Photo by Chi Lok TSANG on Unsplash

We will be back with Fearsome Formosa Part II shortly, but in the meantime we misplaced our keys and we think we have discovered who to blame: the little folk.

The landscape of Taiwan is an imaginative place. It calls to one’s creative eye and is ripe with a sense of poetic and mythic possibility in the ways that feels analogous to another green cloaked isle. There’s a something of a Bermuda Triangle, Celtic thin space here, and the east coast especially still contains a whisper of the wild and untamed and that just out of reach. Recently, we have also decided that it might just be the perfect place to introduce the concept and fad of fairy houses.

The Little Folk: A Taiwanese Tale of the Moo-Sin-A 魔神仔 1
Photo Credit: Cafe Mom

What Are The Mo Sin A

We are the first to admit that we are not experts on miniature humanoid mythology, but in the course of researching the hob-goblins of Taiwan — not to be confused with the 洋鬼子, or an affectionate term of address for foreigners — we were surprised to learn of the prevalence of myths relating to small folk that exist around the world. In Taiwan they manifest as the 魔神仔 or Moo-Sin-A. These little guys are not particularly good or bad and in some renditions not all that attractive either. They are the haunt of the hollows and mountain ridge lines and they, like many of their Lilliputian relatives, have a proclivity for mischief. We found our keys but can’t seem to remember how they ended up there in the first place

See an artists rendition of a Moo-Sin-A below:

The Little Folk: A Taiwanese Tale of the Moo-Sin-A 魔神仔 2
Photo Credit: Blogspot

How to deal with the Moo-Sin-A:

The Little Folk: A Taiwanese Tale of the Moo-Sin-A 魔神仔 3
Photo Credit: Youtube

Fireworks. In all honesty, it seems like they are the cure for most scary things, ghosts, little folk, neighbors you don’t like… Taiwan may yet be a step ahead of the rest of the world in its proclivity for pyrotechnics.

Taiwan’s 2024 Christmas Tradition:

“Moo-sin-a on the jia (架).” You heard it here first folks.

Other things to watch out for:

The Little Folk: A Taiwanese Tale of the Moo-Sin-A 魔神仔 6
Photo Credit: Lost in Taiwan

Apparently the Moo-Sin-A also have a thing for messing with people’s sense of direction. As such if you find yourself lost or turned around or in the middle of nowhere you now have a cause to blame.

The Next Taiwanese Animated Block Buster:

Should really include these guys. We can almost see it now: a parallel world in the city of Taipei where Moo-Sin-A live side by side with humans just out of sight. Same subway lines, same queues at morning sandwich shops, same afternoon coffee runs. Some in the society dedicated to causing mischief, others trying to reign in their diablerie…


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