Monday, February 23, 2015

Mythic Monday: Kobolds (related: what the hell is wrong with Google users?)

I've been remiss on my mythology lately, and I have no legitimate excuse. Things have been a little... upheavalous*...for me lately, and blogging sort of fell out of the back of a bouncing wagon of SHIT I HAVE TO DO. Oops. 

*No, of course "upheavalous" isn't a word, but the sentiment fits. 

In honor of tonight's Kobold extravaganza, I thought I'd see what an interwebz search vomited out, since they are a long-standing feature of various video and RP games. Oh Google, I'm both unsurprised and slightly horrified. 

It appears some of you searchers out there have confused Kobolds with dingoes. 

Also, spellchecker wants to change "kobolds" to "cuckolds" and I have to say that's fairly judgmental, Blogger. I've found no evidence of kobolds cuckolding, nor would it be likely to catch them doing so since they are purportedly quite sneaky and wily. 

Moving on. 

Kobolds are most easily described as the Germanic relative of the British Brownie or Norwegian Nisse. They are usually invisible but can appear as child-sized people. Interestingly, their dress seems to be defined by the work they do. 

There are three main delineations of Kobold: the house-elf variety (think Dobby from Harry Potter) who are generally seen in peasant clothing; seafaring Kobolds who stow away on ships and of course dress like a sailor (presumably they also swear like a sailor, and would cause a sailor to swear profusely when seen, I imagine); and mining Kobolds who appear hunched over, cranky as hell, and dressed in filthy mining clothes.  

The house Kobold, similar to a Brownie, can be quite helpful. Unfortunately, while the Brownies have a reputation for being easygoing and cheerful as long as they're given regular gifts of food and honey, Kobolds are rather capricious. Even bribed, they're as likely to cause mischief and messes as they are to sweep or clean, and it appears they're fairly ambivalent of mood when it comes to interactions with people. It's often considered lucky to have a house Kobold, and interestingly the creature is attached to the dwelling itself (not the family who lives there). A house with a happy Kobold will be prosperous and lucky. 

On the other hand, those who sail seem to be quite helpful to sailors (once everyone gets over that initial Kobold-is-not-invisible meeting). They were considered good luck to have aboard for the most part, and (as is a theme here) the sailors gave regular offerings to their ship's Kobold. I do wonder if they're subject to sailors' maladies, though: do fairies get scurvy, for example? What about syphilis? Do they keep a girly Kobold in every port? Would a Kobold girl in a bar be of the house or sailor variety (and as such, what would she wear)? 

Those who mine appear to be something of a cross between a goblin and a dwarf or gnome. As Germanic mythology is often closely related to Norse (Wodan/Odin) I'd guess they originated as dwarf-like characters who both protect and work the mines. They are described as being dirty or even black from mining filth, hunched, and dressed like a child miner. Miners left all sorts of offerings to placate the Kobolds, and some of their tales morphed with creatures like the Cornish "knockers" (not the boob kind...the Tommyknocker kind). 

Kobolds, much like other Fairy and spirit creatures, are horrendously dangerous when pissed off. They must never be mocked or laughed at, fed daily (beer seems to be often on the menu, which I suppose fits since it's a German creature and beer generally surpassed wine in popularity and availability in that area of Europe), and generally treated with respect. 

Consider the wrath of an invisible creature who enjoys literally playing with fire, tripping people at the worst possible time, shoving someone overboard, or collapsing a mine shaft. Hodekin, a Kobold of disturbing renown (likely because he lived in a bishop's house), strangled a servant boy who'd angered him, tore the poor boy's limbs off, and tossed his head into the stew pot. Yeah. Best to keep on their benevolent side. 

Should you find yourself with a Kobold resident, good luck my friend. Feed them their favorite meal daily and try not to get too irritated when they hide your shit or mess with your things (even nice Kobolds are full of mischief). If you offend them, for the love of Pete say you're sorry and change whatever is offending them IMMEDIATELY and maybe you'll get back in their good graces. 

I will say, however, that I truly did not find any evidence in books, Wikipedia, or anywhere else on the interwebz of Kobolds eating my baby (or anyone else's), other than Hodekin, but to be completely fair the boy wasn't a baby...and I didn't find a version where the Kobold ate him OR the stew.

Seriously, that was the Dingoes. 

