Mythical Monday: The House-Friendly Kobold by Mae Clair


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Image in Public Domain

Kobolds are a sprite rooted in German mythology. According to legend, there are three distinctive types—those that take to the seas to aid sailors, those that burrow in underground mines, and finally, house spirits who delight in performing common chores.

Who needs a maid when you may have a kobold residing on your property? Most often invisible, they will sometimes appear as little men with wrinkled faces, garbed in peasant clothes. If desired, the kobold may take the form of fire, an animal, or even an object. A faithful servant who desires only shelter and food, their preferred lodging is the hearth area of the house. Some legends insist every home has a resident kobold, whether the occupants know it or not.

Kobolds chase away pests, groom horses, chop wood, scrub pots and pans, and sweep the floors. Most often these tasks and others will be performed at night after the household has retired for bed.

It doesn’t take much to sustain a kobold, but they must be fed regularly and prefer their meal at the same time each day. Table scraps are more than enough to keep a kobold happy, but a missed meal will turn this normally pleasant house servant into an angry imp. The family who shelters him will suddenly find themselves tripping over rugs, dropping dishes and burning their fingers in retaliation. Once given his proper meal, peace will resume.

Some kobolds react maliciously to those who slight them, going so far as to inflict disease, disfigurement and even death. For the most part, kobolds are content to remain in the background, performing their duties as long as they are treated well. They have even been known to bring wealth to their host family in the form of gold or harvest grains.

It’s a simple trade-off for such a faithful and industrious servant, don’t you think?