She's Layla Miller. She knows stuff. I wouldn't argue with that.
Usually female, small and fey in a disturbing way
, the Oracular Urchin
knows more about the future — or the present — than she really should. Sometimes her mysterious comments are clear, but usually they just confuse matters until everything's over, and maybe not even then. When things come to a head, the Oracular Urchin
may be the one who explains Everything (either explicitly or by implication)
to the hero — and to the audience.
Related to the Waif Prophet
, but the Oracular Urchin
is not usually ill in any way — just ... different and strangely informed.
See also Fainting Seer
and Mysterious Waif
Anime and Manga
- Akane's friend Miyo from Ranma ½ (anime only).
- Quon Kisaragi and Reika Mishima from RahXephon. Quon tends toward quiet crypticness, but seems to be strangely familiar with Ayato. Because he's her clone/son and her counterpart in tuning the world. Mishima is more active, but still very cryptic, and is very insistent on Ayato becoming one with the Rahxephon. More strangely, she doesn't seem to have a reflection and no one remembers her but Ayato. She's the soul of the Rahxephon personified, Ixtli, and modelled after the girl he loves: the younger Haruka Mishima.
- Rin from Please Save My Earth.
- "D" from Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure probably counts, too.
- Lain Iwakura from Serial Experiments Lain is an extreme variation on this type.
- Ran from Texhnolyze can see one of the many possibilities of the future. Not surprising, considering she comes from the same dude who created Lain Iwakura.
- Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion is a borderline Oracular Urchin — she is fey and clearly knows far more of what's going on than most of the other characters, but she provides no revelations to anyone — including, for a long time, the audience.
- Chikage from Sister Princess and Setsuna/Sailor Pluto from Sailor Moon are a little old to be "urchins" but they are certainly mysterious and oracular.
- Ditto with Cheza from Wolf's Rain, who looks like a grown-up Rei Ayanami.
- Spoofed by Hitomi in Puni Puni Poemi, who actually has accurate (but ultimately, not very useful) precognitive powers.
- Manaka of Boogiepop Phantom. After confusing the audience and much of the cast with her glowing flashback/flashforward butterflies, she explains everything via voiceover in the penultimate episode. Well, almost everything. Kind of.
- Shouko in Night Head Genesis.
- Mai-HiME's Nagi Homura. He's barely older than even the youngest of the HiME, and yet he knows far more about the Orphans than any of them do. While he prefers to sit on the sidelines in the anime, mangaverse Nagi takes it a step further, actively opposing the HiME and positioning himself as a secondhand villain.
- Little Kohane Tsuyuri from Xxx Ho Lic has the ability to see spirits much like Watanuki's, which leads them to develop an Intergenerational Friendship
- Carim Gracia of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who has the ability to magically create prophecies for the near future once a year. Unfortunately, the prophecies come in the dead Ancient Belka language, record things at random, and are written in poem form that can be interpreted in many ways, making them rather cryptic once translated into something readable. Carim lampshades how helpful this trope tends to be by saying that her ability is about as useful as a fairly accurate horoscope due to the mentioned factors. Still, both The Church and The Federation treat these prophecies seriously since, hey, they're still glimpses into the future.
- Haruka in Until Death Do Us Part. It's a main plot that everyone wants her because of her powers.
- Anlu the Oracle from Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden. And she pays for it with her life.
- Yashiro Hoshimiya fills this role in Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. At first she appears to be an obnoxious girl obsessed with space like the titular character Erio Touwa, and she constantly berates Makoto Niwa for having caused her to stop believing in alien activity. Then at the end of episode 13, after telling Makoto to move slightly, a meteor lands right in the spot where he was standing just moments earlier, causing him to wonder if she really was an alien or not.
- Layla Miller in X Factor. "I'm Layla Miller, I know stuff."
- In The Matrix, the androgynous monk child ("Spoon Boy" according to the script) who claims that "There is no spoon."
- The plague ridden child in Mel Gibson's Apocalypto who accosts the slavers as they bring their captives in for sacrifice.
- While female, small, fey, and creepy, this child is probably more of a Waif Prophet due to her obvious illness.
- Scary Movie 3 has Cody.
- Frankenweenie has the Weird Girl, who interprets the contents of her cat's litterbox to look into the future.
- Men in Black 3, has an alien named Griffin, who can see multiple futures on what can or may happen.
