• Charlaine LeRoux

Folklore Friday: You Can't Smoke a Pooka


Hey Bookworms! Since we talked about Scottish folklore last week I thought we should hop on over to Ireland and talk about one of their most famous folklore creatures, the Pooka. What’s a Pooka, you ask?

Well, a Pooka is a shape changing hobgoblin that roams around at night looking for trouble. A hobgoblin is like a junior varsity goblin. Not as strong or as fast but still capable of causing a lot of trouble. Pooka can take many different forms but the most popular Pooka form is a jet black horse. Oh, and they can talk because of course they can.

Pooka are kind of wildcards as far as behavior goes. If you cross one, or even if they’re having a bad day, they will murder you without a thought. If you show them kindness or leave them a gift, they can be really sweet and helpful. Pooka are always down to make mischief though. Their favorite thing to do is trick unsuspecting humans into getting on their backs and then taking them for the ride of their lives.

There are basically three types of Pooka rides:

The first is the worst Pooka ride. This is where they sweet talk you into getting on their backs where you will become stuck like glue. Then they hightail it for the nearest creek or lake and dive right on in. The Pooka will be fine but the rider will surely drown, so that’s a jerk move and completely uncalled for.

The second is more mischievous than murdery. Let’s say the Pooka is just chilling doing Pooka stuff when they happen upon someone making their drunken way home from a pub and decide to have some fun. They come up and are like, “Crazy weather we’re having, eh? What’s say you let me give you a lift home?” The drunk person is wasted, so a talking horse with an interest in meteorology doesn’t seem that weird. They agree and then it's on. Rider on their back, they shoot off fast as lightning and take them on the world’s worst Uber ride. Leaping bushes, taking hairpin turns with total abandon while the rider freaks out and likely vomits. A bunch. They keep this up until the sun starts to rise. Then they abruptly buck the terrified rider off yelling “Gotcha, bro!”, probably, before galloping off laughing hysterically.

The third type of ride is my favorite. This happens in small villages where everybody knows everybody, including the Pooka. In this scenario, the Pooka is bored and decides to pick a victim and go to their house. Then they stand outside and start calling your name. If you don’t come outside, the Pooka will step it up and start hollering all your business to anyone who will listen. Can you imagine? What would you do? Put your headphones in and try to ignore it? Peeking out the window every once in a while to see if it’s gone only to discover it telling embarrassing stories about your childhood to your neighbors? Such a dick move. If that doesn’t work, the Pooka will really step it up and just start screaming smack talk about what a chicken you are in an attempt to get you to come outside. If you manage to hold out all night, the Pooka will get mad and wreck your yard like a bored teenager on Halloween. Fences busted. Garden gnomes smashed. Ungentlemanly things done to the garden. It’s a mess in the morning but way better than having a go at Mr. Pooka’s wild ride.

So anyway, if you're a Brony who’s planning to head to the Emerald Isle, do not accept rides from any beautiful, taking horses. Or not. Chances are, if you do, it'll make a hilarious story...or you'll be dead.

#folklore #Pooka #LynxLeRoux

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