British domestic fairies or brownies of nocturnal habits. In
past centuries they were said to be the most populous species
of elves in England and were said to stay in houses close to
warm fires. Each section of the land had its own name for
Himalayan News Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
themHob-Gob, Robin Round Cap, and Hob-Thrush, for example.
Today they are best known from their appearance in literary
works, the most famous hobgoblin being Puck, of Shakespeares
A Midsummer Nights Dream. Puck has a merry
disposition, and he says he is a jester at the court of Oberon,
king of the fairies.
In Discovery of Witchcraft (1584) Reginald Scot states, Your
grandames maids were wont to set a bowl of milk for him for
his pains in grinding of malt and mustard, and sweeping the
house at midnight. This white bread, and bread and milk, was
his standard fee.
In some folklore traditions hobgoblins were malicious rather
than mischievous, and in medieval times they were associated
with the devil. The hobgoblin was believed by some to be a
demon who led men astray during the night. Sometimes he was
represented as clothed in a suit of leather, and sometimes he
wore green. He was usually considered to be full of tricks and
Arrowsmith, Nancy, with George Moorse. A Field Guide to the
Little People. New York Wallaby, 1977.