Kobold

Kobolds are ugly spirits of German folklore. The name comes from the German word kobalt or kobold meaning "evil spirit", and is often translated in English as goblin.

The most common version, Heinzelmnnchen, is similar to Robin Goodfellow and brownies: as household elves of ambivalent nature, they sometimes perform domestic chores, but play malicious tricks if not appeased (Hinzelmann is a particular example).

Another type of kobold, more similar to the gnome, haunts mines and other underground places. The name of the element cobalt comes from kobold, after the poisonous and troublesome nature of the typical arsenical ores of this metal (cobaltite and smaltite) which polluted other mined elements (compare nickel).

Kobolds in fantasy fiction

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and the games and settings that it inspired, kobolds are aggressive, xenophobic, and cowardly small humanoid creatures. Such kobolds have an ugly presence reminiscent of bipedal lizards or small dinosaurs, and are noted for their skill at building traps and preparing ambushes. Kobold communication sounds like the yapping of a small dog.

In the Suikoden series, Kobolds are a race of anthromorphic dogs, a great departure from the original meaning.

Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods returns to the traditional legend, depicting Hinzelmann as a benevolent, yet "closet-vengeful-homicidal" spirit that guards an apparently perfect small Wisconsin town at a price.

See also

de:Kobold fr:Kobold ja:コボルト nl:Kobold

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