Friday, March 16, 2012

Shenanigans (the Folklore Version)

the flag of Wales

Shenanigans.  The word sounds Irish (which it may or may not be, according to my research). Nonetheless, it makes me think of a red-bearded leprechaun twirling a shillelagh. I am Welsh, not Irish, and in Wales there are no leprechauns. What the Welsh have instead is bogies.

Like leprechauns, bogies are prone to trickery, sometimes of a mean-spirited variety. Though of ancient origin, they have adapted well to modern times and are especially fond of washing machines and dryers where they enjoy twisting garments together to form a sort of huge sopping-wet French braid. They also love to remove socks and are probably the sole reason for the large number of unpaired ones you end up having to throw away. What the bogies actually do with the socks is any one's guess. A friend of mine once suggested they turn them into wire coat hangers, though I'm more inclined to think they fashion them into little hats or vests.

Bogies enjoy moving things around in your cupboards. For example, you open your spice cupboard and a container of oregano hits you in the forehead before falling and scattering its contents all over the kitchen floor. Was it you who forgot to screw the lid on properly? Or did the bogie loosen it?

Bogies generally avoid households where there are several children, especially highly-active children. I assume this is because they don't like competition.

Bogies are invisible to anyone except people with special powers such as Merlin in the King Arthur stories. A true magician not only can see a bogie, he can seize and forthwith banish him with this incantation:  I bid you, bogie, be transported to the banks of the Red Sea for fourteen generations and to be taken there by a strong wind.  This spell works much better, of course, if you say it in Welsh.
Bogie about to be banished

Alas, real magicians are scarce these days and so if your home is inhabited by a bogie, you are probably stuck with him until, and if, he decided to move on.
Another thing bogies do is rearrange the books in your bookcase so that when you go to search for a particular volume, it is nowhere near where you originally placed it. Bogies like to hide car keys and bury cell phones under piles of dirty laundry. They like to roll up the corners of area rugs in order to trip you when you're rushing around doing things. In fact, seeing someone trip under any circumstances gives bogies enormous satisfaction.
A bogie will hide your reading glasses in the most unlikely places -- even inside a toilet paper roll or in an ice cube tray. In fact, if you were to add up all the money you spend replacing objects  the bogie has hidden, you'd be able to afford laser surgery. Or go on a cruise.
Can what a bogie does be labeled shenanigans? Yes, according to some definitions I've read, the ones that include a touch of malice in the making of mischief.
In this country, everyone knows about Irish leprechauns but few people know about Welsh bogies. Let me ask you this, though -- which folklore creature is more likely to inhabit your wold? A leprechaun that lures you over rainbows in search of gold? Or a bogie who makes you spill your morning coffee all over your brand-new laptop?
In my opinion, the question is rhetorical.


  1. Can this somehow explain why I am always the person who finds herself having to restore the stock of toilet paper to our bathroom? Are bogies eliminating the supplies????

  2. Very interesting!! Wonder if it is a bogey that always makes off with socks??


  3. Ahhh, bogies don't like households with small, active children. That explains why they weren't around for awhile. Although, that's when the socks were disappearing the most, so maybe that's the only way they were brave enough to come to our house. Great post!