The Ballybogs or Peat Faeries.
Although at one time you might have found Ballybogs living in Wales, Scotland England, and Ireland. However, there were greater numbers of them here in Ireland. As one of their names (Peat Faeries) suggests, the Ballybogs are fond of peat, something we are lucky enough to still have.
These small creatures have very strange looking bodies. Their heads seem to sit directly on the top of a little fat body without any neck at all. They have spindly legs that don’t even look as though they could stand on their own, let alone hold up such a round shape. Its gaping mouth is full of blunt, needle-like teeth and its nose hangs down over its top lip, matched by pair of dog-like ears that sit up on their own.
For the most part, the body and head resemble that of a toad with mismatched ears and nose. Their arms mirror the legs in appearance, turning the Ballybog into a frightful looking thing. To top it all off, these little wrinkled creatures appear to have been dipped in mud so they look a bit like a chocolate covered cherry; only in this case, it’s a mud-covered Ballybog.
Ugly in both appearance and sound, the Ballybogs are creatures that prefer to keep to themselves. Obviously, as guardians of the bogs, they live in the bog and prefer the mud holes that are so numerous in that type of location.
Whether due to their solitary existence or some quirk of nature, the Ballybogs cannot speak and only grunt in place of verbal language. This adds to the common belief that the Ballybog is one of the dumbest faeries. Some might say their grunting and slobbering behaviour is reason enough to consider them somewhat less intelligent than humans and closer to the animal kingdom but be careful of what you say. Many people have lived to regret insulting the gentry.
Since their main purpose in life is to protect the bogs, they cause relatively little mischief or damage, certainly less than man as far as the bogs are concerned. However, whether they have a mischievous streak or simply get bored, the Ballybogs have been known to prey upon unsuspecting human travellers and lead them astray from the path. No real harm is ever done to these unwitting travellers other than a few hours of lost time and a bit of unexpected aggravation.
They have been known by many interesting names down through the ages, each with a clever little twist on their origin. They’ve been called Peat Faeries, Mudbogs, Bogles, Boggans, Bog-a-boos, and Boggies, However, don’t confuse them with the Boggie man, he’s a different kettle of fish altogether.
No matter what name they are called by, the Ballybogs have been the guardians of the bogs since the bogs were formed.
They are most typically encountered in Ireland, where people still use peat or turf as we call it as a source of fuel because Ireland lacks natural coal and oil deposits.
While the ballybog was merely unpleasant, it was said to possess a nasty temper. It focuses the majority of its ill will upon those who are lazy, incontinent, or guilty of crimes. Like many of the fairie folk it was widely believed that at one time, they were they guardian spirits of bogs. Some have suggested that the preserved human remains found in the peat bogs of northern Europe are evidence of ritual human sacrifices made to placate the fairies who dwelled within the bogs.