10 Most Famous Trickster From Mythologies
10 Most Famous Trickster From Mythologies: Throughout human history, myths and legends have been passed down through generations, each containing their own unique set of characters, gods, and creatures. Among these characters, Tricksters have always been some of the most fascinating and memorable ones, known for their cunning ways and unpredictable behavior. From the Norse trickster Loki to the African Anansi, Tricksters have played an important role in shaping cultural beliefs and values. In this article, we will delve into the world of mythologies and explore the ten most famous Tricksters from around the world.
10 Most Famous Trickster From Mythologies
Loki – Norse Mythology
Loki is a trickster god in Norse mythology, and one of his most famous tricks is when he cut off the golden hair of Sif, the wife of the god Thor. Loki did this as a prank, but it made Thor angry, and he threatened to kill Loki if he didn’t fix the situation. To make amends, Loki went to the dwarves and asked them to create new hair for Sif. The dwarves agreed, and they made not only a new head of golden hair for Sif but also other magical objects, including Thor’s hammer Mjolnir.
However, the dwarves demanded payment from Loki, and he had nothing to give them. So, he made a bet with the dwarves that they could not make three magical items that were as good as the ones they had already made. The dwarves accepted the challenge and made a golden ring, a spear, and a boar with golden hair. These items were indeed as good as the previous ones, so the dwarves demanded Loki’s head as payment. But Loki managed to escape by turning into a salmon and jumping into a river.
Loki’s trick caused a lot of trouble, but it also led to the creation of some of the most powerful and magical objects in Norse mythology, including Thor’s hammer.
Anansi – African Mythology
Anansi is a trickster spider who is known for his cleverness and trickery. He often uses his wits to get what he wants, whether it’s food or knowledge. One of his most famous tricks is when he tricks the sky god Nyame into giving him all of the stories in the world. Anansi tells Nyame that he has a stomach ache and that the only thing that will cure it is the stories. Nyame agrees to give Anansi the stories, but Anansi has to pay a high price for them. Anansi then uses his cleverness to negotiate the price down to three different tasks. The first task is to capture a hornet, the second is to capture a python, and the third is to catch a fairy. Anansi succeeds in completing all three tasks, and Nyame keeps his promise and gives Anansi all of the stories in the world.
However, Anansi’s greed gets the best of him and he decides to keep the stories for himself instead of sharing them with everyone. Anansi weaves a web and hangs all of the stories on it, but he forgets to tie the web to the sky. When he wakes up the next morning, he finds that the stories have blown away and are scattered all over the world. This is why, in African culture, stories are said to be “all over the place like Anansi’s web.” This myth shows Anansi’s cleverness, but also his selfishness and the consequences of greed.
Coyote – Native American Mythology
Coyote, in Native American mythology, is a trickster figure who is known for his cunning and mischievous behavior. He often uses his intelligence to gain an advantage over others, sometimes to their detriment. One of Coyote’s most famous tricks is told in the story “Coyote and the Rolling Rock.”
In the story, Coyote wants to find a way to feed himself without having to work hard for it. He comes up with a plan to use a rolling rock to crush the small animals in his path, making them easy prey. Coyote convinces the other animals to help him roll the rock down a hill, with the promise of sharing the food it will produce. However, once the rock is rolling, Coyote realizes that he has made a mistake. He can’t control the rock, and it ends up rolling out of control, destroying everything in its path.
The other animals are furious with Coyote for his foolishness, and they chase him away. The story teaches a lesson about the consequences of greed and the importance of thinking things through before acting.
Hermes – Greek Mythology
Hermes is a trickster god, known for his speed and cunning. He often uses his wit and cleverness to get what he wants. One of his most famous tricks is when he steals Apollo’s cattle and then denies it when Apollo accuses him. However, when Apollo threatens him with violence, Hermes finally confesses and returns the cattle.
In the story of Hermes and Apollo’s cattle, Hermes is seen as a trickster because he steals Apollo’s prized cattle while the god is sleeping. To cover his tracks, Hermes attaches the cattle’s hooves to his feet backwards so that it looks like they are walking in the opposite direction. When Apollo wakes up and discovers that his cattle are missing, he accuses Hermes of stealing them. However, Hermes denies the accusations and even tries to bribe Apollo with a lyre made from a tortoise shell to keep him from getting angry.
But Apollo is not easily fooled and threatens Hermes with violence if he doesn’t return the cattle. Finally, Hermes admits to the theft and returns the cattle to Apollo. Despite being caught, Hermes manages to talk his way out of the situation and avoid any serious punishment. This story highlights Hermes’ cunning and his ability to think on his feet. It also shows how his trickster behavior can sometimes land him in trouble but also help him get out of it.
Eshu – Yoruba Mythology
In the Yoruba myth, Eshu is seen as a mischievous god who enjoys causing trouble and confusion. In one story, Eshu hears that the people of a certain town are preparing to go to war against another town. Eshu decides to play a trick on the people of the town by telling them that their king has died. He then watches as the people panic and begin to fight among themselves about who should be the new king.
As a result of Eshu’s trick, chaos ensues in the town, with many people becoming injured or killed in the fighting. Eventually, Eshu reveals that the king is actually alive and well, and the people of the town are able to calm down and make peace with one another.
