A to Z Challenge Folklore

Zany Grogoch #AtoZChallenge #folklore

Z is for Zany.

zany adjective amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic (Oxford English Dictionary)

Learn more here.

There’s this peculiar little creature from folklore that caught my fancy. He goes by two names. Yet no-one can disagree that he’s quite gross. Grogoch or Phynnodderee is the name of this Faery. The folklore attached to his origins is quite sad… still, it’s no excuse to be grody!

grody adjective very unpleasant; disgusting (Oxford English Dictionary)


Celtic Folklore: Welsh And Manx by John Rhys [1901]

Manx Folklore

The Manx brownie is called the fenodyree, and he is described as a hairy and apparently clumsy fellow, who would, for instance, thrash a whole barnful of corn in a single night for the people to whom he felt well disposed; and once on a time he undertook to bring down for the farmer his wethers from Snaefell. When the fenodyree had safely put them in an outhouse, he said that he had some trouble with the little ram, as it had run three times round Snaefell that morning. The farmer did not quite understand him, but on going to look at the sheep, he found, to his infinite surprise, that the little ram was no other than a hare, which, poor creature, was dying of fright and fatigue. I need scarcely point out the similarity between this and the story of Peredur, who, as a boy, drove home two hinds with his mother’s goats from the forest: he owned to having had some trouble with the goats that had so long run wild as to have lost their horns, a circumstance which had greatly impressed him [a]. . To return to the fenodyree, I am not sure that there were more than one in Man–I have never heard him spoken of in the plural; but two localities at least are assigned to him, namely, a; farm called Ballachrink, in Colby, in the south, and a farm called Lanjaghan, in the parish of Conchan, near Douglas. Much the same stories, however, appear to be current about him in the two places, and one of the most curious of them is that which relates how he left. The farmer so valued the services of the fenodyree, that one day he took it into his head to provide clothing for him. The fenodyree examined each article carefully, and expressed his idea of it, and specified the kind of disease it was calculated to produce. Inaword, he found that the clothes would make head and foot sick, and he departed in disgust, saying to the farmer, ‘Though this place is thine, the great glen of Rushen is not.’ Glen Rushen is one of the most retired glens in the island, and it drains down through Glen Meay to the coast, some miles to the south of Peel. It is to Glen Rushen, then, that the fenodyree is supposed to be gone; but on visiting that valley in 1 892 [b] in quest of Manx-speaking peasants, I could find nobody there who knew anything of him. I suspect that the spread of the English language even there has forced him to leave the island altogether. Lastly, with regard to the term fenodyree I may mention that it is the word used in the Manx Bible of 1819 for satyr in Isaiah xxxiv. 14 [c], where we read in the English Bible as follows: ‘The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow.’ In the Vulgate the latter clause reads: et pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum. The term fenodyree has been explained by Cregeen in his Manx Dictionary to mean one who has hair for stockings or hose. That answers to the description of the hairy satyr, and seems fairly well to satisfy the phonetics of the case, the words from which he derives the compound being fynney [c], ‘hair,’ and oashyr, ‘a stocking’; but as oashyr seems to come from the old Norse hosur, the plural of hosa, ‘hose or stocking,’ the term fenodyree cannot date before the coming of the Norsemen; and I am inclined to think the idea more Teutonic than Celtic. At any rate I need not point out to the English reader the counterparts of this hairy satyr in the hobgoblin ‘Lob lie by the Fire,’ and Milton’s ‘Lubber Fiend,’whom he describes as one that

Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.

Lastly, I rnay mention that Mr. Roeder has a great deal to say about the fenodyree under the name of glashtyn; for it is difficult to draw any hard and fast line between the glashtyn and the fenodyree, or even the water-bull, so much alike do they seem to have been regarded. Mr. Roeder’s items of folklore concerning the glashtyns (see the Lioar Manninagh, iii. 139) show that there were male and female glashtyns, and that the former were believed to have been too fond of the women at Ballachrink, until one evening some of the men, dressed as women, arranged to receive some youthful glashtyns. Whether the fenodyree is of Norse origin or not, the glashtyn is decidedly Celtic, as will be further shown in chapter vii. Here it will suffice to mention one or two related words which are recorded in Highland Gaelic, namely, glaistig, ‘a shegoblin which assumes the ‘form of a goat,’ and glaisrig, a female fairy or a goblin, half human, half beast.’

