The lubber fiend, Lob, lubberkin, lurdane or Lob Lie-By-The-Fire was a legendary creature of English folklore that was similar in attributes to the "brownie" (or "Urisk") of Scotland and northern England, the "hob" of northern England and the Scottish Borders, the Slavic "domovoi" and Scandinavian "tomte". It has been related also to Robin Goodfellow, and Hobgoblins. It is best known for being mentioned by John Milton. It is generally connected with the north of England.
He is typically described as a large, hairy man with a tail, who performs housework in exchange for a saucer of milk and a place in front of the fire. One story claims he is the giant son of a witch and the Devil.
He is a very similar figure to Robin Goodfellow, a.k.a. Puck.
The abbey lubber is a minor devil that haunts the wine cellars or kitchens of abbeys, tempting the monks into drunkenness, gluttony and lasciviousness. The best known abbey lubber tale is that of Friar Rush.
Lubber fiend in literature
That fool, Jan Lubber Fiend, will ever be at his tricks. 'Tis my young mistress that encourages him, more is the pity! For poor serving-men are held responsible for his knavish on-goings. Why, I had just set him cross-legged in the yard with a basket of pease to shell, seeing how he grows as much as a foot in the night—or near by. But so soon as my back is turned he will be forever answering the door and peeping out into the street to gather the mongrel boys about him. 'Tis a most foul Lubber Fiend to keep about an honest house, plaguing decent folks withal!
Lob is the title of a poem by Edward Thomas.
It also appears in Lob Lie-By-The-Fire by Juliana H. Ewing, Troll Fell by Katherine Langrish, Abbeychurch by Charlotte M. Yonge and Dear Brutus by J. M. Barrie (as "Lob, the ancient Puck"). It is also notable that Hellboy fills in some of the credentials of a Lubber Fiend. He was born of a witch and the devil, he has a tail, and he serves men, though not for milk. He can therefore be seen as a modern-day Lubber Fiend.
- Briggs, Katharine, Encyclopedia of Fairies, 1976, p.1
- Chapter X The Lubber Fiend