Ogres don’t exactly look like Shrek. Or at all like Shrek. In mythology they are described as being extremely large, with even larger heads that sprout abundant hair, off-colored skin and a strong appetite for humans, especially children. Ogres have appeared as characters in many fairytales. For instance, the witch in Hansel and Gretel is presumed to be a female ogre (ogress) because she eats children. The wolf in Little Red Riding Hood also resembles an ogre.In Japan, ogres are called oni and portrayed as having sharp claws and two horns protruding from their heads. Some have an odd number of fingers, toes or eyes and their skin can take on any color, but they commonly appear as blue, black, brown, white and particularly red. Oni are said to be born after evil humans die and end up in one of the Buddhist Hells. There they are transformed into oni and become servants of the ruler of Hell. Part of their job is to crush the bones and peel the skin off wicked humans. When a human is too evil to be redeemed, he is transformed into an oni on Earth and remains there to terrorize those around him who are still alive.

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