I keep a bunch of books on faerie lore tucked in places around the house. One of my favorites to browse through is Nancy Arrowsmith’s Field Guide to the Little People. I must have looked through it four or five dozen times. Last week I was thumbing through it as I often do and I came across a creature that I hadn’t noticed before – the Tuscan night elf known as the Linchetti. I know it by one of its other names, Buffardello. Yes, I just happen to like that name.
These night elves (also called Caccavecchia and Mazapegolo in other regions of Italy) have a nasty habit of climbing through keyholes and perching upon a sleeping person’s chest. At two feet high and invisible, they are hard to detect, but nightmares and/or trouble breathing gives them away. Their antics can kill an elderly person. He doesn’t live in the house, but rather in the barn where he shows favoritism to certain animals while starving others. He likes to braid the hair of horses, but those braids should never be undone. He places all of the good qualities of the animal in the braids.
There are a few ways to get rid of the Linchetti:
1) A person who is plagued by the Linchetti should leave a bowl of seeds on his/her chest while sleeping. When the Linchetti tries to sit on the person chest, he will knock the seeds onto the floor. The Linchetti can’t stand disorder (he suffers from OCD!) He will spend the rest of the night trying to pick up the seeds one by one.
2) You can assign him the task of straightening a curly hair. He hates curly hair.
3) This is my favorite. If you suspect a Linchetto is bothering your rest, get out of bed and turn on the light. While sitting on a chamber pot, eat some bread and cheese. Between bites, recite these words: “To shit with the Linchetto! I eat my bread and cheese and shit on his face.” He will be so disgusted he’ll leave never to be heard of again. No, you really can’t make this stuff up.
The book goes onto tell a story of a young man and his troubles. I won’t bore you with the details, but it involves multiple annulments, a seemingly impotent man, a dauntless young girl and a curly pubic hair. I’m sure you can fill in the details.