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Hey fediverse, I'm trying to think of some cool, obscure and friendly mythical creatures from existing folklore. The kind who could plausibly be friends of a young child. Anyone have any suggestions? :D

@quinnstephens Any particular part/world region of folklore? And are you ideally wanting something humanoid, something child-size, or something more unusual?

@ExilianOfficial I'm trying to put together creatures from all over the world, so any culture could work! Currently the group contains a pixie and an alux, so I have Celtic and Mayan folklore included so far.

@ExilianOfficial And ideally they should be human-sized or smaller so I can fit a large number of them in one composition :)

@quinnstephens And is it important that they're benevolent in the original folkloric conception? (That is, avoiding say "here's an X but this one's a friendly cute version").

@ExilianOfficial I'm not averse to putting a friendly spin on them if I can make a case for it!

@quinnstephens Some initial thoughts:
> Barbegazi, the "ice beard" dwarfs of the French/Swiss alps who rescue people from snowdrifts
> Knockers, the Cornish/Welsh trickster spirits who hammer at mine walls before a cave-in to warn miners to get out the way
> Domovoy, easy European household spirits (might be too similar to the alux?)
> Would break your size thing but the Musgoso of northern Spain, a giant who acts as a shepherd to the shepherds, is very cool.
> A tiny lammasu would be adorable.

@ExilianOfficial

> Would break your size thing but the Musgoso of northern Spain, a giant who acts as a shepherd to the shepherds, is very cool.

Aren't you thinking of the #Basajaun perhaps? pyreneanexperience.com/basajau

#Basque mythology offers a lot of potential, in part because of its close connection with nature. From memory, the #akerbeltz and #sorginak (witches, sort of) could also fit the bill.

@quinnstephens

@ExilianOfficial @quinnstephens
I would recommend doing some decent research first and speaking to individuals from the relevant cultures, as:

1. people can be quite sensitive to how “their” folklore is represented

2. to the informed, it'll be obvious if you don't “know” the character and completely ruin the experience.

@ExilianOfficial @quinnstephens

Hang on! Just remembered another one that might fit the bill: children in the Basque country do not have a father Christmas as in northern cultures or the three magi as in Spain.

They have the #Olentzero.

Do an image search for it.

(Btw, I realise the thread is quite old but nevertheless)

@0 @quinnstephens No, definitely the Musgoso, which is a myth from Asturias/Cantabria, but by the looks of it might be a related/vaguely similar myth to the Basque one you mentioned.

@quinnstephens

The problem is that classical mythic creatures have a standard for being seductive to children and then turn out to have cold, heartless goals in the end.

Modern "Monsters, Inc." style creatures were not common, as I recall.

@Algot I imagine that would vary pretty widely depending on the culture, though, wouldn't it?

@quinnstephens

My myth references lean heavily on the ones from Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" which I read several times in my youth. The Grimm brothers influenced me too.

I have not expanded much beyond that.

There probably are cultures in which "cautionary" isn't the core element of the story.

@quinnstephens
Young nymph ;)
Wait, someone is knocking in my door, wonder who it is at that time

@quinnstephens brownies aren't really obscure, but very rarely seen in modern stories.
in Irish folklore, iirc, werewolves were protectors of families. Werewolves aren't obscure, but that specific version of them is.

@quinnstephens tomten/nisse. They’ve got some spooky Norse pagan roots & fey vibes, but they look like garden gnomes and are usually nice to children and animals.

@quinnstephens You might like exploring some Japanese folktales. There's at least one nice anime ("Letter to Momo") that could feed your muse, too.

@quinnstephens my Guyanese dad used to tell me stories about brother bear and brother spider (and others). They weren't antagonistic towards children, barely interacted with them at all iirc, but they might be worth checking out because I remember them being pretty silly as a child

@quinnstephens the Klabautermann, maybe. Although it's only really associated with sailors, so unless that's a seafaring child then I dunno

@quinnstephens Does the actual mythology need to reflect its friendly nature? Because that's pretty rare to my knowledge. Otherwise, you can always "friendli-fy" a mythological creature like everyone else does.

@quinnstephens This may be more cryptid than folklore, but the Lake Mendota Sea Serpent? It was mostly described as good-natured, chasing sailboats, more prone to tipping over canoes or licking bathers' feet than causing serious trouble. (It's from Madison, Wisconsin, but there's not much reason it couldn't have relatives wherever your story needs to be.)

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