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In the north eastern part of the United States there’s a legend of some tribes of nature folks called the pukwudgies.  The  legends are from the Native American Tribe the Wampanoag and of the Delaware Indians.  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


Puk-Wudjies are mentioned in “The Song Of Hiawatha” – “The Death of Kwasind” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
He refers to them as mischievous pukwudjies, fairies, pygmies, little people.


Haunted Places Of Indiana (Mounds State Park) reports blue-gowned dwarves. According to Delaware Indian legend, they are the Puk-wud-ies, a tribe of little people that still inhabit the forest.

Indiana by Phyllis Thomas (posted on Google books) her description is much like the above a peaceful tribe of blue-gowned dwarves that still inhabit the forest.


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.

(Updated link 4-23-2014) 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


Some people that try to figure out the meaning of the word puk-wud-gie.  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 Paul Startzman who had more peaceful encounters with the pukwudjie or Pa-i-sa-ki.



The Puk-wud-jies of Indiana by Paul Startzman

Out of Print

comprehension level Good
Type set is easy on the eyes

Photos: pottery, woodland structures, caves, Rose’s Midgets

Mr. Startzman sets out to tell the story of the puk-wud-jie but admits that it’s difficult to do because there’s little substantial evidence and reliant mostly on word of mouth.

Mr. Startzman met his first puk-wud-jie when he was ten years old. He describes the little man as half his size at the time wearing a long blue smock that came down almost to his feet.  He had a round slightly sunburned face and blonde hair.

This book has stories of encounters, suspected encounters, Native American tales and many other tales and info.  Mr. Startzman also discusses pygmies abroad and in the Americas.  He tells of two children in Arizona who were rescued by a tribe of pygmies after and Indian raid.

This is a wonderfully intriguing book. I recommend it for anyone interested in fairies or nature folks of the Americas.


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

*In my opinion it’s quite sinister for a children’s book and the morals of the good giant are less than attractive.

I like that this book preserves  one aspect of the Native Legends that are being lost with time.
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 giant’s 5 sons with poison arrows.  The giants never conquered them.

The book mentions shape shifting: the  puk-wud-gie turn into fireflies and mosquitoes (and drink the blood of folks.)
It  tells of them burning down houses and pushing 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.

The good giant smokes constantly and has a fling with another woman.