Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Hobyahs

When I was a little girl I lived in Idaho right next door to my Grandma and Grandpa Bybee. They had a dark basement that my cousins and sisters and I always snooped around in; even though most of the time we got in trouble for it.

One of the walls in the basement is covered with a built-in bookshelf. I remember looking at the books frequently. There were children's books, grown-up books and encyclopedias. One set of books that I remember most distinctly was a set of books called The Junior Classics. There were ten books total and each of them had a different set of fairy and folk tales collected from all over the globe.

They were older. My dad had grown up with them as a kid. And he remembered his dad reading from them when he was little.

My grandpa must have been particularly fond of one of the tales because he read it to both my dad and us as grandkids. The story is called The Hobyahs and like many old children's tales, it's somewhat grim.

When you experience something like that as a kid it sticks with you of course. So to this day the little creatures from this story seem to hold a dear place in the Bybee family's heart.

I did a little research on the story and it is an old Scottish tale. The word "hob" is an english word that describes a type of house spirit that helps around the property. However, if you offend one they can become quite an enemy. According to this folklore, they can be gotten rid of by giving them their own set of clothing. (Sound familiar?)

It could also be proposed that Tolkien might have been slightly influenced by this word when he created the hobbit characters in his books.

1 comment:

  1. That's so funny my dad use to tell us that story all the time and I was trying to remember so I could pass on the tradition to my kids. Love the picture of them!