“Foul little men that like to steal children, sometimes leaving a basket of leaves in its place. Quite fond of shiny things, though. Where I’m from, superstitious wives will leave a coin or silver spoon in the crib so that should a boggan arrive it will take that rather than the babe.”
Boggans are my own creation, inspired partly by boggarts and hobgoblins of the faery realm (with a little bit of Annis if you noted the part about stealing children). They are generally harmless creatures that are prone to mischief where tall-folk are concerned. Any theft of children is done more out of curiosity and a desire to collect things than any desire to do the child harm (the leaves are considered to be payment, and is quite a fair arrangement as far as the boggans are concerned). Yet they have a streak of cruelty that is quick to surface if they are provoked or denied the practice of their misdeeds.
A man no larger than a child gazed up at her with bulbous eyes. His hooked nose hung over sneering lips while a tiny white spider crawled within a cavernous nostril. His clothes were mottled green and brown as though someone had woven together a sack of leaves and moss. Bright red berries hung from the hem of his garment as pearls might hang from a fine dress. On his feet he wore two hollowed gourds, the ends removed to allow his long toes—with even longer, yellowed nails—to dangle freely. He grinned at her, showing rows of darkened teeth that looked of rotten wood.
Excerpts from The Thirteenth Tower.