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Kobold beliefs are evidence of the survival of pagan customs after the Christianisation of Germany.
Belief in kobolds dates to at least the 13th century, when German peasants carved kobold effigies for their homes.
Famous kobolds of this type include King Goldemar, Heinzelmann, and Hödekin.
In some regions, kobolds are known by local names, such as the Galgenmännlein of southern Germany and the Heinzelmännchen of Cologne.
Such pagan practices may have derived from beliefs in the mischievous kobalos of ancient Greece, the household lares and penates of ancient Rome, or native German beliefs in a similar room spirit called kofewalt (whose name is a possible rootword of the modern kobold or a German dialectal variant).
One example, known as the monoloke, was made from white wax and wore a blue shirt and black velvet vest.
Dorothea kissed her hands to these dreadful little shapes, and Michael bowed with great reverence.
As for me and my companions, we were so awe-struck yet amused at these comical shapes, that we could not move or speak until they themselves seemed to flit about in a sort of wavering dance, and then vanish, one by one.
Fiery kobolds are also called drakes, draches, or puks.
A tale from the Altmark, recorded by Anglo-Saxon scholar Benjamin Thorpe in 1852, describes the kobold as "a fiery stripe with a broad head, which he usually shakes from one side to the other..." A legend from the same period taken from Pechüle, near Luckenwald, says that the kobold flies through the air as a blue stripe and carries grain. Saintine, kobolds are the spirits of dead children and often appear with a knife that represents the means by which they were put to death. Gronin called our attention to the steady light, round, and about the size of a cheese plate, which appeared suddenly on the wall of the little garden directly opposite the door of the hut in which we sat.This may indicate a common origin for these creatures, or it may represent cultural borrowings and influences of European peoples upon one another.