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A Pukwudgie, also spelled Puk-Wudjie (another spelling, Puck-wudj-ininee, is translated by Henry Schoolcraft as "little wild man of the woods that vanishes"),[1] is a human-like creature of Wampanoag folklore, found in Delaware, Prince Edward Island, and parts of Indiana and Massachusetts, sometimes said to be two to three feet (0.61 to 0.91 m) tall.

In mythology[edit]

According to legend, Pukwudgies can appear and disappear at will, shapeshift (of which the most common form is a creature that looks like a porcupine from the back and a half-troll, half-human from the front and walks upright), lure people to their deaths, use magic, launch poison arrows, and create fire.[2]

Native Americans believed that Pukwudgies were once friendly to humans, but then turned against them, and are best left alone. According to lore, a person who annoyed a Pukwudgie would be subject to nasty tricks by it, or subject to being followed by the Pukwudgie, who would cause trouble for them. They are known to kidnap people, push them off cliffs, attack their victims with short knives and spears, and to use sand to blind their victims.[3]

Pukwudgies are said to be the enemies of culture heroes, the giant Maushop and his wife, Granny Squannit.[4] One story from Wampanoag folklore explains that they began causing mischief and tormenting the natives out of jealousy of the devotion and affection the natives had for Maushop, who eventually exiled them to different parts of North America. The Pukwudgies have since been hostile to humans, and took revenge by killing Maushop's five sons. Some variations even suggest that they killed Maushop himself.[3]


  1. ^ Hoffman, Charles Fenno (1850). The Poems of Charles Fenno Hoffman. D. Appleton & Co. p. 211.
  2. ^ Theresa Bane (30 August 2013). Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology. McFarland. pp. 284–. ISBN 978-1-4766-1242-3.
  3. ^ a b The Good Giants And The Bad Pukwudgies. Jean Fritz; illustrations by Tomie de Paola. Putnam, 1982
  4. ^ "Pukwudgies, little people of the Algonquian tribes (Pukwudgie, Puckwudgie, Bagwajinini)".