Myth: Dryads will kidnap naughty children Myth in Kaestra | World Anvil
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Myth: Dryads will kidnap naughty children

It's a common old wives tale that if you are a naughty child who won't listen to your parent or run away into the forest without permission from your parents, they will take the child away to their realm and is never seen again.


It is said that the child who is troublesome, argumentative and does not listen to their mother and father, will catch the attention of the spirits known as dryads who lives in special, magical trees. Those children are destined to be spirited away by the dryads of the forest. They will be captured, lured into the dryads tree or the realm which the dryads live in and kept there... forever.

Historical Basis

The myth is based in the group of stories which parents tell their unruly children in order to convince them to behave.   The dryads are mythical creatures who are the spirit of a particular tree. Not every tree is a dryad, and there is no particular reason to which tree becomes a dryad and which tree doesn't. The reasoning is likely lost to time, as the myth of dryads have been woven into the mythos and religions of the region.


It is spread through most of Ukan and mostly common knowledge to the population there. Later as the traveling tradesmen became a popular profession, the myth spread a bit further but mainly as a tale to fascinate and entertain rather than it's original purpose.

Variations & Mutation

In some variations of the tale, it is the elves who spirits the child away forever, instead of dryads. It's theorized this is because dryads are seen as kindly spirits in other regions, or simply that the myth of the dryad doesn't exist around there.

Cultural Reception

It is mostly scoffed at by most people as just a tale to freighten children into obedience.

In Literature

It has been recorded in some compilations of the oral myths who survived into the middle ages.
Date of First Recording
Unknown date of origin.
Date of Setting
The Age of Bronze

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