A Fantasy Tip From History: Dobby’s International Counterparts

Nicholas C. Rossis

Wherever does Rowling come up with her amazing ideas? Well, in the case of Dobby, it could be any from a number of mythological sources, helpfully compiled by Eric Grundhauser of Atlas Obscura in his collection of household spirit-related myths.

Slavic Mythology: The Domovoi

Domovoi | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books A Domovoi coming out of the hearth. Image via Atlas Obscura

Originating in Slavic mythology, the hairy little imp known as the domovoi is one of the world’s creepier household gods. As the legends go, each house has a personal domovoi, which usually resides somewhere beneath the threshold, under the stove, or in the oven. The creatures are sometimes thought to be the spirit of the original head of the household.

Domovoi take the form of a tiny old man, about the size of a small child, with a long gray beard. Sometimes they mirror aspects of a family ancestor or even the current…

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