Cornwall is not short of legendary characters, but undoubtedly the most famous of all of the county’s faery folk are the Cornish Piskies. These tiny mythical creatures are thought to inhabit the vast Cornish moorland. Some believe that piskies are spirits of people who aren’t bad enough for hell but aren’t good enough for heaven. Others claim that they are ancient gods who have been scattered with holy water and shrank down in size.
Ruled over by their king, Jack O’Lantern, and their queen, Joan the Wad, piskies are usually depicted as tiny men, sometimes with joyful childlike faces and sometimes older covered in wrinkles. Piskies usually wear greens and browns, with little hats and pointed shoes.
There are many tales of the piskies antics. Usually the piskies are portrayed as being cheerful and helpful, however they do have a mischievous side. Many accounts have been told of piskies leading outsiders astray on the Cornish moors – a punishment for not respecting the ‘little people’ of the county. It is thought that the pixies are fond of meeting in large groups and dancing and frolicking through the night.
Legend tells that on one occasion, over six hundred piskies gathered at Trevose Head. They spent the night laughing and dancing until one of the piskies lost his laugh. The great gathering of piskies disbanded, frantically searching for the lost piskie laugh. The laugh was eventually found and restored by the mighty King Arthur who had taken the form of a Chough.