I think everyone has at some point been at home, relaxing, taking it easy, and has seen an electric appliance turn itself on, or an object fall on the floor as if some invisible force had just pushed it over. Those who haven't, have surely gone to pick up their glasses where they left them and found them later on in a completely different place at least once or twice.
These things that happen are usually blamed on elves or gnomes living among us in our house, although perhaps we should start using the correct term: imps, or kobolds, as they're known in Germany.
Imps are humanoids, which means that they look like us except for their size, they are considerably smaller and live in our houses, among us. These mythical creatures are known for being short (usually between 40 and 80 centimetres tall), for dressing in red clothes, a smock or blouse and a matching hat to be precise, although this depends more on the individual imp than anything else.
They have wrinkled skin, which is a sign of their age, and they are usually thin and kind of ugly. The main difference between imps and humans is that imps have a tail, some of them have horns and all of them have a hole in their right hand.
As if this wasn't enough, they are thought to have a limp in their right leg, this is why their mythology is usually mixed up with that of other creatures, especially the diablo cojuelo or limping devils from Spanish mythology. This limping devil has been a famous character in Spanish mythology ever since the celebrated author from Andalusia Luis Vélez de Guevara named one of his works after it halfway through the XVII century. Although this being has a limp, it is famed for its agility and jumping ability.
Imps are similar to this limping devil in that they are cheeky, and they like to cause all sorts of trouble in our houses, as this is their natural habitat, unlike elves which prefer forests or rivers. So you can see how the similar traits between the two creatures means they have a lot of potential aiding and egging each other on.
An imp will let itself into our kitchen and have fun eating whatever it can find (they love to stuff their faces, especially with sweet foods), it might make holes in our pots and pans, throw that lovely jar on the floor from that high shelf, or make everything dirty. It might even decide to stain or paint our face while we sleep peacefully.
They are also thought to have the unique ability to turn themselves into animals in order to avoid being caught, but this is an ability they use outside of the house they have decided to claim as their home.
Imps can be found all over the world, although they go by different names. There are tales of these mythical creatures in Germany, France, Russia and Scotland, to name a few.
How much do you know about imps? Learn these facts in order to better understand them, and learn how to get rid of them if one of them decides to make your home his as well and does something naughty such as breaking your dishwasher or hiding your shoes.
One of the main reasons why an imp may decide to enter a house is because of the heat it gives off, especially if there is a fire burning when night falls. You've been warned!
Do you think your house is one of these pesky creature's homes and do you want to get rid of it? The best way to do so is by hurting its pride, that way it will choose to leave the house. Did I just hear you ask me how to do this? It's easy: you have to dare him to take on an impossible challenge, such as bringing water home from a well in a straw bucket or collecting millet seeds.
Do you remember that imps have a hole in their right hand? The seeds will fall right through it so it won't be able to accomplish the task! These beings hate failure (who doesn't), and this will wound its pride and it will leave.
As we just mentioned, the best way to get rid of an imp is by wounding his pride, if you think that moving to a new house or flat will solve the problem, then you are mistaken. It considers itself to be a member of the family.
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As the title suggests, imps aren't evil creatures. They can actually help us humans, as long as they're in a good mood. It might decide to sweep the floor, help out with the animals if there are any, and they sometimes even go to collect water from the local well or river. It all depends on how you get on with the imp, if it doesn't like you, then you are in for a hell of a ride!
Imps have many different names in the areas where they exist, in Spain they are called trasgos or trasgus, and in other parts of Europe they are known as sylph or kobold and many are bundled in with elves or gnomes, although they are really just a type of domestic goblin.
As with many other mythical beings, the Catholic religion believes in these creatures, although it puts them in the same category with dark forces and dark creatures.
To be more specific, the inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada catalogued them as 'domestic demons.' In the XVII century, the friar Benito Jerónimo Feijóo rejected the existence of these beings and soon after, many other scientists from this period did as well.
In the year 1981, the singer-songwriter from Asturias Victor Manuel wrote a song as tribute to Spanish imps -the song was called 'Trasgu,' as trasgos are sometimes called trasgus too in Asturias, and it was included in his album "Ay, amor". In this song he mentions the appearance of this trasgo, focusing on its horns and the various mischievous activities it would partake in. At the end of the song, he asks the creature to leave his house for being too naughty.