Sunday, March 11, 2012

Of Spriggans and Men*

Photo removed by author

Statue of a Spriggan in Crouch End, London by Marilyn Collins

This statue was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s short story, Crouch End.  I haven’t read the story so I have no way of confirming if this is true, but it says so on Wikipedia.  So it must be true.  Right?

This month’s Friday Faerie posts were supposed to be about creatures associated with luck and treasure.  It’s my homage to St. Patrick’s Day’s without being all St. Patrick’s Day/Irish Pride/Leprechaun about it.  I know I am really late getting this month going but between computer problems (it died), work stress (it sucks) and general laziness (I suck), I have found myself woefully behind.  I have, however, secured a special guest for the last blog post of the month.  I think you guys will love her.

So without further ado, I present the Spriggan.  Applause would be nice, but not required.

Spriggans are dwarf like creatures from Cornish Faerie Lore.  (Is everything small in Cornwall—Piskies, game hens and now Spriggans?)  They have a squat build with rough, bumpy skin and abnormally large heads.  Considering their skin problems and unpleasant (some would say evil) dispositions, it isn’t hard to believe they are beyond repugnant.  They wear filthy, roughhewn clothes and usually sport some sort of weapon.  Their favorite implements of destruction are slings, knives and spears. I presume they stink as well though I have no confirmation of this fact. 

They are sometimes referred to as Ghost-giants as they are believed to be ghosts of the Old Giants.  Very clever name!  In fact, if provoked, Spriggans can shift to a staggering height to intimidate their opponents.

They haunt old forts and deserted country dwellings where they guard treasures and act as Faerie bodyguards.  They are known to bring storms and blights to crops and they derive a great amount of amusement by switching out human babies with their own changeling babies.  I can image that is not fun for the human parents involved. They are also thieving bastards.  On a more positive note, they play beautiful music.

I have a band of Spriggans in my current WIP.  Here’s a section of the book where the Brothers Spriggan drag our heroine out of a bar and deposit her on in the street. 

Alicia lay on the street and stared up at her kidnappers.   Four of the ugliest faces she had ever seen stared back at her.

She had lost her knit cap when they pulled her from the pub.  Strands of her hair stuck to the ice and tampered down snow.  Cold and wetness seeped around her head sending radiating pains to the base of her skull.  Her elbows and tailbone throbbed from being dragged across the floor and then down the steps.  She couldn’t sit up. She couldn’t even move her arms.   All she could do was gape at them.

“Where’s the Dark Man?” one of them asked.  His voice was low and deep.  He, like the rest of them, stood about four feet tall.  Patches of black hair sprouted over his enormous gray head though he appeared to have tried to comb them down unlike his brothers who let their tufts stick straight out.  A large gold hoop about the size of a silver dollar hung in this left ear.  His dress was newer than the others, but that by no means made him attractive.  He must be Boult, the leader of the spriggans.  The notorious Breaker.

She looked over his shoulder at the street light avoiding his yellow eyes.   “I have no idea what you are talking about.” 

He leaned in closer, his face only inches from hers.  His breath stunk of rotten teeth and fish.  “The Dark Man, Dr. Cox.  I want to know where the Dark Man is.”

She turned her head away from him sucking in frantically for fresh air.  He grabbed her face with his coarse hands bringing it closer to his. 

She breathed through her mouth.  “I don’t know the Dark Man,” His nails dug into the flesh of her cheeks.  It would no doubt leave a mark. 

“Jago,” he said, standing back, “Show Dr. Cox what we do to liars.”

A smile broke out on the face of the spriggan to her left.  He reached into his thread bare coat and produced a short knife.  “My pleasure, Boult.  I’ve wanted to cut something all night.  Which finger is your least favorite, Dr. Cox?” 

Boult is turning out to be one of my favorite characters. He’s really charming once you are able to see beyond his homicidal tendencies and bad breath.

And the Dark Man is as interesting as he sounds. Stay tuned!

*The title of this week’s blog post alludes to a new band that I found from Iceland called Of Monsters and Men.  I love their song “Little Talks.”  Check them out if you get a chance.  The video is on YouTube and it’s awesome!


  1. I am so glad I rediscovered your blog Lady Buffy :). I love your theme, it's my dearest topic in the world. Dare I ask you please write a large post on elves...I'd really appreciate it.

  2. Elves are an awfully big subject, but I will put it on my list! Maybe I'll do a series of posts.

  3. Great post. I hadn't heard of spriggans until I became addicted to Skyrim. In the game they are like dryads/tree spirits who guard and protect natural wonders, like an ancient underground Eden. I picture them as part tree, maybe its the name spriggan. It sounds like a mash up of the words "sprite", "twig", and "man".

    1. Thanks for the comment! They aren't as nice a they are portrayed in Skyrim or as pretty!