I love mythology. I love learning all sorts of new creatures. When I read Vanessa Unveiled by Jodi Redford, I came across the Pooka. *Curious about the book? Here’s the description:
Resisting two magical mischief makers definitely wasn’t in the job description.
Vanessa Darby, a bounty hunter and tracker for the Veil Alliance League, figures things can’t get any crappier than her car breaking down on a deserted highway. Until the two dimension-hopping renegades she’s been assigned to capture lure her to their magical love nest in the woods and entangle her in a web of seduction.
How the hell is she supposed to resist a pair of gorgeous male pookas who possess a wicked talent for bringing the sexy?
Rand and Braeden have searched more than three centuries for their one true bond mate. Now that Vanessa’s been dropped into their arms, they have no intention of giving her up. Even if it means agreeing to her terms: If they can’t persuade her within forty-eight hours that the three of them belong together, they’ll give themselves over to the authorities. But convincing a woman who doesn’t believe in love, or the concept of forever, is no easy feat. Particularly with one doozy of a dirty secret from their past waiting to trip them up.*
So, what’s a pooka? Well, Jodi Redford takes some artistic license, but here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the matter:
The pooka may be regarded as being either menacing or beneficent. Fairy mythologist Thomas Keightley said “notions respecting it are very vague,” and in a brief description gives an account collected by Croker from a boy living near Killarney that “old people used to say that the Pookas were very numerous…long ago…, were wicked-minded, black-looking, bad things…that would come in the form of wild colts, with chains hanging about them.” and that did much to harm unwary travelers. Also, children were warned not to eat overripe blackberries, because this was a sign that the pooka has befouled them.
In contrast, the phouka is represented as being helpful to farmers by Lady Wilde, who relates the following tale. A farmer’s son named Phadraig one day noticed the invisible presence of the phouka brushing by, and called out to him, offering a coat. The phouka appeared in the guise of a young bull, and told him to come to the old mill at night. From that time onward, the phoukas came secretly at night and performed all the work of milling the sacks of corn into flour. Phadraig fell asleep the first time, but later concealed himself in a chest to catch sight of them, and later made a present of a fine silk suit. This unexpectedly caused the phoukas to go off to “see a little of the world” and cease their work. But by then the farmer’s wealth allowed him to retire and give his son an education. Later, at Phadraic’s wedding, the phouka left a gift of a golden cup filled with drink that evidently ensured their happiness.
There’s an old legend around here, that if you take the fruit that’s overripe, you’re taking the fairy’s share. I was surprised to learn that in Ireland, it’s the pooka’s share. And pookas have their own day, November 1st. The only day they’re required to be civil.
Any creature you might want to share?