Pooka (or púca, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca, púka, or some other variant), while mostly a creation of Celtic folklore, is a ubiquitous goblin around the world. These little dudes are bringers both of good and bad fortune.
Pooka have dark or white fur that is more like hair. They are not very large. One can take on a variety of different looks, therefore, each may look different that others.
Pooka have similar equivalents throughout Europe. For instance, in Welsh mythology it is named the pwca and in Cornish the Bucca. In the Channel Islands, the pouque were said to be fairies who lived near ancient stones; in Channel Island French the pouquelée, pouquelay, poulpiquet, or polpegan may be them.
The pooka can be either menacing or beneficial. There are plenty of stories where they are wicked assholes, and others where pooka save the day and are heroic. Some stories have them as blood-thirsty, vampire-like creatures who are man-eating beings that hunt down, kill, and eat their victims.
According to legend, a pooka can assume a variety of terrifying or pleasing forms. This can be confusing, but they may be human, animal, or some hybrid creature. As an animal, they’re usually a horse, cat, rabbit, raven, fox, wolf, goat, goblin, or dog. So, we have lots of bases to cover since almost anything can be a pooka.
In most cases, if we humans are enticed onto a pooka’s back, it will be a wild ride. However, unlike a kelpie, which will take its rider and dive into the nearest stream or lake to drown them, the pooka does the rider no permanent harm. I know, “but you just said.” For a second there, I was pooka-possessed and wrote conflicting the things. It’s fantasy, but I suggest passing on the pooka ride.
Although pooka enjoy confusing or terrifying humans, they are generally benevolent.
If you carefully look both ways, you may see a pooka.
Keep away, be nice, and mind the gaps.