Depiction of a Hobgoblin.not quite accurate in his appearance, but the setting and situation are quite accurate. (for one thing, Hobgoblins do not have tails or feet like a dog).
A hobgoblin is a mischievous, yet generally benign nature spirit, a sort of miniaturized version of an elf, goblin, or fairy, depending on the folklore involved. Myths and legends about hobgoblins vary widely, with many folklore traditions having their own distinct versions, which can sometimes be a bit confusing. For example, in some legends, hobgoblins are viewed as harmful, while in other traditions, they are supposed to be friendly guides.
The term “hobgoblin” comes from the English “Hob,” a nature spirit similar to Robin Goodfellow or Puck. The addition of “goblin” is meant to suggest that this version of the nature spirit is outstandingly ugly, as goblins are usually associated with twisted, ugly facial features. In English folklore, hobgoblins are, like Hob himself, generally harmless, but they can make a nuisance of themselves, since they enjoy practical jokes and pranks.
In German legends, the hobgoblin is a more malevolent sprite, who may harass people, lead them down the wrong path, or try to terrorize them. However, German hobgoblins retain the generally diminutive stature of their English counterparts, which is supposed to make them easier to defeat. This is not always the case, though, with some fairy tales describing hobgoblins which literally harry people to death, despite the small size of these legendary creatures.
Hobgoblin is a term typically applied in folktales to describe a friendly but troublesome creature of the Seelie Court. The most commonly known hobgoblin is the character Puck in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Hobgoblins seem to be small, hairy little men who—like their close relative, brownies—are often found within human dwellings, doing odd jobs around the house while the family is lost in sleep. Such chores are typically small deeds, like dusting and ironing. Oftentimes, the only compensation necessary in return for these was food. Attempts to give them clothing would often banish them forever, though whether they take offense to such gifts or are simply too proud to work in new clothes differs from teller to teller. (Erika: "We'll never tell..")
While brownies are more peaceful creatures, hobgoblins are more fond of practical jokes. They also seem to be able to shape-shift, as seen in one of Puck's monologues in A Midsummer Night's Dream. (Some shape-shift, but most do not). Robin Goodfellow is perhaps the most mischievous and most infamous of all his kind, but many are less antagonizing. However, like all of the fae folk, hobgoblins are easily annoyed. When teased or misused excessively, brownies and hobgoblins become boggarts—creatures whose sole existence is to play tricks and cause trouble for people. They can be mischievous, frightening, and even dangerous, and they are very difficult to get rid of. (Boggarts also tend to punish those who offend them and are often looking for justice.)
NOTE: While in many stories, Brownies, Goblins, Hobgoblins, etc. are described as "small" or even "tiny", In most of the earliest stories and legends these beings (like many Fairies) were actually described as not being that much smaller than humans. it seems as time went on the tales of their "evil" grew LARGER while the tales of their perceived size grew SMALLER.
Hobgoblins- Goblins but of slightly better tempers (as a soft & slow rule). Brownie are a type of Hobgoblin. So are yobs in Manchester.
Illustrations from Ari Berk's book "The SECRET HISTORY of HOBGOBLINS"
fun fact: it's a little known fact that even J.R.R. Tolkien's "Hobbits" are actually goblins as well. Tolkien based the Hobbits on the HOBGOBLIN. which is rather odd... considering that Tolkien, had once said that: "Hobgoblins are a larger and more vicious species of goblin" (nothing could be further from the truth). However Tolkien (allegedly) caught his mistake and recanted. The question is: if Tolkien based the Hobbit characters on Hobgoblins, wouldn't he have done research on them, and known that to not be the case? Well, as Grim says: "Tolkien played fast and loose with Fairy Lore".
a bit too fast and loose, it would rather seem.
English Hobgoblins are house sprites also known as Brownies, in Scotland; Bodachin the Highlands; Fenodereeon the Isle of Man and Bwcas [Boo-kas], Bwciods, or Bwbacks, in Wales.
A “hob” is a shelf on the side or back of a fireplace where food or utensils are stored or kept warm. This is a favorite spot of the Hobgoblins. They distrust large congregations of humans and any machines or electrical gadgets. They wear brown, ragged clothes or nothing at all. They are usually very helpful beings around the house, with chores, unless insulted in some way…then, watch out! They have a vicious temper. *they, like their Scottish counterparts, the Brownie can become churlish, troublesome Boggarts!
Habitat: traditionally England, Scotland and Wales.
Hobgoblin is a term typically applied in folktales to describe a friendly but troublesome creature of the Seelie court.
The most commonly known Hobgoblin is the character Puck in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Puck, however, is only another name given to a much older character named Robin Goodfellow. However, the origins of his name can be controversial.
Hobgoblins seem to be small, hairy men who—like their close relative, Brownies—are often found within human dwellings, doing odd jobs around the house while the family is lost in sleep. Such chores are typically small deeds, like dusting and ironing. Oftentimes, the only compensation necessary in return for these was food. Attempts to give them clothing would often banish them forever, though whether they take offense to such gifts or are simply too proud to work in new threads differs from teller to teller.
While Brownies are more peaceful creatures, Hobgoblins are more fond of practical jokes. Robin Goodfellow is perhaps the most mischievous and most infamous of all his kind, but many are less antagonizing. However, like all of the fey folk, hobgoblins are easily annoyed. When teased or misused excessively, Brownies/Hobgoblins become Boggarts—creatures whose sole existence is to play tricks and cause trouble for people. They can be mischievous, frightening, and even dangerous, and they are very difficult to get rid of.
The term "hobgoblin" has grown to mean a superficial object that is a source of (often imagined) fear or trouble. Probably the most well-known example of this usage is Ralph Waldo Emerson's line, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," from the essay Self-Reliance.
(FROM the "Nightbringer" website. http://nightbringer.se/lair_hobgoblin.html )
NOTE: Again the only realinconstancy with this information is that Brownies and Hobgoblins are described, here, as two different creatures.
The only difference between the Brownie of Scotland and the Hobgoblin of England is geographical location. They are the same creature.
Hobgoblin - Used by the Puritans and in later times for wicked goblin spirits, but its more correct use is for the friendly sprites of the Brownie type. Hobgoblin was considered an ill omened word. "Hob" and "Lob" are words meaning the same kind of creature as the Hobgoblin. They are on the whole good-humored and ready to be helpful, but fond of practical joking.
Most Hobgoblins tend to prefer human households as their dwellings and homes. But there are those that live out in the forests. This applies to them, as follows:
Forest Hobgoblin - A creature who inhabits the forests areas and lives in trees, the Hobgoblin is a solitary fae which enjoys keeping to himself (or herself). This neutral fairy is generally a peaceful fellow and is not aggressive unless provoked. His temper can flare easily so it is wise to try and stay on his good side. They can get especially nasty if their tree is threatened.
(Even forest dwelling Hobs can become Boggarts, so be careful...!Ꮹᴑﻃɭïɳ Ꮹɾïᶆ (site admin) )