spriggans


spriggans
   These are small, ugly, and malicious *fairies found in wild places in Cornwall, where they guard treasures. They steal babies and leave *changelings, and blight crops (Bot-trell, 1873: ii. 246). According to Robert Hunt, they are the ghosts of *giants, and therefore able to swell from their usual small size into huge figures (Hunt, 1865: 90). Both Bottrell and Hunt tell local legends in which spriggans are described as merrily playing music and dancing, and attack men who spy on them. Anyone who digs for their *treasures will find himself surrounded by hideous and terrifying figures till he flees in panic; if he is brave enough to return, he will find the pit he dug has closed up again.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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