Variously known as leprechauns, clurichauns, far darrig, or fear dearg, these smartly dressed tiny humanoid creatures tend to be surly, but not malevolent.
- A leprechaun typically takes the form of an old man with a beard, about three feet tall, dressed in a red or green suit and hat. Female leprechauns also exist; they look much the same, but their suit often has a skirt rather than pants, and they lack a beard. Leprechauns do not have alternate forms.
- Life Cycle
- Leprechauns reproduce in the same way as humans. They reach physical maturity around age 10, and typically live around 30 years.
- Leprechauns have only minimal need for sustenance. They can survive for months on nothing but rainwater. However, every so often, they need a little more. Three or four times a year, a leprechaun locates a stash of alcoholic beverages and drinks until full (and drunk). Although a leprechaun suffers all the obvious effects of alcohol, such as reduced inhibitions, double vision, and so forth, they cannot be poisoned from it; rather, they rely on the ethanol for sustenance. A leprechaun also does not suffer a hangover on the morning after getting drunk.
- A leprechaun has several interesting powers. First, they can grant wishes using the same wishpower that the djinn use. Second, they hoard gold, which they store in a pot at the end of the rainbow. This power is similar to a “dimensional pocket” or bag of holding, but they can only retrieve their gold when they see a rainbow. Fortunately, the rainbow needn’t be a result of rain; a waterfall or hose can also work, for example. If gold is stolen from a leprechaun, it knows exactly where it is and can turn it to coal whenever it wishes, then retrieve it at a later time and turn it back to gold; however, if a leprechaun willingly gives away gold, it also gives up its ability to track it. Although gold is most common, a leprechaun can similarly track anything that has ever been in its gold pot, including coins of silver, copper, or nickel, or even things that aren’t generally considered valuable. Finally, a leprechaun can cause nightmares in a sleeping being with a touch.
- Society and Culture
- Leprechauns love making shoes, and are often found doing this. They generally make shoes not for any particular person but simply for the joy of the work; however, they may sometimes be willing to make a pair of shoes for a particular person if they like the person or if they receive something nice in exchange; they will however consider the shoemaking to be a favour to them, and will do a favour in return. Male leprechauns are generally solitary, wandering far afield merely for the joy of seeing new places. Female leprechauns sometimes also do this, but they’re far more likely to stay in one place and take care of children. Often several female leprechauns live together and raise their children communally. Leprechauns do not mate for life, so it’s unusual for siblings in a leprechaun family to share the same father.
The huldra (masculine hulder) is a seductive forest creature of Scandinavia. Female huldra have quite a few other names, including ulda, skogsfru, skovfrue, skogsrå, and tallemaja. Male hulders are less common, and are also known as huldus and huldrekarls.
- At first glance, seen from the front, a huldra is typically indistinguishable from a human woman. She is stunningly beautiful with astoundingly long hair - the length varies between waist-length and ankle-length. Most huldras forgo clothing, though some dress in forest-appropriate clothes or as dairymaids. A male hulder is similarly beautiful and without facial hair; their hair may sometimes be shorter than the females, but always falls to at least shoulder-length. The only inhuman thing that may sometimes be visible from the front is their tail, which looks like that of a cow or fox. However, if viewed from behind, a huldra’s true nature becomes apparent – it is in fact a wooden shell shaped like a human, with flesh atop it. On the back, the flesh does not fully cover the shell, and there is a hole that opens into their hollow interior.
- Life Cycle
- Although a huldra may appear male or female to human eyes, they are in fact a hermaphroditic race, like most plants. The exact mechanism has not been studied, but huldras exchange genetic material via a kiss, after which seeds develop in a pouch on the back of their neck. A huldra spends the first two years of its life rooted in the ground as a sapling, which starts thin and supple but quickly grows up and outwards. Towards the end of the second year, their wooden body takes shape, and then their flesh forms and they shed their branches. At this point, they appear to be an adolescent human of between 13 and 16 years; in their humanoid form, they continue to age until they reach full maturity at the age of 12. A huldra’s typical life span is around 60 years.
- Huldras live on a diet of fruit and nuts; they never eat meat.
- A huldra (especially a sapling) can mask its form so that it appears to be a tree. This is why huldra saplings are rarely spotted. They also have some power over luck; they can bless a person with good luck, or curse them with bad luck. They are very strong, able to lift a tree trunk one-handed or straighten a horseshoe with their bare hands, though the stories suggesting they can handle forge-hot metal without burns are without basis in fact. With a smack of their tail, they can relieve a human of their wits, plunging them into insanity.
- Society and Culture
- The huldra lives a nomadic life in the forest, only meeting occasionally to produce offspring. Most huldra do not produce more than one or maybe two batches of seeds in their lifetime. Huldras enjoy swimming in streams and lakes, and sometimes they will tend to a grove of huldra saplings. Their interaction with humans are widely varied. Some seduce humans and then kill them to protect their forest, some have been known to kidnap a husband (or wife), and they have occasionally been known to marry humans and live with them.