Tales of mischievious, mythical beings exist in nearly every culture, but this is the first I've heard of naughty woodland imps in my 6 years of living here. In Hawaii there is the industrious menehune, and while I can't ever claim having seen them, the story goes that the menehunes built a ditch and a fishpond on the island of Kauai. In Italy, stories of sarvanot in the Occitan valleys portray a creature bent on causing trouble, and while researching trails in Valle Varaita, I came upon info where they were implemented in a particular itinerary. A cultural group in the village of Rore had created an environment depicting these short, unbecoming and hairy creatures in their natural surroundings. See link (italian).
We were only able to see one of them. It felt a little bit weird taking the photo because I had to get up pretty close, but I felt as if someone unseen was watching me! Just an overactive imagination because the dogs didn't even turn to sniff. Awww mama! That's only a dummy!! This was the first outing where we were forced to turn back barely 15 minutes into the hike. Landslides and heavy snow melt had rendered parts of the path impassable where it crossed over a normally tranquil stream.