Bad Fairy Case File #327: Alp-luachra

OFFENSES: Shape-shifting, theft, leeching

DESCRIPTION: Green, tiny, sometimes invisible

ALIASES: Alpluachra, Joint-Eater

PROVENANCE: Irish folklore

The Alp-luachra is an evil, parasitic creature found in Irish folklore. According to legend, the Alp-luachra will appear as a small green newt or lizard and climb down the throat of anyone who sleeps near a stream. Once this bad fairy has climbed all the way into a human’s stomach, he or she will eat any food found there. This bad fairy is said to stay in the victim’s stomach indefinitely, even inviting other Alp-luachra’s to set up camp until the host body starves to death.

The Alp-luachra is basically the tape worm of the fairy realm, and the first tales of this creature may have veen told to account for dubious illnesses in a time of great pestilence in the Irish countryside.

While inside the human belly, the Alp-luachra’s behavior ranges from quiet to boisterous. Though not intentionally malicious, they have a reputation for greed and a carelessness.

In his work Beside the FireDouglas Hyde describes the tale of a human host of the Alp-luachra as such:

 “He was so bad at last that it was scarcely he was able to walk. His appetite went from him, and it was a great trouble to him to swallow a piece of soft bread or to drink a sup of new milk, and everyone was saying that he was better to die, and that was no wonder, for there was not in him but like a shadow in a bottle.”

If not for their selfish temperament, one might consider the Alp-luachra to be quite lovely. In most depictions they are very beautiful, and of incredibly miniature proportion. Though there are conflicting tales, which describe them as terribly ugly.

Like many bad fairies, the Alp-luachra thinks only of itself at the cost of human comfort and sometimes human fatality. Their one-track minds cause them to be somewhat simple minded, and it is not terribly difficult to outsmart them into leaving a host body. According to legend, one rids himself of the Alp-luachra by eating a massive quantity of salted meats until the fairy is so thirsty he flees the host’s stomach for a sip of cool pond water.

There are also tales of the Alp-luachra who merely sits one a persons dinner plate and eats food found there, while somehow being unseen by the human who’s dinner they are stealing! If only the little thing could learn to pace itself it may be in better shape!

Like the bad fairies? Find out more about the Vila, the Boggart, and more here on FairyRoom.