- The Quorial, the body of mostly middle-aged and older leaders among the Servants of Saint Camber, curiously includes Rhidian, a woman "who looked to be barely into puberty," yet provides a psychic shield for thw whole Quorial, preventing Kelson from reading their minds. It is she who speaks for the Quorial to inform Kelson of their decision to offer him a chance to avoid the death penalty for sacrilege by undergoing the cruaidh-dheuchainn, a ritual ordeal which she tells Kelson she has herself undergone. She is said to speak enigmatically and has "a disturbingly direct gaze".
- In Tamora Pierce's Tortall book Lady Knight, Kel runs across an oracular street urchin who -along with her own seeing powers- has a omniscient god-like thing using her as a puppet on occasion.
- Devera, the brown-eyed little girl from (this is not hyperbole) every book Steven K. Z. Brust has ever written. Her lack of appearance in Five Hundred Years After is even lampshaded in the "Author interview" at the end. A full tally of her appearances may be found here; 'ware spoilers. This is what happens when a part-goddess little girl with Time Travel powers is allowed to run around loose.
- Aura in the Alastair Reynolds novel Absolution Gap, who is infused with knowledge by an alien entity while still unborn in order to give humans some kind of chance against the Inhibitors.
- Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen has at least two of these:
- Kettle, the undead girl who lives in the Azath cemetery in Letheras and later hooks up with Silchas Ruin's party. At the end of Reaper's Gale (book 7), Silchas Ruin kills her, and a new Azath House sprouts from her body.
- Grub, an boy orphan who tags along with the Malazan army. He has occasional prophetic speeches, but as of Reaper's Gale (book 7), he has yet to play a really major part in any plot.
- Jojen Reed of A Song of Ice and Fire.
- "There are dreams and dreams."
- In the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the songs of children singing in the street are prophetic. There however is at least one time where someone merely claims that they exist, and one incident where a treacherous retainer interprets some children's prediction his way.
- In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Gaunts Ghosts novel Straight Silver, Gaunt and Beltayr meet with a strange woman in the woods, who says she is Elinor Zaker, a retired Battle Sister, and gives Gaunt intimations of the future — vague, because she explicitly tells him that she can not tell him too much. Gaunt sees her scars and concludes that she suffered brain damage. She also lends him a car, which vanishes after they have gotten where they are going. As do its keys. And they can't find her chapel afterwards. And her name proves to be that of a woman who died millenia earlier.
- Dresden Files has the Archive. She's usually not particularly cryptic, but she knows everything that's ever been written down (at least since the position was created possibly around 580-570 BCE starting with Pythia). Omniscience of anything recorded isn't the whole of her powers - while the Archive is usually an an adult, the current one's circumstances result in something a step (possibly a very small step) down from a prepubescent goddess.
- Male example: Devil-Boy Jack in The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding. When he first appears he's described as a ten year old beggar whose eyes are sewn shut. For the rest of the book, he predicts the future, knows things nobody else does (usually because there's no way they can) and remains as unnervingly deadpan as ever during the end mission, even though he knows that several people in his party will die (he also knows who it will be, when and how). We never find out where he came from, why he was blinded in such a gruesome way, or indeed, anything about his background or personal life. He's very creepy, but a valuable asset to the protagonists.
- Elva in Inheritance Cycle fulfills this trope pretty well. She's just your standard little girl with disturbing eyes, an odd silver mark on her forehead (from a dragon no less), and the ability to sense the pain and how to deal with it of everyone around her for an unspecified distance. It doesn't help that until almost halfway through Brisingr, she can't ignore everyone else's pain and it hurts worse if she tries to not help them.
- Tess Hauser from Blind Lake, a young girl who was Touched by Vorlons.
- Anathema Device from Good Omens, thanks to being direct descendant of the only 100% accurate prophetess in human history and a studious scholar of her prophecies. She is also a minor psychic herself.
- Gretel from Bitter Seeds is a villainous version.
- Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) is often retouched to fit this trope in fanfiction.
- Trance Gemini in Andromeda.
- Maia Rutledge in The 4400.
- Nancy in the "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" episodes of Doctor Who.