Also, I'm not kidding Blogger, a dangerous sprite is NOT a cuckold. Wow. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

I Dub Thee "Herman the Moulien"* (pronunciation updated)

So I have a (perhaps foolish) goal to submit at least two pieces of writing every month for publication this year. Yeah, yeah, I know...but it's not a sparkler-and-champagne induced resolution thing like losing weight or some other random general "goal." 

I'd like to say I have a really specific goal, such as writing 1k words every day for a year. But reality is a salty bitch, and I flat out don't have that sort of drive for anything (it's a goal I've tried in the past). 

What I DO have is a 2014 Dragons calendar with fantastic and varied artwork, all of which inspires at least one short story. I have a list of essays/article possibilities. I have two regular outlets for contest submissions both quarterly and monthly. And I am armed with a very large spreadsheet to track all this shit so I can pretend i'm an organized soul. 

I am not should see my desk. 

Anyway, yesterday was 1/31, and therefore (of course) I was doing last-minute revisions and changes because I had a invite to submit an essay in my email last THURSDAY, and the Glimmer Train monthly contest due by last night with a story only 3/4 finished. 

Why do you care? You probably don't...I probably wouldn't were I you. However, I'm behind on the blog posts I want to write (oh YES there is a spreadsheet tab for those, too) and I'm just too damn worn out today to give you a real/entertaining/funny thing that's in any cohesive form. So, that's my explanation why the rest of this post is completely random shit that isn't big enough for a real post, so it's mishmashed into this one. (Screw you spellchecker: I vote that if "selfie" can live in the Oxford English Dictionary, so can "mishmashed" so there. And how. Neener.)

  • My backyard looks like a Honduran jungle. This is not a euphemism for something dirty (I'm looking at YOU and your filthy mind, of which I wholly approve): I do not mean any part of my own person, but the actual fenced-in area behind my living space in which grass and some sort of weird weeds have attempted to swallow the dogs in the past week. Unfortunately, our lawn dude seems to have vanished. I'm afraid of toes and lawn mowers...also, I've never seen the Honduran maybe I should correct that and say Mexican or Trini (I've seen those, and so am not a liar). 
  • The visitor in our house who appears to have made its home UNDER the cabinet below the kitchen sink has not only eaten every fucking roach trap in the house and NOT died, as any polite rodent would do, but it also chewed into the bag of potatoes and ate some of one. Sigh. Bastard. 
  • Herman (I don't know if it's a rat or a mouse or an alien...moulien? at this point, since the fucking thing eats roach poison and doesn't die but it avoids the mouse/rat bait like a damn champ) scared the shit out of my polar bear dog the other night. He tik-tik-tiked out to he kitchen at about 3am (DEMON hour, people) on the tile, there was some indiscriminate scrabbling (I couldn't tell which critter was trying to run, but I can imagine both the Moulien AND Chewy facing opposite directions in the kitchen, legs pumping like mad on the slippery tile and going absolutely nowhere), and eventually Chewy ran back into the bedroom. Of course he came to MY side of the bed, plopped his giant noggin on my pillow and breathed like a stalker all up in my face. I told him to go back to bed...he sighed heavily like I was a lazy bitch and don't I see he's TRYING to tattle here? and lay down on the floor next to my side of the bed. 
  • Herman is still out there. I'm considering dipping the poison in peanut butter or nutella or something. Maybe potato slices, since he seems to enjoy russets. He's probably a Rodent of Unusual Size waiting to get my toes while I'm cooking one day. As if I don't have ENOUGH trouble with balance as I already am. 
  • Yesterday, I spent most of my afternoon spelling the word "labyrinth" about seventeen thousand different ways seven different ways. Each was incorrect. The caption for the art I was using as inspiration was DIRECTLY in front of me on my desk while I wrote. The caption? "The Dragon's Labyrinth." Awesome. 
  • Yesterday, I received one of the best compliments I've ever had about a paragraph I wrote. That's not a funny vignette: just a random moment in which I thought "huh, maybe I don't suck that bad at this" and it made my day. 
And on that note, I'm off to play Mario 3D while sports are happening on the TV. I'm only interested in the Superbowl outcome to find out whether Captain America or Star Lord lost the bet anyway.

*Husband says I should clarify. "Moulien" = mouw-lee-in (mouse/alien). Apparently the mental translation "moo-lee-in" also comes to mind, and makes even less sense than the gibberish I normally accomplish.