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A lutin (pronounced in French /lytɛ̃/) is the French name for a type of hobgoblin (an amusing goblin), in French folklore and fairy tales. Female lutins are called lutines.

A lutin, sometimes called a Nain Rouge ("red dwarf"[1]), is like a hobgoblin in the mythology of Normandy, similar to house-spirits of England, Germany and Scandinavia. It sometimes takes the form of a horse, and in this shape is called Le Cheval Bayard.[1 ]

Lutin is generally translated into English as: brownie, elf, fairy, gnome, goblin, hobgoblin, imp, leprechaun, pixie, puck, or sprite.[1 ]

In a French fairy tale, Le Prince Lutin, written in 1697 has a description of the air, water and terrestrial lutin: "You are invisible when you like it; you cross in one moment the vast space of the universe; you rise without having wings; you go through the ground without dying; you penetrate the abysses of the sea without drowning; you enter everywhere, though the windows and the doors are closed; and, when you decide to, you can let yourself be seen in your natural form."[2]

In this story a red hat with two feathers makes the Lutin invisible.

Lutins also assist Père Noël in Lapland.

Lutins in Quebec

Belief in lutins also spread to North America, particularly the Canadian province of Quebec, as spirits in the form of either pets (such as dogs or rabbits) or other common animals. Cats which are completely white are especially considered likely to be lutins, although seemingly any distinctive animal which dwells on or near the home may be regarded as such. These lutins may be good or evil, with good lutins being attributed powers ranging from control of the weather, to shaving the beard of the master of the house before he woke on Sundays. Evil or offended lutins may harass the house-owner with any number of minor troubles, such as blunting a scythe or filling shoes with pebbles. Salt is considered abhorrent to them, and they are thought to go out of their way to avoid crossing it when spilled on the ground.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b websters-online-dictionary
  2. ^ Le Prince Lutin, written by Marie Catherine d'Aulnoy and published in her book Fairy Tales (Les Contes des Fees) in 1697.
  3. ^ "Folk-Lore Scrap-Book: Lutins in the Province of Quebec" (PDF). The Journal of American Folklore 5 (19): 327–328. 1892. Retrieved 2007-07-09.  


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