I had someone mention this earlier, and before I could answer the question, I had to carefully consider the question. There were two ways to approach the answer, but I decided to make my own trail, and forge a third way instead.
Pukah (also know as pooka, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca, púka, and púca) are creatures drawn from Irish folkolore.
I will let you explore on your own, what the one of the “official” sites on the matter has to say. Here is the Wikipedia link, if you desire to explore that one first.
These fun critters can also be found in the White Wolf game system of Changeling: The Gathering (or what ever the current edition is called. I’ve honestly lost track), but the individuals blessed (or cursed) with this particular heritage, really do not meet these definitions. Except in the most general of terms:
They are beings with fairy blood – any where from full blood to half – with a few minor (MAJOR) personality quirks.
- They like to cause mischief, maybe like is too mild a term. If you are not laughing, then they have not done their job yet.
- If they are telling the truth, you will have to fish it out of the mangled context or elaborations they love telling. If they say it straight out for you, then you had better run! Simple, undiluted, unmangled truth is usually not something you want to hear coming out of their mouths. (Example: Standing on a road in hill country, and a pukah tells you to watch out, the hill is falling. Yes, the hill IS falling – right where you are standing!)
- The love to help out around the place – just maybe not in the manner you need the helping hand offered. (See above)
- Don’t expect them to just flit through your life. When one arrives, it wants to stay. These people love finding a home they can attach to. You just may not wish for them to become quite so attached. (That’s another story!)
- They get along with almost everyone they meet. The exception to this are people who insist on being grouches. Pukah and grouches just refuse to get along, and grouches are one of the only types of beings that can really get a pukha’s goat.
- They are blend of good and evil. Though, usually they are more good than evil, the evil is usually expressed as an over abundance of good. (Don’t try to follow that, it gets a bit confusing. Just remember that too much of a good thing can be bad.)
Not everyone likes having pukah around, because they are so helpful. Just because you need a single bucket of water, they bring you twenty. Just smile, thank them, laugh, and use the bucket you needed and don’t trip on the rest.
Now, there is one thing that every fairy creature does fear – cold forged iron. All of the folk lore, tales of, and game systems about the fairy realm agree on. Some have a slight resistance or immunity to this substance, but the reasons are usually very, very specific.
So, what is different about my pukah from the pile of information I just assembled? Mine care, understand and observe responsibility, and they can be trusted with your life. If they say they will do something, it gets done, no questions asked. And, when they give you allegiance, this is not something that is “here today, gone tomorrow.” If you cast them out from what ever job or project they have agreed to freely participate in, unless it is complete, they are absolutely heart broken. This despair will often lead to some form of madness, and may lead to their dissolution, unless they are half-bloods.
I see these beings as a purpose – the purpose is to lighten anyone’s burden, or to serve in a capacity to the best of their abilities. (And the abilities are quite large.) Some of the pukah have abilities stemming from their heritage, others may have abilities relating to the creatures they associate with, or a particular religion. This is why when they say “It is done” at the start of a project, they are only telling the truth. Probably the only truth they ever tell that is not death falling on your head.
And, one more fair warning! Pukah may not always appear in their fey forms, nor may they appear as a human. One of the things I love about the game pooka and the folk lore puca are that they can come to you as people or animals. I have kept the stricture though from these foundations that it is one pukah = one animal form. Yes, I use the form deliberately! Just because your local pukah can show up as a grey tabby, does not mean they have to stay a gray tabby for ever! They may elect to come around again as a calico, an orange tabby, or even a solid grey, or black, or white cat next time. But, no matter which color they show up as, they seem to have the same bag of tricks up their proverbial sleeves. Same if they show up as a person. They may be a child today, a woman tomorrow, and a man the day after. They live among us, and are part of our society.
Have you ever run into any pukah in your life?