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Originated in Ireland and the Hebrides Islands of Scotland although the Irish version of the gancanagh is vastly different than the Scottish. In Scotland, the geancanach element is fire and they are most active at night, and can be found around a blazing fire at your hearthside. They are considered the guardian of the home and hearth, are harmless, and crave the warmth of the fireplace.

Love in idleness is personified by another pygmy in Ireland, the gancanagh is also called the love-talker. Although he is a relative of the leprechaun, he does not appear like them, with a purse in one of his pockets, but with his hands in both of them, and a dudeen (short pipe) in his mouth, as he lazily strolls though lonely valleys making love to the foolish country lasses and "gostering" with the idle "boys." To meet him meant bad luck, and whoever was ruined by ill-judged love was said to have been with the gancanagh.

He's a debonair little man who appeared in lonely glens, smoking his clay pipe. He had no shadow, birds stopped their singing in his presence, and there was an aura of mist surrounding him. Men who lost all their money by buying baubles for their ladies were said to have met the gan ceanach. He would also seduce young maidens with his enchanting voice and whispered nonsense then would promptly disappear, leaving the maiden to pine away for him. Few of his victims live for very long afterwards dying of despair and a broken heart.

Variants: gan ceanach, gancanagh, ganconer, ganceann, love talker (Irish), geancanach (Scottish).

Beware the tunes that touch your heart.
The gancanagh will play the soul
Beware sweet lass don't crave his art
He'll pierce your heart and leave a hole.



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