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"), is a creature found in Delaware and Wampanoag folklore, sometimes said to be 4-to-5-foot-tall (120 to 150 cm).
According to legend, Pukwudgies can appear and disappear at will, lure people to their deaths, use magic, launch poison arrows, and create fire.
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.
They are mentioned in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha. After reading Schoolcraft's stories of Ojibwe folklore he featured them in the chapter "The Death of Kwasind" which begins with:
Far and wide among the nations
Spread the name and fame of Kwasind;
No man dared to strive with Kwasind,
No man could compete with Kwasind.
But the mischievous Puk-Wudjies,
They the envious Little People,
They the fairies and the pygmies,
Plotted and conspired against him.
Pukwudgies have been identified by J. K. Rowling as magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe. In a description of the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Rowling describes the creatures as follows:
–– The Pukwudgie is also native to America: a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature distantly related to the European goblin. Fiercely independent, tricky and not over-fond of humankind (whether magical or mundane), it possesses its own powerful magic. Pukwudgies hunt with deadly, poisonous arrows and enjoy playing tricks on humans.
Pukwudgie is a symbol and a name of one of the houses in the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that is said to represent the heart of a wizard, and favor the healers.
- Hoffman, Charles Fenno (1850). The Poems of Charles Fenno Hoffman. D. Appleton & Co. p. 211.
- Theresa Bane (30 August 2013). Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology. McFarland. pp. 284–. ISBN 978-1-4766-1242-3.
- The Good Giants And The Bad Pukwudgies. Jean Fritz; illustrations by Tomie de Paola. Putnam, 1982
- Leslie A. Przybylek (2016). "Pukwudgie". In Fee, Christopher R.; Webb, Jeffrey. American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore. ABC-CLIO. p. 797. ISBN 978-1610695671. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- J. K. Rowling. "Wizarding Schools - Pottermore". Pottermore. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
- Young Lee, Paula (2016-07-01). "Pottermore problems: Scholars and writers call foul on J.K. Rowling's North American magic". Salon. Retrieved 2018-10-08.