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Pookas: Mysterious

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A Pooka appears as a 6" 3 and 1/2 inch tall white rabbit
in the story Harvey The Rabbit and in the motion picture film Harvey.

The Pooka is remembered in recent history as a trickster figure;
it is from the name Pooka that the term boogey man was
eventually derived

The character of the Easter Bunny is non-Christian in origin. The
miraculous rabbit who delivers eggs and candy, still a potent
symbol of fecundity in the 20th Century, has his origins in the
Celtic fertility spirit known as the Pooka.

Origins of the Pooka

A few thousand years back, the Pooka was originally a central
European god known as the Boga, a nature god similar to the
Greeks' Pan. Some etymologists claim that the Slavic word
Bog was derived from Boga. Bog of course, is the
Slavic name for the Almighty, and is the predecessor of the
English word God. You might find it amusing to tell your
Christian friends that every time they invoke the name of God,
they are, in fact, praying to a great horny rabbit.

The Pca (also Pooka, Phouka, Pka, Glashtyn, Gruagach) is a
creature of Irish and Welsh myth. It is one of the myriad of
fairy folk, and, like many fairy folk, is both respected
and feared by those who believe in it.

According to legend, the Pca is an adroit shape changer, capable
of assuming a variety of terrifying forms. It may appear as an
eagle or as a large black goat (its name is a cognate of the
early Irish 'poc', 'a male goat' and it lends its name to Puck,
the goat-footed satyr made famous in Shakespeare's A Midsummer
Night's Dream), but it most commonly takes the form of a sleek
black horse with a flowing mane and glowing yellow eyes.

The Pca is considered by many to be the most terrifying of all
the creatures of faery. Not the slightest reason is its
appearance, but it is its powers that are most feared. It is said
to waylay travelers and others about at night, and if it is able
to toss them onto its back, it will, at very least, provide them
with the ride of their lives, from which they will return forever
changed. A similar creature, the Aughisky (Water-horse), will
allow itself to be saddled and ridden, but if it is ever taken
next to a river or pond, it will carry its hapless rider into the
water and rip him to pieces. The Pca has the power of human
speech, and has been said to call those it feels have slighted or
offended it out of their homes for a ride. If they fail to
appear, it will tear down fences, scatter livestock, and create
general mayhem.

Certain agricultural traditions surround the Pca. It is a
creature associated with Samhain, the third Pagan (Celtic,
Wiccan) Harvest Festival, when the last of the crops is brought
in. Anything remaining in the fields is considered "puka," or
fairy-blasted, and hence inedible. In some locales, reapers leave
a small share of the crop, the "pca's share," to placate the
hungry creature. Nonetheless, November Day (November 1) is the
Pca's day, and the one day of the year when it can be expected
to behave civilly.

In some regions, the Pca is spoken of with considerably more
respect than fear; if treated with due deference, it may actually
be beneficial to those who encounter it. The Pca is a creature
of the mountains and hills, and in those regions there are
stories of it appearing on November Day and providing prophecies
and warnings to those who consult it.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Pca has succumbed to
the disembowelment which has been the fate of so many other
powerful mythological creatures. Contemporary media have reduced
it to a harmless, shy, and slightly demented garden-gnomish
weevil eater.

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