On this last day of October with the spooky Halloween Holiday today and the first day of November coming tomorrow bringing thoughts of Thanksgiving celebrations  here in the USA.  I’ve decided to tell you about a band of nature folks called the pukwudgies that reportedly mainly dwell in Massachusetts and Indiana.
What’s the connection between Pukwudgies and Thanksgiving, you may ask… well… really the legend of the pukwudgies are only related because of it’s origins…

The Pukwugie legends are from the Native American Tribe the Wampanoag.  Interestingly, the Wampanoag are the tribe that celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. I think that’s a neat bit of Trivia to know.

There’s apparently different mannered types of these beings and the spelling of their names differs depending on what you read: Pukwudgie, Pukwudjie, Pukwudie, Puk-wud-jinies or Pa-i-sa-ki

I’m going to give this book report a bit differently as there needs to be points about the book made of it’s contents compared to the legends.

The first part of this post is the legends and lore from the internet and the second part is the actual book report.

Here’s a link to a really good video about:
Puk-Wud-Jies: The Legend of the Little People


Haunted Places Of Indiana (Mounds State Park)
Indiana by Phyllis Thomas (posted on Google books)


There’s legends of a sinister and dangerous troll like creature called ‘Pukwudgies’ in Massachusetts (& Indiana).


Pukwugies of Indiana

Dark Destinations – Mounds state park

The Modern day sightings of the pukwugies in Indiana are described as small, glowing, grey, about 2 ft tall, big noses-ears-fingers, shapeshifters, killers, lures their victims with spirits.


Pukwudgies of Massachusetts

The Pukwudgies: Myth or Monster website has a legend of the beginnings of the Pukwudgies.

A couple of the more modern day stories tell of different individuals that encountered a Pukwudgie in the woods and is seemingly stalked and observed by it ever since.

There’s also a cliff in the area that has had a unexplained suicides by people who are seemingly happy and sane. The legend suggest that it’s the pukwudgies that lure the people to the cliff and through some type of negative encounter they cause the person to fall to their death.

read full article: Pukwudgies: Myth or Monster


Pukwudgie (wikipedia)


*A Pukwudgie is a two or three foot tall troll-like being from the Native American Wampanoag. Pukwudgies’ features resemble those of the Native Americans, but with enlarged nose, fingers and ears. Their skin is described as being grey, smooth and at times has been known to glow.

In Native American lore, Pukwudgies have the following traits and abilities;
* to appear and disappear at will
* to transform into other animals
* they are able to use magic
* they have poison arrows
* they can create fire at will
* Pukwudgies control Tei-Pai-Wankas which are believed to be the souls of Native Americans they have killed.
Native Americans believed that Puckwudgies were best left alone.

read full wiki info: Pukwudgie


Whenever I’ve seen pukwudiges discussed on forums, there’s always a few people that try to figure out the meaning of the word.  Some try to equate it with the word Puck or Pooka from the Celtic lores…  and some folks seem to try to make a naughty meaning out of it…  But as it turns out, in the Native American language has simple meanings description meanings.

According to to the book Out of the Dark’ by Brad Steiger:
The Miami tribes referred to them as the Pa-i-sa-ki, and the Delaware tribes referred to them as the Puk-wud-jies. Both names translate as the ‘little people of the forest’.
The Algonquin dialect was used extensively throughout the northeastern tribes. They referred to the being as the Puk-wud-jinies which translates as ‘little vanishing people’ because they apparently could disappear right before your eyes.

Mr. Steiger also tells a few stories about various folks who’ve encountered or had a sighting of the pukwudgies.
He tells of the encounters of a man named Paul Startzman with the apparent more peaceful pukwudjie or Pa-i-sa-ki.

A year or so ago when I first was surfing for info, I discovered that Mr. Starzman published a book some years ago called: The Pukwudjies of Indiana. (Mr. Steiger doesn’t mention the book by Mr. Startzman.)  I have searched extensively for Mr. Startzman’s book but unfortunately it’s out-of-print.


The book, “The Good Giants and the Bad Pukwudgies” by Jean Fritz doesn’t echo the online information in many aspects.
Here’s the basics of the differences between the book as compared with the info online:

The book doesn’t mention a shadow being or any type of entity that controls the pukwudgies.
It doesn’t mention possession.
It doesn’t mention that the pukwudgies turned bad out of jealousy.
It doesn’t mention that they take the spirits of people and use them to lure folks away.
It doesn’t mention a precursor of balls of lights, but it does mention they turn into fireflies.

I thought I’d tell you about this, in case you buy the book expecting them to be mentioned. I think they left alot of the legends out, because it’s a children’s book.


Now for My Book Review…


“The Good Giants and the Bad Pukwudgies” by Jean Fritz
An intriguing little book that tells of some really bad things that the pukwudgies did. It’s not very thick or long, but says quite a bit and there’s alot of the legend it doesn’t talk about.

Type Face is good
Comprehension level is average
Lots of illustrations all through the book.

*Even though the book is a children’s book, I personally do not think this book is suitable for ‘young children’ unless there’s parental supervision


What I liked about this book:

1. It preserves  one aspect of the Native Legends that are being lost with time.
2. It’s an interesting illustrated read.


Basically the book is the story of the pukwudgies tormenting the people & giants living in the area.

They killed the giants 5 sons with poison arrows.  The giants never conquered them.

(The Giant may have stood a chance, at beating the pukwudgie,  if hadn’t spent all his time smoking and frolicking with his mistress…)


The book mentions shape shifting: the pukwudgies turn into fireflies & mosquitoes
Also the pukwudgies:
burn down houses
push people off cliffs.
they steal.
they love strawberry bread.
they shoot poison arrows.
they lure boys off trails into swamps with their lights when they turn into fireflies.
The pukwudgies were into all kinds of meanness and ugliness.

I’m glad I own the book because it makes an intriguing
addition to my ever growing collection of nature folks books.
I feel the need to say again:
Even though the book is a children’s book,
I personally feel this book is not suitable for ‘really young children’ unless there’s parental supervision.