These magical creatures where capable of both good and evil. They where similar to the fairies and gnomes of Europe. They are usually described as being knee-high or even smaller. Their name literally means ‘person of the wilderness’ and are considered to be spirits of the forest. In some traditions, they have a sweet smell and are associated with flowers.

Their stories come from Algonquian folklore. They are told throughout the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and the Great Lakes region but their stories differ between tribes. In the Ojibwe and other Great Lakes tribes, the pukwudgie (or bagwajinini) is considered a mischievous but basically good-natured creature who plays tricks on people but is not dangerous. In the Abenaki and other northeast Algonquian tribes, a pukwudgie (or bokwjimen) can be dangerous, but only to people who treat him with disrespect. In the Wampanoag and other tribes of southern New England, pukwudgies are capricious and dangerous creatures who may play harmless tricks or even help a human neighbor, but are just as likely to steal children or commit deadly acts of sabotage. According to some Wampanoag stories, pukwudgies were enemies of the culture hero Maushop and were even responsible for his death (or the deaths of his sons.) Pukwudgies have magical powers which vary from tribe to tribe but may include the ability to turn invisible, confuse people or make them forget things, shapeshift into cougars or other dangerous animals, or bring harm to people by staring at them