A wandering sprite who attaches itself to households and both helps and plagues the residents. Goblins are comparable to low-level DEMONs, not inherently evil but mischievous, the equivalent of brownies in England and Scotland, kobalds in Germany, domoviks in Russia. The Greeks called such spirits kobaloi, or “rogues” or “tricksters.” Goblin is a French term. A hobgoblin is a nasty type of goblin, intent on doing harm. Goblins live in grottoes, but they are attracted to homes that have beautiful children and plentiful wine. When they move in, they help by doing household chores at night and disciplining children—by giving them presents when they are good and punishing them when they are naughty. Goblins have an unpredictable, mischievous nature, and instead of doing chores at night, they will sometimes keep everyone awake by banging pots and pans, moving furniture, knocking on walls and doors, and snatching bedclothes off sleeping persons. Goblins who become tiresome can be persuaded to leave by scattering flaxseed on the floor. The sprites get tired of cleaning it up every night.
   Goblins have become associated with Halloween and are said to roam the night when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest.
   See bogey.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

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