In the Estonian folklore Pisuhand, Kratt and Puuk are all household spirits who steal grain and milk for whomever’s house they dwell in. They are described as a goblin or dragon and are an old explanation for meteors seen in the sky.

Are they all the same creature? And if so, why are there various different names and appearances for it?

1 Answer 1


I found these definitions in the book [1] and in the paper [2]:

Kratt: a demon who stole and brought food, money and other wordly goods to its maker and owner in the form of a whirlwind or meteor-like tail of fire

Pisuhänd: tail of fire, treasure-bringing goblin

Puuk: treasure-bringing goblin

Also, there's an additional passage:

Kratt, also called puuk, pisuhänd, tulihänd, hännamees

It's quite common for the same entities appear with different names and appearances in mythologies.

This happens, often, because there are different versions of the same tales that change over time or according to the regions. And someday, someone compiles the legends and discovers that there are characters that are, practically, the same entity and ends up merging them.

I was answering a question from the Inuit culture, that a creature had different names and appearances. The representation was like as a bear, a creature with the size of a finger and sometimes as an invisible being. Some sources, however, cite him as a sea monster, a huge white bear, or even that his body is covered with eyes [3].

I found variations of his name as: Tornarsuk, Tornaq and Tungrangayak.

Just for fun, while I was researching tales with those creatures, I found something very funny/interesting (here):

In Estonian mythology, a Kratt is a magical creature. Essentially, Kratt was a servant built from hay or old household items. Therefore, the Estonian government uses this character as a metaphor for AI [Artificial Intelligence] and its complexities.


[1] LEACH, Maria; FRIED, Jerome. Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. Funk & Wagnalls, 1972.

[2] BECONYTė, Giedrė; EISMONTAITė, Agnė; ŝEMAITIENė, Jovita. Mythical creatures of Europe. Journal Of Maps, [s.l.], v. 10, n. 1, p. 53-60, 9 dez. 2013. Informa UK Limited. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17445647.2013.867544.

[3] COULTER, Charles Russell; TURNER, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Chicago: Routledge, 2013.

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