In French folklore, wandering sprites who
attach themselves to households and both help and
plague the residents. Goblins live in grottoes but are
attracted to homes that have beautiful children and lots
of wine. When they move in, they help by doing household
chores at night and by disciplining children—giving
them presents when they are good and punishing
them when they are naughty. Goblins have an unpredictable,
mischievous nature, and instead of doing chores at
night will sometimes keep everyone awake by banging
pots and pans, moving furniture, knocking on walls and
doors and snatching bedclothes off sleeping persons.
Goblins who become tiresome can be persuaded to leave
by scattering flaxseed on the floor. The sprites get tired
of cleaning it up every night.
Goblins are the equivalent of brownies in England
and Scotland, kobalds in Germany, domoviks in Russia
and other sprites in other countries. They have become
associated with Halloween and are said to roam the night
when the veil is thinnest between the world of the living
and the world of the dead.