. Stories usually ended in him receiving some comeuppance for his deeds, either meted out by some other figure from Abenaki mythology, such as when he was branded with coal soot around the eyes and tail as punishment for misleading two blind friends into fighting each other, resulting in the iconic markings all raccoons now share, or simply his own actions coming back against him like when he obstinately got into a shouting match with a waterfall which ended with him falling into the water and going over.
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The Tote-Road Shagamaw
Region of origin: New Brunswick, Canada
A satyr-like trickster who lived near the lumber camps around the border of Maine and Canada, the Shagamaw was a figure with forepaws of a bear and hind legs of a moose. He would alternate walking on the two different sets of legs to leave changing tracks to confuse hunters or loggers in nearby camps. The tracks usually continued “for twenty chains,” equal to 440 paces or a quarter mile, before the Shagamaw switched off to the other feet. It was believed he maintained this regular distance because the creature tended to mimic things; similar to how he took on aspects of bears and moose he was copying surveyors he had observed working in quarter-mile increments on the logging camps’ tote-roads that now ran through his territory. Conversely, some said it was because four hundred and forty was as high as he could count.
Region of origin: Pinwheel forest, Unova
Resembling a mature boll of cotton, Whimsicott is a well-meaning but mischievous fae-like creature. It’s quick, quiet and its body is surprisingly malleable allowing it to squeeze through cracks or holes that should otherwise be far too small for it, leaving only telltale puffs of cotton behind to show it’s been around pulling one of its classic pranks. They are light enough that they can travel on winds, their appearance often precipitated by a whirlwind. Whimsicott is largely based on the Borometz, or Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, and also features elements of fair folk, the mandrake root and the ashi-magari. Also, due to its ram-like appearance, Whimsicott functions as the equivalent to Aries in the Unovan zodiac.
Originally posted on Tumblr on November 15, 2016
Region of origin: Southern Scotland
A freshwater boggart that haunts rivers around southern Scotland and Northern England, Shellycoat is so named, quite literally, for the coat covered in shells he wears which creates a telltale rattling sound as he moves. Not malevolent but mischievous, he will attempt to pull mostly-harmless pranks on people who venture into his territory in an effort to cause them to lose their way or just mess with them for his own amusement; he would often pretend to be someone drowning to trick would-be rescuers to jump into the river, then laughing at their getting drenched for their efforts.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 26, 2016
Region of origin: Scandinavia
A gossipy little jerk, Ratatoskr was a squirrel who made his home on Yggdrasil, the World-Tree of Norse mythology. He would scamper up and down the trunk from Níðhöggr, the dragon encircling the tree’s roots, to the eagle and hawk perched at its top, passing along news and information. But Ratatoskr began spreading slander and fabricated slights between the two during his journeys along the trunk, sewing animosity and discord in addition to literally gnawing away at the tree as he went.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 13, 2016