Hobs & Pookahs
- I'd agree with John about the excellence of _Hobberdy Dick_, by K.M.
Briggs. There are other, excellent hob & pookah books for children. A
more recent few (from the '90s) that come to mind include the several
fabulous books by William Mayne--among his best in years-- about a hob,
_Hob & the Goblins_ and _Hob & the Peddler_, and various books of Hob
short stories (but I've not read all of these), and Peni Griffin's
stunning _Hobkin_, which has been sadly overlooked; there is also the
magnificent _The Kelpie's Pearls_ (an older book, from the 70s or
possibly late 60s) by Mollie Hunter, which would be the 3rd variety of
phouka. A similar creature appears in Susan Cooper's _The Boggart_ and
_The Boggart and the Monster_, which I actually prefer to most of the
vaunted "Dark is Rising" books.
Yes, a major character in _War for the Oaks_ was a phouka, who took the
form of a dog, mostly, or a human, and seemed clearly modeled on a
famous Minnesota pop star from before he was a star, in the days when
he was playing some of the same clubs as Emma. Or as Eddi & the Fay.
But he's not the major romantic interest for Eddi in the book, though
if the book had been filmed, and especially if he'd been played by the
famous pop-star turned actor, I suppose he would've been the
love-interest and fellow rock band member in the movie.
On Feb 20, 2005, at 7:25 AM, email@example.com wrote:
> Message: 4
> Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 21:35:10 -0800
> From: "Rateliff, John" <john.rateliff@...>
> [. . . .]
> re. Pookah, Briggs has three entries. They're too long to type in, so
> I'll summarize.
> (1) Puck. This is the English version, formerly also spelled Pouk.
> Some stories make pucks out to be tricksters, others malicious devils.
> Shakespeare's Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream has pretty well buried
> the older versions and made him the equivalent of Robin Goodfellow
> (that is, a hob). He's a traditional hob-goblin, sometimes leading
> people astray like a will o' the wisp, sometimes helping them like a
> (2) Pwca (pronounced "pooka"). The Welsh version. Does chores, but
> misbehaves when his rights are not respected. Loves to mislead
> travellers at night (will o' the wisp).
> (3) Phouka (pronounced "pooka"). The Irish version. A devil or a
> bogeyman. Likes to take the form of a horse and carry off the
> unsuspecting. Also sometimes described more like a hob: tricksy or
> helpful depending on the circumstances.
> [. . . .]
> War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. I could be mistaken, since it's years
> since I read this one, but I'm pretty sure one of the main characters
> turns out to be a pooka. He appears in human form and becomes the
> heroine's love interest; this is an urban fantasy take on the pooka
> Of course, there's also Kipling's rather cutesy Puck (Puck of Pook's
> Hill; Rewards & Fairies), who takes some children through a tour of
> English history, but for my money the best hobs in modern fantasy are
> the ones in Briggs' novel Hobberty Dick.
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Roseville, MN 55113
- * Yes, a major character in _War for the Oaks_ was a phouka, who took the
* form of a dog, mostly, or a human, and seemed clearly modeled on a
* famous Minnesota pop star from before he was a star, in the days when
* he was playing some of the same clubs as Emma. Or as Eddi & the Fay.
* But he's not the major romantic interest for Eddi in the book, though
* if the book had been filmed, and especially if he'd been played by the
* famous pop-star turned actor, I suppose he would've been the
* love-interest and fellow rock band member in the movie.
Actually he wasn't modeled on that pop star. Emma when we interviewed her about
the War for the Oaks script said she wanted Harold Perrineau to play the Phouka.