I remember a while back I was looking into this while looking up fairies. One such story was regarding someone who had actually seen a dwarf watching her from the tree in her yard. She said he looked just the dwarves in folklore. We now know that there are people that have a condition called “Dwarfism”. This would not have been known at the time when the legends were forged into the culture of such peoples as the Scottish and Irish. Other cultures no doubt will have their own legends.
The most well-known are notably the Irish leprechauns. These were little men famous for their love of their “pot o’ gold” as they used to say. This is also where the legend of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was founded.
Dwarves are associated with wisdom, smithing, mining and crafting. They are little men with long beards who dwell in their mines mining all different kinds of ore. In the Germanic mythology these creatures lived in the earth and mountains, as you can most likely guess it is because of their precious ores in the earth. The most recent mention of this in the movie trilogy The Hobbit. In this trilogy we see dwarves swayed by the riches of their old mines. In this movie they are depicted as short, stubby men with long unkempt beards, but quite a few scholars debate whether this is true or just a comical portrayal of these beings. They would’ve no doubt been great miners because of their size and ability to fit into the smallest of cracks and crevices in the earth to get to the ore no one else could. In result, they could’ve perhaps become quite prolific as miners and even started to craft their own jewelry and other useful items. Something else to consider, why couldn’t these so-called misfits form their own communities–I mean being ignorantly treated as mis-fits, wouldn’t you? This could’ve very well led to the tales of the little people. Afterall, aren’t most fables and legends based on truth?
The Nain Rouge/Red Dwarf
But what about now? I mean that was then, are they still being sighted in recent years, well maybe. People in Detroit in recent years have claimed to have seen these famous little people. They have been sighted for hundreds of years dating back to the Ottawa Tribe up to most recent times. The most common sightings have been of what is called “Nain Rouge” or “Red Dwarf”.
The Nain Rouge was sighted by Native tribes for hundreds of years and were considered very real by these people. The earliest recorded sighting of the Nain Rouge starts with the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in March 10, 1701 at a party he was hosting. In this account he was met by a fortune teller who told him he would found a great city, but that there would be great turmoil within it and that he ought to always pay heed to and respect the Nain Rouge. If not, it would mean his downfall. He probably laughed at this. Later, however, he would realize the truth in her words. When he did found the city of Detroit, he was walking with his wife one night and heard two men complaining about the city and talking about a little man they had seen who they referred to as the Nain Rouge. This man then went on to say it was a sign of bad luck for the city.
Now we come to the great question: Are the dwarfs/dwarves of mythology real and as they were depicted back then? Well, quite a few have claimed to see them, but again are they not people that have lived outside of human civilization by choice? Well, if you ask the miners of Cornwall, you will know that they lived with the knowledge of the Knockers (sometimes called the Knockertommys) who were little people that were known to bring good fortune should you show them respect or misfortune should you show them any disrespect. I first read of the Knockers in an old heirloom my mother inherited from her grandmother called the Mermaid of Zenna–a compilation of Cornish folktales. It was about a young boy who learned this lesson very quickly and became blessed because he showed them respect. If you have someone in your family who is Cornish ask them about the Knockers, you might just hear something interesting. As for the other legends out there, there is always a possibility these things may be real. People didn’t believe in werewolves until Hypertrichosis was discovered and suddenly everyone understood the legends. Legends, as I mentioned above, very often ring with truth.
Don’t always doubt something before you see it.