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y. Evans-Wentz [1911]

The Fenodyree’s (or ‘Phynnodderee’s’) Disgust.–‘During snowy weather, like this, the Fenodyree would gather in the sheep at night; and during the harvest season would do the threshing when all the family were abed. One time, however, just over here at Gordon Farm, the farmer saw him, and he was naked; and so the farmer put out a new suit of clothes for him. The Fenodyree came at night, and looking at the clothes with great disgust at the idea of wearing such things, said:–

Bayrn da’n chione, doogh da’n chione,
Cooat da’n dreeym, doogh da’n dreeym,
Breechyn da’n toin, doogh da’n toin,
Agh my she lhiat Gordon mooar,
Cha nee lhiat Glion reagh Rushen.

(Cap for the head, alas! poor head,
Coat for the back, alas! poor back,
Breeches for the breech, alas! poor breech,
But if big Gordon [farm] is thine,
Thine is not the merry Glen of Rushen.) 1

And off he went to Glen Rushen for good.’

The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies by Lucy Cooper


(phenodree and many other variants) A handsome Manx brownie said to have been one of the ferrishyn, a fairy tribe from the Isle of Man. He fell in love with a human girl, and his punishment was banishment from fairyland and the loss of his looks. Now large, uncouth, and hairy, he possesses great strength and is generally helpful to mortals, although likely to take offence at any gift of clothes offered as a reward. More renowned for his brawn than his brain.

*More can be read in the book.

Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology by Theresa Bane


Variations: Fenodyree, Finnoderee, Fynnoderee, Phynnodderee, Yn Foldr Gastey.

A species of Brownie from the Isle of Man, the brown furred fenoderee (nimble mower) was an expert in farming; they were extremely strong and were said to take great enjoyment from ploughing fields, reaping crops, and sowing seeds. At night during snowy weather, they would gather in the sheep.

According to one legend, Fenoderee was not a species of Brownie but rather an individual fairy, a member of the Ferrishyn fairies. One day while out courting a mortal girl in Glen Rushen, Fenoderee missed attending his people’s sacred autumn festival, Harvest Moon. As punishment, his handsome looks were taken from him and he became a solitary and ugly fay.


Variations: Bugganes, Fenoderee

In Manx fairy lore the phynnodderee (hairy one) were a species of solitary fairy similar to the Brownie and Kobold. Described as being very kind and obliging to the family of the farm it occupies, the phynnodderee assisted in daily chores, particularly in driving sheep and gathering hay if a storm in rolling in.

*More can be read in the book.

The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore by Patricia Monaghan


Manx folkloric figure. The “hairy one” of the Isle of Man loved human women – so much so that he was evicted from the Otherworld for missing too many fairy dances while pursuing non-fairy maidens. He roamed about, neither of this world nor the other, unable to settle down or cut his long shaggy hair. Despite his loneliness, the fynnodderee was invariably kind to humans and could be as helpful as a brownie.

*More can be read in the book.

Mona Miscellany: A Selection of Proverbs, Sayings, Ballads, Customs, Superstitions, and Legends Peculiar to the Isle of Man collected and edited by William Harrison


“There has not been a merry world
Since the Phynnodderee lost his ground.”

This useful little old gentleman, with his hairy coat, was a fallen fairy, who was banished from his brethren in Fairy Land for having paid his addresses to a pretty Manx maid, and deserting the Fairy court during the harvest moon, to dance with his earthly love in the merry glen of Rushen. He is doomed to remain in the Isle till the end of time; and many are the stories related by the Manx peasantry of his prodigious strength. Having performed one of his wonderful feats, a gentleman, wishing to recompense him, caused a few articles of clothing to be laid down for him in his usual haunts, when, on perceiving them, he lifted them up one by one, saying-

Cap for the head; alas! poor head
Coat for the back; alas! poor back;
Breeches for the breech; alas! poor breech
If these be all thine, thine cannot be
The merry glen of Rushen.”

Bayrn dán chione, dy doogh dán chione
Cooat dán dreeym, dy doogh dán dreeym
Breechyn dán toyn, dy doogh dán toyn;
Agh my she lhiat ooilley, shoh cha vel lhiat
Glion reagh Rushen.

Having said so, he departed, and has never been heard of since! His resemblance was that of the ” Lubber Fiend” of Milton, and the Scottish “Brownie.”
The Rhyme of the Scottish Brownie, when he was rewarded with a coat and sark, ran’ thus

Gie Brownie coat, gie, Brownie sark,
Ye’se get nae mair o’ Brownie’s wark.”