This myth illustrates Eshu’s mischievous and unpredictable nature, as well as his ability to cause chaos and confusion. It also highlights the importance of being careful when dealing with tricksters, as their pranks can often have serious consequences.
Raven – Native American Mythology
In the myth of Raven and the Light, Raven noticed that humans were living in darkness, and he felt sorry for them. He decided to find a way to bring light to the world. Raven knew that the chief of the Sky Country kept the light in a special box, and he decided to steal it.
Raven transformed himself into a pine needle and fell into a stream where the chief’s daughter was getting water. The girl drank the water with the pine needle in it, and she became pregnant. The chief was angry and demanded to know who was responsible. The girl revealed that it was the pine needle, which turned back into Raven.
The chief was so angry that he threw Raven into the box containing the light and locked it. Raven was trapped inside the box with the light, but he managed to escape by squeezing through a small crack. As he escaped, he grabbed the light with his beak and flew away.
Raven flew over the world, searching for a place to put the light. He finally found a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. Raven dropped the light into the lake, and it shattered into many pieces, spreading light throughout the world.
This trick shows Raven’s mischievous and selfish behavior, as he used deception and trickery to steal the light from the chief. However, his actions also brought light to the world and improved the lives of humans.
Kokopelli – Native American Mythology
Kokopelli is a beloved trickster figure in Native American mythology, particularly among the Hopi and Zuni tribes. He is depicted as a humpbacked flute player with a mischievous grin and often appears in rock art, pottery, and jewelry. Kokopelli is associated with fertility, agriculture, and good fortune.
One of Kokopelli’s most famous tricks involves using his musical ability to bring fertility to the land. In one myth, Kokopelli travels from village to village playing his flute and dancing. His music is so joyful that it causes the crops to grow, the animals to reproduce, and the people to fall in love. He is able to bring abundance to the people through his music.
In another myth, Kokopelli uses his music to trick a group of men. He plays his flute so beautifully that the men become entranced and follow him wherever he goes. Kokopelli leads them on a wild goose chase, causing them to become lost in the wilderness. Eventually, the men realize that they have been tricked and return home, but they cannot help but feel grateful for the joy and laughter that Kokopelli has brought into their lives.
Kokopelli is a beloved trickster figure who uses his musical ability to bring joy and abundance to the people. His tricks are playful and often bring laughter and happiness. His legacy continues to inspire artists, musicians, and storytellers today.
Puck – English Mythology
Puck is a mischievous fairy in English mythology who enjoys playing pranks on humans and other fairies. One of his famous tricks involves turning a weaver named Nick Bottom into a donkey during a play being performed by a group of actors in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Puck also places a love potion on the eyes of Titania, the queen of the fairies, causing her to fall in love with the donkey-Nick Bottom.
In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Puck is a servant of the fairy king Oberon, and he is given the task of finding a magical flower that can make someone fall in love with the first thing they see. Puck finds the flower and uses it to play a trick on Titania, who is sleeping in the forest. He puts the love potion on her eyes and she wakes up to see the transformed Nick Bottom, who she then falls in love with.
Puck’s trickery has unintended consequences, as the play’s characters become embroiled in a web of confusion and mistaken identities. However, Puck ultimately uses his magic to set things right and restore order to the fairy kingdom. Puck’s character and tricks have become a popular cultural reference, and his name has been used to describe mischievous and playful behavior.
Maui – Polynesian Mythology
Maui is a trickster god in Polynesian mythology who is known for his cunning and his ability to shape-shift. In one myth, Maui is annoyed by the short days and long nights, so he decides to slow down the sun. He hides behind a mountain and waits for the sun to rise, then throws a magical rope around the sun’s rays and pulls it down to the earth. Maui makes a deal with the sun to slow down its journey across the sky, so that the days become longer and people have more time to work and play.
To ensure that the sun keeps its promise, Maui hides himself in the form of a bird in the bushes, ready to pounce on the sun if it tries to speed up again. However, Maui falls asleep and the sun starts to speed up, so Maui wakes up and flies after the sun, catching it just in time to slow it down again. This myth illustrates Maui’s trickster nature, as he uses his cunning and shape-shifting abilities to achieve his goals and manipulate the sun for the benefit of humans. It also shows that Maui’s tricks often have unintended consequences, as his nap nearly undoes his work and jeopardizes the stability of the natural world.
Prometheus – Greek Mythology
Prometheus is a trickster figure in Greek mythology who is known for his intelligence and his ability to outwit the gods. In one myth, Prometheus steals fire from the gods and gives it to humans, which angers Zeus and leads to Prometheus’ punishment. Prometheus feels compassion for the humans who are living in darkness and coldness, so he climbs to the top of Mount Olympus and steals fire from the gods. He gives the fire to humans, who use it to keep warm, cook food, and create civilization. Zeus is angry at Prometheus’ defiance, and he punishes him by chaining him to a rock and sending an eagle to eat his liver every day.
Prometheus’ punishment by Zeus was significant because it represented the tension between humans and the gods in Greek mythology. Prometheus defied the gods to help humans, but in doing so, he challenged the authority of the gods and angered Zeus. This conflict between humans and the gods was a common theme in Greek mythology and reflected the idea that humans were capable of achieving greatness but were also vulnerable to the whims of the gods.
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