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November 17th, 2011
Thirteen Tricksters & Meanies from the World of Mythology

Thursday Thirteen

Many romances, especially paranormal and urban fantasy ones, are based on the world of mythology. An example is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Hunter series. Old myths and legends are rich in ideas for authors, so I thought I’d mention a few characters from within mythology for my Thursday Thirteen today.

Thirteen Tricksters & Means from Mythology

To start, mythology is a collection of stories that helped people make sense of the world. They were passed orally from generation to generation. Sometimes people wrote the myths down, and they were often celebrated in dance and art.

1. Chimera – a fire breathing monster made up of a mishmash of body parts of different animals.

2. Bacchus – the Roman god of wine and ecstasy. He gave King Midas the power to change everything he touched into gold.

3. Maui – he’s one of our New Zealand tricksters, and was supposedly responsible for fishing up New Zealand. He was a slippery one, and frankly, I’d run if I saw him. He pushed up the heavens and stole fire for mankind.

4. Cunning Hare – he’s an animal trickster that always outwits the other animals. He’s known in the US as Brer Rabbit.

5. Loki – the Norse trickster god. He caused the death of Odin’s son, Balder and is still being punished for it.

6. Baba Yaga – is a cannibal witch from Russia. She lives in a revolving hut that’s supported by hen’s feet, and she flies through the air in a mortar (grinding pot)

7. Guan Di – the Chinese god of war. Originally, he sold tofu, but he killed a magistrate and had to flee his home. He became a soldier and was promoted to the status of god of war.

8. Eshu – the trickster god of the Yoruba people in west Africa. He likes playing tricks on people – mischievous ones. He disguises himself as a naughty boy, a wise old man and a priest.

9. Kokopelli – another trickster. He’s also responsible for fertility of crops and the village women. I used Kokopelli as the basis for my story Seeking Kokopelli.

10. Tengu – a part man and part bird. They’re Japanese and have magic invisibility cloaks.

11. Sekhmet – a lioness god, sent by Ra to destroy mankind. Ra changed his mind and the only way to stop Sekhmet was to ply her with drink and get her drunk.

12. Centaur – half man and half horse they’re wild and savage. There are centaurs in the Harry Potter series.

13. Yen-lo – the ruler and judge of the dead in China. He weighs the souls first. Those who were virtuous had light souls while sinners possessed heavy souls. The souls must past several tests before they can be reincarnated.

All of these seem unfriendly to me. I’m not sure I’d like to meet them, but they certainly provide inspiration for stories.

Do you have any favorite stories based on mythology? Which of the above would you prefer to face? Write a story about?

Source: Mythology, an Eyewitness Book, by Neil Philip

29 comments to “Thirteen Tricksters & Meanies from the World of Mythology”

  1. I knew 11 out of 13, Go Geek Cred! :)

    I’ve touched on a few of these for story ideas. So good to seem them highlighted.

    Happy T13,

    13 Wishes

  2. Mythology is a rich mine for writers.

  3. The bunny (#4) sounds pretty harmless. :) As for writing, they all have rich stories, don’t they? I’d be hard pressed to choose at the moment.

  4. The bunny does sound harmless, but he’s a trickster for sure. You’ve got to watch those!

  5. Great list, Shelley! My oldest son has been studying mythology in school over the past two weeks, so we’ve had a lot of discussions about it in our house recently. :) Happy Thursday!

  6. It’s interesting the way that many cultures have similar myths. It makes the world seem a much smaller place.

  7. I find #6 very disturbing. Very interesting list though. Happy T13!

  8. Nodding. I wondered how she managed to get her mortar to fly. Those things are heavy. I wouldn’t want to drop one on my toes!

  9. I’ve always wanted to meet Loki. I even named a puppy I sheltered for a few weeks, Loki.

    And yes, he lived up to his trickster reputation.

  10. Loki is such a cool name for a dog.

  11. I dunno – #11 sounds pretty relatable. LOL!

    Happy TT! :)

  12. LOL ply a woman with drink to get your way???

  13. Interesting TT!


    My TT is at


  14. Myths are always fascinating.

  15. Kokopelli is an interesting one all right.

  16. Kokopelli is fascinating, although he seems to be very regional in the US – south west only.

  17. The first story I wrote was a mythology. Thus…the God of Thunder. With his mighty hammer and anvil, striking terror in the minions…

    Oh, Hi all.

  18. Thor really lends himself to fictional stories.

  19. I’m always fascinated with the mythology of different countries.
    Very cool.

  20. There’s a wealth of I of to choose from, that’s for sure. A writer can take the myths and twist them so many different ways.

  21. We named our youngest daughter for one of Loki’s handmaidens, all too appropriately as it turned out.
    I loved Robert Graves book on the Greek Myths and Frederick Raphael’s “Some talk of Alexander” for its modern take on the idea.
    Thanks for reminding me of characters I’ve read about but had forgotten temporarily

  22. Amy, I haven’t read either of those. Thanks for the suggestions.

  23. I didn’t know many of them but I’m fascinated by mythology.

  24. There were a lot in the book that I hadn’t heard of before.

  25. It’s interesting how all world mythologies have similar stories or characters–for example, look how many have a trickster. I’ve always been kind of partial to Harvey (a pooka) myself. ;)

  26. I thought that too. I haven’t heard of Harvey, the pooka…

  27. Coyote is an Native American trickster.

    Have you read Rob Thurman? One of ehr characters i nthe Cal Leandros series is Robin Goodfellow. Really good.

  28. Ah, yes. So, he is. No, I haven’t read Rob Thurman’s series. I’ll check it out.

  29. Hmmm…if I had to, I’d face Sekhmet. Maybe I could challenge her to a drink off. If I win, she’s drunk and I can escape. If she wins, I’ll be so toasty and gone that I can meet my demise with a hiccup and a smile.