What are Pukah

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?

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15 thoughts on “What are Pukah

  1. Pingback: What are Pukah — Pukah Works – Aaron-Michael Hall

    • Mostly little things – finding keys, finding homework that I misplaced, that type of thing. And, when they reply, it’s usually in the funniest ways possible – keys show up in my shoes just as my feet are being stuffed into them, homework shows up on printers I am not connected to (especially handwritten homework).

      Liked by 1 person

        • Not directly, though I have seen some local critters that don’t QUITE match the local wildlife. Like the snow white bunny at the end of the road living wild. With the coyotes, semi-feral dogs, feral cats, and raptors that inhabit our area, that white bunny should have been someone’s dinner long ago. It’s not someone’s escaped hutch rabbit either, unless the poor thing has wandered much too far, but it is nice and plump. Others have seen it, but to a pukah, that just makes it even better. They do so love attention – in which ever form they take.

          I just can’t account for an extra human in the area, so not sure where he/she lives. I would love to be able to talk to them.

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          • If you count the white bunny, I can claim it. Not directly, however. More like in passing – “Gonna be a hot one today, may want to find some shade” as I drive/walk by. Most of the time, I’m saying “thank you” or “please help” to empty air, and if they are feeling nice, I get a response.

            Thankfully, I have not run into one of the nastier variety – the ones who’s pranks are malicious rather than funny. I just hope it stays that way. Thumb tacks in the shoes a happy morning do not make. (Though, my cats seem to disagree with me on this… silly kids.)

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          • I talk to animals all the time, too! It’s fun, and they seem to understand.

            I was worried about the nasty kind of pukah when I first read about them on your blog post. As helpful as the good ones could be, the nasty ones could seriously wreak havoc on your life it sounds like!

            Have your cats ever put dead mice or rodents in your shoes? My friend had a cat that used to do that. Not sure if the cat thought it was a good thing or not, but he sure didn’t like it.

            -john

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          • So far we haven’t had any rodents get into the house, so they haven’t had a chance to. However, they do like to pull stuff off my bulletin board, and the thumb tacks seem to always wind up in my shoes. I know it’s my rascals, it happens too consistently to be any thing else.

            As for the nastier pukah, I know they are there, but so far I haven’t run into any. Not sure if it is because I am so upbeat most of the time, or if they just decided I’m not someone they can mess with. Either way, I’ll be happy if they amuse themselves far away from anyone they can hurt. So long as they are happy, everyone else is happy. Just not hurting anyone.

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          • Laughter, enjoy the intent of the prank, an occasional thimble of some type of alcohol, and if you can figure out which animal they like, leave a tid bit or two of food that is preferred by that critter. Depending on which lore you read, pukah have different animal affiliations. In the books I’m working on, I’ve expanded that ability to all animals, because I believe that any of the fairy kin have such a deep affinity to nature that no critter is ever beyond their ability to imitate.

            If you think you have one or two pukah in your area, watch out for the traditional “fairy colors” – usually very pale or white with some type of red markings around the ears, eyes and feet.

            The traditional lore says that pukah (pooka, puca) tend to be horses more than any other animal, but I think it will depend on where you are. But, that is my opinion, I don’t have any evidence of it – unless that white bunny is one in animal form.

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