Kobolds: The Mischievous Goblin Creatures of Folklore

Numerous goblin-like creatures can be found in the folklore of various cultures, one of which is the European Kobold. According to sources, the kobold is a small, pointy-eared, goblin-like creature with a mischievous spirit.

Initially, the Kobold is helpful, and has good intentions, but is easily angered and can quickly become a burden. Angering a Kobold is said to be a perilous mistake. Despite the short-temper, the Kobold can also shapeshift into animals, elements or even humans. This is done to blend into their surroundings – meaning they can live among humans or other animals without being detected.

Where Did The Kobolds Come From? 

The Kobolds are often referred to throughout numerous countries in the west, however, it’s thought that their origins can be found in Greece. Other cultures later adopted the Kobolds, but are known by other names, such as in France, where they are known as Gobelins, in Belgium Kabouters, and in England Brownies.

The actual origins of the creature is up for debate, but it is widely believed that they stem from the ancient Greek kobaloi, which were considered to be sprite-like creatures, often called upon by those who serve the god Dionysus.

The Kobolds were mischievous spirits, playing pranks and tricks on the people they came into contact with.

The creatures modern name is taken from the Germanic people, who had adopted the Kobold into their own culture by the 13th century.

The Kobolds As Household Servants

The Kobold are generally thought to be mischievous, and cause problems, but there are three different kinds. Though the creatures usually operate out of sight, there is a type of Kobold which binds itself to a family of its choosing, and completes tasks for the family under the cover of night. The household Kobold usually wears the clothing of a peasant.

The Kobold would operate silently, but would ensure it’s services were appreciated. They would test their masters gratitude by adding dirt to the family’s milk, and by scattering sawdust around an otherwise clean house. By drinking the dirty milk, it would signal that the family accepts the goblins’ help, and that the family would go on to share a portion of their nightly meals. If not properly fed, the creature would become outraged.

The Kobold would remain faithful to the family until death, or until it’s insulted. If angered, the creature begins to play tricks on the family.

As long as the Kobold is kept in good spirits, they are said to help out with looking after animals, finding lost items and even singing to children to keep them calm and relaxed.

Aside from those that live in a household, there are two other types of Kobold. There are those that live in underground places such as mines, and those that live aboard ships.

The Kobolds who live in mines are almost always malicious, as they try to injure miners by causing mines to collapse and rocks to fall. Those that live on ships are helpful to sailors and are generally peaceful.

Goblin like creatures are still portrayed in stories of fantasy, but for some even today, these creatures are more than fiction.