#4 A bushy-browed, fiery-reared, hullaballoo-raising bush spirit…

A sneak peek at some of the denizens of fairyland you’ll meet in The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies…

#4 Hebu

South American bush spirit.

Illustration © Andy Paciorek
Illustration © Andy Paciorek


One of numerous bush spirits named in legends from tribes in northeastern South America. The hebu is distinctive in both appearance and habits, as it is without buttocks, displaying from the rear a glowing fire, and in order to look at the sky it must stand on its head, as its eyebrows are so protuberant they prevent any upward sight. Sometimes manifesting as skulls or skeletons and shunning daylight hours, these hairy beings live in forest trees which they smite all night, causing much hullabaloo.

One tale recounts that a hebu whose name was Kau-nassa enticed children to a creek, and while they were playing, always in front of her, she plaited a basket and asked them to get inside for a game. When they did, she quickly placed a lid on top and dropped the basket into the water, where the children drowned.

Next she sought out two more children, a girl and her brother, and asked them to play where she could see them, in front of her. At this, the boy became curious and inched his way around behind her, where he saw the tell-tale sign of a glowing posterior. Yelling her name, “Kau-nassa, Kau-nassa!” he carried his sister away with great haste.

The hebu, incensed at hearing her name called aloud, burst into flame and vanished.

Check back to meet a fairy a day in the run up to the release of The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies on 28 August, 2014.