Meanings of crooks, shimmies, elves

Dear Teachers,

I read this sentence:

“His grandma was a fabulist, a pagan oracle, equally conversant with the saints and angels as she was with the crooks, shimmies, elves, and frostlings of local renown.”

What do crooks, shimmies and frostlings of local renown refer to here?

Hi all potted out

“Crooks, shimmies, elves, and frostlings of local renown” are meant to represent various types of beings that are quite different from (opposite) saints and angels.


Hi, Amy (Yankee),

Thank you for your reply. But I would like to make sure what those words mean literally. For example, my dictionary says “shimmy” is a kind of dance. But I think in this context it should be a kind of object for his grandma to be conversant with. And, I can’t find “frostling” in my dictionary. So I’m pretty confused about what “frostlings of local renown” means. Besides, “crook” seems to have a diverse range of meanings. I’d like to know which fits into this context…

Hi all potted out

I don’t know precisely what shimmies and frostlings are. But I assume from the context that they are supposed to be “spirits” or “witches” or “ghosts” or something similar. Something pagan and not religious.

A Google search for “frostling” produced a PC game that has a “Frost Witch” and “Frostlings”. If your sentence was written in the last few years, maybe the author got the word frostling from from the PC game. :wink:

Sometimes ghost’s appearance is described as “shimmery” or “shimmering”. So, maybe that’s where the word “shimmies” comes from. A “shimmy” might be a local name for a ghost.

Since the sentence includes the words “of local renown”, you might also assume that some of the names of things might only be known/used locally. I think the words “of local renown” refer not just to frostlings, but to all of the things mentioned.

In the context, I understand the word crooks to mean people who are “crooked” or who resort to trickery.

Sorry APO, that’s the best explanation I can give you.


Hi, Amy,

Thanks a lot for your patience with my questions. I guess I need to use a bit imagination!
Here I just want to clarify one more word. Does “renown” mean reputation? Like those crooks, shimmies, elves and frostlings are honored and acclaimed by local people?


In this case I’d say renown simply means well-known or famous (locally). There are probably lots of local legends. The crooks, shimmies, elves and frostlings are talked about or reported about very often by the local people.