- Sanjog Iyer in Heroes, who seems to vacillate between being an ordinary boy and an all-seeing Spirit Advisor in the course of a single scene. As is usual for this trope, despite the earth-shaking importance of Sanjog's insights, nobody ever just grabs the little blighter painfully by the ear and orders him to explain himself clearly for a change.
- Heroes also has Molly Walker, whose power is to know where a person is by concentrating on him/her, and for some reason she feels the need to be all cryptic about it. She returns as a Waif Prophet later in the season (her illness must be cured before she can use her powers again.)
- Walt on LOST, which is frustratingly never explained.
- Power Rangers Wild Force had such a child: he couldn't remember who he was but found people and things from the battle 3,000 years ago strangely familiar, and occasionally saved the day with New Powers as the Plot Demands. Turns out he's the spirit of a Humongous Mecha from three thousand years ago and was testing the heroes all along.
- There's an unnamed Oracular Urchin in two episodes of the second series of Torchwood — in "Dead Man Walking", she tells Jack where to find the Resurrection Gauntlet's mate and cautions him against using it with a surprisingly literal Tarot reading, and in the series-of-flashbacks-episode "Fragments", it's revealed how Jack met her and found out that eventually he would meet the Doctor, but not for another hundred years.
- River from Firefly.
- The "Waif Child" from the Are You Afraid of the Dark? movie "The Tale of the Silver Sight" fits this trope. Though as the evil creator of the titular Artifact of Doom, he has reason to be knowledgable.
- In The 10th Kingdom, the little girl in Kissing Town. Later revealed to be the spirit of Snow White.
- Madison in Harper's Island
- Radar O'Reilly of Mash could strangely anticipate incoming helicopters, phone calls, and orders people were about to give him. Downplayed in the book, where he simply has unusually good hearing.
- Literary/Musical Theater example - Edgar from Ragtime has intermittent prophetic moments, but they are never even remotely clear until after the foreseen event. It's a little creepy.
- Cha Dawn in the Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Expansion Pack is a 10-year old kid with all the wisdom of a 90-year old elder, capable of communicating with the aliens.
- Trenia from Makai Kingdom is one of these, although at first glance she appears to be an extremely ditzy Cloudcuckoolander. She even goes as far as telling Pram (an actual oracle) that there are things about the Netherworld even she isn't supposed to know. Pram would probably qualify, too, aside from being Really 700 Years Old and a Deadpan Snarker.
- Pram was only faking being an oracle by sneaking looks at the Sacred Tome.
- Justified in that Trenia is the Sacred Tome.
- Sybill from Alundra
- It could be argued that she is a Waif Prophet instead, due to her being a child, and having something that is like a mental illness, after a fashion.
- In Final Fantasy X, a spiritual Oracular Urchin follows the main character, usually in his dreams, making random appearances to deliver a message, albeit usually not a very useful one, with the exception of the game's revelation. Eventually, he is revealed to be the fayth of the dragon aeon, Bahamut.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, Saint Ajora's claim to fame was, shortly after being born (translation error), he pointed out a well that would spread disease, which it did. He then went on to found a religion. Of course, that was apparently all a lie of the Glabados Church, and Ajora's just this guy, you know? This guy with ambitions of godhood.
- Nephilim from Xenosaga.
- This fact makes hardly any sense, considering the fact that Nephilim is really from the past and not the future. Originally from Canada during the era of Lost Jerusalem, Earth, for those who don't know, Nephilim was the first to disappear when the system went haywire during an experiment with the Zohar.
- Nephilim is in touch with U-DO, a being from another dimension, and can see many things which the protagonists do not
- Thearesa from Fable.
- This role is filled by Pharos in Persona 3, an early embodiment of Ryoji, the Appriser who will summon Nyx to end all life on Earth. He appears before the main character because the Appriser was sealed into his body ten years ago.
- Janus in Chrono Trigger. "The black winds howl. One among you... will shortly perish."
- The Forecaster in Fallout: New Vegas, a psychic child who can be paid to reveal his prophecies regarding the Mojave, the upcoming Battle of Hoover Dam and The Courier.
- In Fire Emblem Elibe, Ninian was this in the past. More exactly, she was this as the Shrine Dragon. Her little brother Nils fits in a little more after he takes over Hannah's work.
- Aht in Radiant Historia. It's revealed early on that she's a shaman with the power to see souls and talk to the dead, and she occasionally lets slip hints that she knows much more about what's going on than she's saying.