Many other similar rhymes are to be met with in various localities. The luck of the house is said to depart for ever with the oitended Phynnodderee.
The tale, ” told of this “Fallen Fairy” by one of Mona’s fair dames, and therefore must be true, is as follows :-

“Once upon a day, an Elfin Knight fell in love with one of the daughters of Mann, as she sat in her bowery home beneath the blue tree of Glen Aldyn. Offering to abandon the Fairies for a domestic life with this sweet nymph, and absenting himself from Fairy-Court during the celebration of the ‘Re-hollys vooar yn ouyr,’ or royal high harvest festival (kept by the Fairies with dancing in the merry Glen Rushen), he so offended the little people that the. Elfin King expelled hlun from Fairy Hall, and cursed him with an. undying existence on the Manx mountains in the form of a satyr,thus metamorphosed he became a strange, sad, solitary wanderer, known as the Phynnodderee. We compassionate his misfortune, as it fell upon him in consequence of his true love for a Manx maiden.”

His was the wizrd that toil’d
At midnight’s witching hour;
That gatherd the sheep from the coming storm
Ere the shepherd saw it lower
Yet asked no fee save a scatter’d sheaf
From the peasants’ garner’d hoard,
Or cream-bowl kissed by a virgin lip
To be left on the household board.”

*More can be read in the book.

Further Reading:

Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel

This creature has so many spellings for its name that sounds like fiddle-dee-dee, I prefer to call it grogoch.

The grogoch originates on the Isle of Man and is much like the brownie from Scotland and England, only extremely hairy. It is said that this hairy faery usually runs about naked (his copious amounts of hair covers everything) and is helpful to humans – he is happy to do any farm chore, though mending fishing nets is among his many skills. He only wants food in exchange for his labour.

As shown in folktales, the origin of the grogoch is something sad: usually he is a knight from a faery court, transformed into this grody creature as punishment for falling in love with a human girl and skipping one too many festivities of his kind to be with her.

He is an excellent herder, stone mover, a nimble mower and many other things. But if you dare offer him clothes, he will disappear and leave you to do your work yourself.

Love this depiction of the Grogoch! Image credit.

Grogochs in Modern Culture

I found a book on Goodreads!

The Grogochs and the Corbies of Ravenswell by Colum Burke

Deep in the heart of Duskwood Forest, far from the hustle and bustle of humanity, stands an ancient willow tree. Its roots entwined amid an even older dolmen. This is the ancestral home of the Grogochs. The Grogochs are a family of peace loving, magical woodland creatures. They live in harmony with the forest that surrounds them. Of late, there is unrest in Duskwood Forest. There is word of marauding magpies and rampaging ravens. Even more worrying are reports of young animals that have gone missing. Hollow Half-Beak and the dreaded Corbies of Ravenswell are stirring yet again. When young Finn is kidnapped, the ransom required from Half-Beak is high…. too high. The Grogochs must attempt a daring rescue, into the very heart of Ravenswell. Everything is at stake…

And there’s a band

called Phynnodderee.

And a distillery!

The Fynoderee Distillery.

Grogochs in My Writing

Origin of the Fae: Grogochs

There are no female Grogochs.
The Grogoch lives in either a cave, a cleft in the landscape or a hollow he evicted a fox or rabbit from.
He resembles a short, old man covered in coarse red fur. He’s really grody – his hygiene leaves much to be desired. Spare twigs and leaves can always be found on his person (though this could be a good thing while he gardens?).
Thanks to the thick fur covering his body, the Grogoch is quite impervious to extreme temperatures of either end of the spectrum.
Once they bond with a magic user (Druid, Witch, Warlock, what-have-you), they are extremely loyal.
It is unclear what kind of magic they practice.

grogoch English Afrikaans
grogoch sketch
once book extract grogoch
Get it here.

Do you like the word “grody”? The Grogoch has such a sad origin story – can you think of others? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to this fae.

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13 thoughts on “Zany Grogoch #AtoZChallenge #folklore”

  1. I admit I’m unfamiliar with this one, though I do have a copy of The Fairy Faith somewhere on my shelves, I need to find it and read it properly.

    It’s interesting to note how many brownie-type creatures leave if you give them clothes! Even in The Cobbler And The Elves fairytale, the elves leave after the cobbler and his wife give them clothes to thank them for their help. And, of course, J.K Rowling makes use of this theme!

  2. I didn’t know this one! 🙂

    Congratulations on completing the challenge! I loved your theme and your well-researched posts, and really enjoyed the folklore you chose to highlight. Hope to see you again in the challenge next year! Cheers! 🙂

    The Multicolored Diary

  3. It would be fun to visit the Fynoderee Distillery! Pretty bottles.
    Congratulations on ending the challenge, I enjoyed a lot reading the tales, so well documented, and illustrated. Thank you for sharing such good content!
    Z is for Zakka

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