Friday Fascination

The Persnickety Puca

Imagine waking up in the morning and finding your house clean, your laundry folded, and your yard work done.  No, your husband isn’t channeling Mr. Clean and your children haven’t been sniffing Pine-Sol.  My guess would be you’ve been sweet to a púca (sometimes called a pooka or pwca if your Welsh, púki for the Norseman, or Pokorny if you’re…hmmm…not sure on that one).

The púca sometimes shows up in the form of a black animal.  Sure, its most familiar guise is a sleek black horse with sulfurous eyes, but it can be anything.  A stag, eagle, or goat.  A stray cat with mangy black fur, rubbing at your ankles while you’re headed down the stairs—and pretending it hadn’t just tried to murder you.  But resist the urge to call it nasty names and spray it with Lysol.  Might as well get some labor out of it.  Plus, if the púca likes you, it will give you the gift of understanding what that me-rowr really means.  And wouldn’t that be cool?

Really.  Be nice to anything you might even think could be a púca. Like any spirit or fairy, púcas have a dark side.  I, for one, would rather encounter a horse that would wash mydishes than a black,

photo courtesy of Idea go
photo courtesy of Idea go

hairy bogeyman that would mess up my flowers and fill my wine-laced snoozing with nightmares.  And if I’m traipsing about after dark, I’d prefer not to be snatched up for a terrifying ride and tossed into some boggy ditch. I’m not Brian Boru and I don’t have a special bridle with three hairs from a púca’s tail.  I’m only a little bit Irish, and from what I’ve heard, the púca doesn’t really keep its promise to King Boru anymore.  Even Irishmen can be púca victims nowadays, sober or not.

Come on, it pays to be nice sometimes.  And I think púcas show up in human form on special occasions.  I’ve come home from work and found my house clean, courtesy of a kind friend, paying husband, or daughter who wants something.  Had any púcas in your life (spirit or otherwise)?  A black cat ever cross your path and something good inexplicably happens?  Ever have a midnight ride on a wild steed (yes, I’m talking about a horse—get your mind out of the gutter)?  Spill your story and share.



  1. The only sleek black animal in my house stays far, far away from doing anything remotely nice for me. His name is Ming and he’s the cat. He’d determined to trip me one of these days while I’m headed down the stairs in the morning darkness.

  2. coleenjb says:

    Uh-oh. Sounds like a grumpy puca to me! Let me know if Ming morphs into a horse and dumps you off in a soggy ditch… 🙂

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