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Little People of the British Isles (The)

42 43 The hearth or the fireplace was once the dwelling place of the household spirits, fire sprites and the ancestors who, in preclassical times, were buried under it. It was the literal illumination into the otherworld. This was the favourite dwelling place of the hobs, lobs, hobgoblins and the household brownie. Keeping the hearth clean was the first rule in attracting the little people back into the home. The would often do many domestic jobs around the household and countless tales tell of the help, gifts and good fortune the little people would give to the daily chores of man if looked after and tales of this practice even continued into the last three decades of the last century. Offerings of fresh water, milk honourIng the heArth placating the patrons of prosperity and bread are left, nightly, by the hearth to placate the patrons of the household and even today with central heating and gas fires its quite amazing to see the results this practice can manifest around unused old hearths and blocked of chimney stacks. Horseshoes can be hung over the mantle as a welcome resting place for them. They can not abide untidiness or disrespect and will undo hard work during the night or sometimes pinch lazy humans repeatedly or make the food and furniture dance around the kitchen or house. Undomesticated hobthrushes are the hobgoblins wilder cousins and prefer the wilder places of nature. More mischievous than hobs, they can cause mayhem to those they know deserve it. Offerings left on the doorstep for them as well as for other species can sometimes ensue their blessing upon the family and house.
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