3

In the high fantasy novel The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison one of the many kingdoms are the Foliot Islands. The leader of these people is the Red Foliot.

What kind of creature is a foliot? From what I have been able to research, they are some sort of genii or protector spirit, but I haven't been able to learn much about these creatures.

I know that countries have quite "childish" names in The Worm Ouroboros, since Eddison composed this work with some characters and names he created when he was 9 years old, and in spite of the countries being named "Demonland", "Goblinland" or "Witchland" its inhabitants are not really demons, traditional goblins, etc. So, more that what they are in Edisson's work I what to know what is the creature that inspired this race or kingdom in The Worm Ouroboros.

  • Foliots are a type of rather weak demon in Stroud's Bartimaeus Sequence, though I've not seen the word used elsewhere – Mac Cooper Nov 28 '14 at 8:26
5

In "The Anatomy of Melancholy" by Robert Burton (written in 1621), foliots are described as being a sort of poltergeist.

Another sort of these there are, which frequent forlorn houses, which the Italians call foliots, most part innoxious, Cardan holds: 'They will make strange noises in the night, howl sometimes pitifully, and then laugh again, cause great flame and sudden lights, fling stones, rattle chains, shave men, open doors and shut them, fling down platters, stools, chests, sometimes appear in the likeness of hares, crows, black dogs, etc.,' of which read Pet. Thyraeus the Jesuit, in his tract de locis infestis, part. 1, cap. 1 et cap. 4, who will have them to be devils or the souls of damned men that seek revenge, or else souls out of purgatory that seek ease; for such examples peruse Sigismundus Scheretzius, lib. de spectris, part. 1, cap. 1, which he saith he took out of Luther most part; there be many instances. Plinius Secundus remembers such a house at Athens, which Athenodorus the philosopher hired, which no man durst inhabit for fear of devils. Austin, de Civ. Dei, lib. 22, cap. 8, relates as much of Hesperius the tribune's house at Zubeda, near their city of Hippo, vexed with evil spirits, to his great hindrance [and to the great distress of his animals and slaves].

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.