Goblin toby jug produced by Brannam of Devon, England, circa 1900. A goblin is a small, grotesque, monstrous creature that appears in the folklore of multiple European cultures. First attested in stories from the Middle Ages, they are ascribed conflicting abilities, temperaments, and appearances depending on the story and country of origin, ranging from mischievous household spirits to malicious, bestial thieves. They often have magical abilities similar to a fairy or demon, such as the ability to shapeshift. His right arm and hand form the handle of the jug.