December 24, 2012
Naughty or nice
"Packwood" derives from the Saxon "Pacca's Wood", i.e. what the Cymri called "Pwca's Wood". Shakespeare called him Puck.
The Old English "puca" is a kind of half-tamed woodland sprite, leading folk astray with echoes and lights in nighttime woodlands (like the German and Dutch "Weisse Frauen" and "Witte Wieven" and the French "Dames Blanches," all "White Ladies"), or coming into the farmstead and souring milk in the churn.
In Finland, he is called Pukki; as Joulupukki, he is the Yule Goat (and enjoys goat for dinner).
There is a clear family resemblance to Krampus, a fae relation from the Alps responsible for dealing with the naughty part of the naughty or nice equation.
Judging by these festive illustrations, we have Pukki in Canada too; perhaps drawn to the Taiga and comfortable making their home in boreal forest. But here we call them Wendigo. August Derleth called the same creature Ithaqua.
Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 24, 2012 07:48 AM