The Joy of Research: The Fae… Will-o’-the-wisp

Will-o’-the-wisp ~ are atmospheric ghost lights seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes where they’ve hidden their treasure. It resembles a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached, drawing travelers from the safe paths.

(Found a couple, but will be adding to the list at another time)

1. Ellylldan ~ The ellylldan (also called a pwca) is a species of elf exactly corresponding to the English will-o’-wisp. In Welsh folklore, it is said that the light is “fairy fire” held in the hand of an ellylldan, a small goblin-like fairy that mischievously leads lone travellers off the beaten path at night. As the traveler follows the ellylldan through the marsh or bog, the fire is extinguished, leaving them lost. It is commonly believed that the ellylldan starved to death when farmers drained the bogs, but according to the mythos of the Guardian Circle many ellylldan were rescued by Fae nobles and brought to the New World. Ellylldan are often tasked to lore trespassers away from hidden Fae communities or treasures, or even to guide travelers either to safety or into a Fae trap.

2. Hinky Punk ~ Will-o’-wisp in Devon and Somerset. Ghost lights, they appear at night to travelers like a flickering lantern, leading them to stray from their path and into bogs, marshes, or swamps. They have been described by survivors as having one leg and a light.

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