Puck is a boy’s name, famously used by William Shakespeare for the sprite character in his play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It probably derives from the Old English word puca, itself deriving from the Irish word púca, meaning “goblin” or “sprite.” In Irish mythology, the púca is a creature that can shapeshift into any form, but most commonly appears as a large black goat or dog. Similar beings appear in folklore from other Celtic and Germanic cultures, including Wales, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. They are capricious creatures that can be either mischievous, frightening, or helpful. Shakespeare’s Puck falls into the mischievous category, causing havoc for the other characters in the play but providing lots of comedy for the audience.
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