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The Púca

From Audio: Samhain Special: Irish Mythology and Customs and the Origins of Halloween

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station description Marcas and Stephie adapt and retell famous, and not so famous stories from Irish My... read more
Irish Mythology Podcast
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Duration: 07:40
Learn about a famous creature from Irish Folklore who will bring you on a terrifying ride on its back or bestow great riches.
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Learn about a famous creature from Irish Folklore who will bring you on a terrifying ride on its back or bestow great riches.
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2000 issue of History Ireland which will link in the show notes that this story was actually a big influence on Bram stoker's dracula. One of the most famous irish creatures associated with this time of year is called the puka. And I suppose the closest modern popular monster to the puka would be aware wolf, but it's, it's not a wolf and it's not going to eat it. Its specialty is more causing mild annoyance. Puka puka, sorry, the puka often appears as a man I knew it. Show your who've go on or something closely resembling a man engages you in conversation, which is usually annoying and then transforms into a creature sometimes a horse or goat or sometimes with the body of a horse in the head of a goat or some other diabolical combination, like the head of a hair in the bottom of the chicken. I don't know, it could be anything like that. Yeah. You know, actually when I was really young, I was like very, very smaller obsessed with polka because I had this book that I got I won an art competition in school and I got a book factor with it and I got two books and one was I can't remember the name of. It was a big yellow book though and it had like the history of like fashion through the ages, you know? And with the other book was a book called Lepre Cons Legends and irish Tales which is still in my mother's house but she denies it's there. Uh But I really fantastic and very very beautiful illustrations and I'm not sure that it was aimed at Children at all, but I was absolutely obsessed with this book and you have to try and liberate it, I'll definitely like 100% uh into the Alex someday she's work. Um But yeah it has it has some really, really incredible illustrations and that was the first time I heard that the puka and yeah, I was fascinated and terrified. But I suppose if you're kind of reeling from hearing that the puka, you know, might present itself as something that's like a combination of a horse and a goat, or you might also be terrified to learn that the puka will actually scoop you up on his back and take you on a terrifying ride all over the countryside and sometimes to the other world and back. And apparently the only way to get the puka to throw you off his back is if you are wearing spurs that you can dig into his sides. So maybe consider wearing a pair of those if you're heading out for a walk on Halloween night and as ever, when it comes to anything to do with irish folklore, there's a Gansey of great stories involving the polka on ducasse tie and I'm just going to read this one here. It's from Bracknell Helga in county West Meth long ago. There lived in La CNA Valley, a trickster named Patty Ward. He was a great sportsman and attended gatherings of every kind one Halloween. He was coming home from a wedding with two or three other men when passing killing graveyard, his comrades stared him to go into the graveyard. It was two o'clock Patty said he would walk two rounds of it. The conversation previously had been on ghosts. Party went in, but on getting halfway around he was knocked down by the puka. The puka, in spite of paddy struggles and shouts of terror took him on his back and soared into the air with him. His companions lost no time in running home Patty and the puck is back was taken for a ride over the Hill of Vision back. The hill of Skay, the hill of nat gas to and in Patti's opinion, over every hill in Ireland in very quick time he was landed at his own doorstep much earlier than his comrades arrival there, they found him blubbering like a child. He was very exhausted and didn't leave his bed for three weeks and never after that. The paddy venture out after 10 o'clock. Poor poppy sounds terrifying, but you know, an encounter with the puka isn't always a negative experience. And this story comes from partying in County Clare. There was a great Hurler coming home late one night as he was passing by a churchyard gate, he saw a puka up on the bush and he said to him, you are the very man I'm looking for up with you on my back. He kept going with him till they arrived at a fort in Tipperary. He knocked on a large stone and the door opened and let them in hurlers for monster and conduct were inside preparing for a match. They asked the man to referee the match and when it was over the puka gave him a bag of gold and he took him back again to his own house on his back night. Yeah, so not a bad skin after all. I'm hoping to go out for a week dander and Halloween night and bump into one of these money to cuca's. Um maybe maybe if you if you're able to talk about the girl and you know, he Yeah, not much Harlem at the moment anyway. Uh huh. But yet, and you know, interestingly there's also a version of the puka in Scottish folklore and but it's called the Bogle. And here we have a short recording from Christina carter who's based in Glasgow to tell you all about it. So there's an area called Bogle stone in Port Glasgow and way back when there was a story that the men from Kill McCombe would walk all the way up from Kalma comb through to Port Glasgow and green up to get back to get baby in because and kill mccomb you can drink. It is a dry town. Um and on the way they would pass the area that's now known as Bogle stone because there was a Bogle stone where or the Bogle stain even. Um and the bubble would set on top of the stone and he would basically just scare the bejesus out of everyone. And the old wives would say that the Bogle couldn't possibly have been a demon or an evil spirit because he was stopping all the men from getting steven drunk. So, uh, he was sort of seen the Bogle was sort of seen as more of a, like an impish kind of cheeky wee guy that was there to basically just ruin people's days and be a bit naughty. So yeah, it's a good story. It's not really interesting. Yeah, so thanks so much to Christy for, for telling us that story. And also I just want to flag Christie's instagram account because she does really incredibly beautiful illustrations, uh, that I think everyone should go and have a look at, we'll put the tower, will put the details of her insta account in the show notes. But if you want to take a look straight away, uh, you can find on instagram and then her user name is Christina. So it's like the Scottish Gaelic spelling, so it's C H O or S T AI D h N A dot Jpeg, so I won't repeat it. You can rewind me if you didn't get that. But yeah, I would definitely suggest having a look at her work because it's very, very cool. She's super talented. Thanks again. Yeah, sure. Looks really good. Yeah.
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