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Oracular Urchin

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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 or weak in any way — just ... different, strangely informed and, usually, very oddly plugged-in. Once you have enough background to parse what they say.

See also Fainting Seer, Mad Oracle, and Mysterious Waif. If no one believes her, she's The Cassandra.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A filler episode of the Ranma ½ anime is centered on Akane's friend Miyo, a very cute Fortune Teller who tells her how cure a mysterious illness that befalls the Tendō household.
  • 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 modeled 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 is a little old to be an "urchins" but certainly mysterious and oracular.
  • Ditto with Cheza from Wolf's Rain.
  • Spoofed by Hitomi Aasu 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.
  • My-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 Holic 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 StrikerS, 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 Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl. 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Runaway orphan Layla Miller in X-Factor (2006). "I'm Layla Miller, I know stuff." But not because she has any oracular power, but because the future version of her uploaded her memories into her.

    Films — Animation 
  • Frankenweenie has the Weird Girl, who interprets the contents of her cat's litterbox to look into the future.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Men in Black 3, has an alien named Griffin, who can see multiple futures on what can or may happen.
  • Push has Cassie, a second-generation Watcher, capable of seeing visions of possible futures and drawing them (badly). Her Triad counterpart is Pop Girl who is older.
  • In Morgan, Morgan has a bit of a precognitive ability that lets her glean information about people without having spoken to them. Lee Weathers takes it in stride but the psychoanalyst Dr. Shapiro appears to lose his cool over it and drives Morgan to the breaking point emotionally...which ends up getting him killed.

  • 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 the 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 an 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 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:
    • Kettle is an undead girl who lives in the Azath cemetery in Letheras and nonchalantly kills people she thinks are bad between providing everyone who will listen with matter-of-fact revelations of things "the dead told her", which generally relate to current events she should have no means of knowing about. Part of her uncanny insights come from her being connected to the Azath Tower and serving it by feeding it the corpses of those she kills. Silchas Ruin claims that Kettle has two souls inside of her, one of which is Forkrul Assail, though he never specifies if the other is native to her once-mortal body or another one stuffed in there after she died. Kettle vaguely remembers being both a mortal child and a Nameless One child of the Eres, who was wrapped up in prophecies. When the Azath Tower dies, Kettle starts coming back to life, but she never stops with her mysterious revelations. At the end of Reaper's Gale, Silchas kills her, and a new Azath House sprouts from her body.
    • Subverted with Grub, an boy orphan who tags along with the Malazan army. He starts out as being uncannily good at digging up bad omens and getting along with strange creatures, and both High Mage Quick Ben and the priest Banaschar comment on how he is touched by something, so the expectation develops that he will start providing prophetic speeches as soon as he learns to speak. High Mage Sinn also is convinced that Grub is not a human child but the Anthropomorphic Personification of the suffering of the refugees during the Chain of Dogs in Deadhouse Gates. But Grub grows up an absolutely normal boy with no greater insight into anything but Sinn's annoying antics, and he feels nothing unusual about himself. Only at the very end of the series does it become clear that he is a Child Prodigy in military tactics, which stems from his potentially unnatural origin in the Chain of Dogs.
  • Jojen Reed of A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • "There are dreams and dreams."
  • 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.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts: In 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 bionically-augmented warrior who fought in a Crusade in the region for its founder and died in battle 6000 years ago.
  • The 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.
  • The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray: When Devil-Boy Jack 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.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Elva is 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.
  • Good Omens: Anathema Device, 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 The Milkweed Triptych is a villainous version; a sociopath who can see decades into the future and uses this knowledge to become The Chessmaster.
  • How Cassandra is portrayed early in David Gemmell's Troy trilogy (she grows up).
  • The magic users in The Dinosaur Lords, especially youthful Aphrodite and way older than she looks Fantastic Anthropologist Karyl meets, are portrayed this way. They seem to know astoundingly much about Karyl, and even while Aphrodite makes an effort to explain herself away, the other woman is simply mysterious.
  • Worm: Lisa "Tattletale" Wilborn, whose power is more of a super-accurate Sherlock Scan than anything actually precognitive, and frequently leads to her knowing things about people that they'd rather stayed private... And sometimes things Lisa didn't want to know either.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Trance Gemini in Andromeda.
  • The 4400: Maia, who was only eight when she disappeared in 1946, has the ability to see the future. All of her visions come true and there appears to be no way to change things. The best example of this is NTAC's inability to prevent Jordan Collier's murder in "As Fate Would Have It". In "The New World", it is revealed that her ability has grown stronger since going off the promicin inhibitor to the point that she wakes up every morning knowing exactly what is going to happen. Prior to this, her power was restricted to occasional flashes. By "Gone, Part I", she has learned to focus her ability to the point that she can control when she receives visions to a certain extent.
  • 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.
  • Radar O'Reilly of M*A*S*H 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.

    Myths & Religion 

  • 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.
  • In Anyone Can Whistle, Baby Joan Schroeder is used this way to sell the alleged Rock of Limitless Water.

    Video Games 
  • 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, though 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.
  • From Fire Emblem:
    • Sophia from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, who was chosen as a priestess because of her prophetic visions.
    • Ninian from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade 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.
  • In The Secret World, the Dragon are under the grace of 'The Child', a very young prophet who rarely speaks to anyone. The one person he does speak to, who relays his statements and intent for the good of the clan, is the "Voice of the Dragon", and eventually, when she screws up terribly, she's mind-wiped and replaced.

    Visual Novels 
  • Rika Furude from Higurashi: When They Cry, by virtue of being the only human possessing Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, at least at first. Also happens to be the real main character, unlike Decoy Protagonists Keiichi, Akasaka, Shion or Rena.
  • Maria Ushiromiya from Umineko: When They Cry is an unerringly Cheerful Child, with a childlike, yet strangely accurate belief in the Golden Witch, Beatrice. As things get worse, she turns into a Creepy Child. She is actually friends with Beatrice, whose true identity is Sayo Yasuda, a servant who is also the true identity of Shannon and Kanon. It's eventually subverted since it turns out that Maria doesn't actually know as much about the true nature of the murders as she seems to; while Sayo had told Maria about her plan to "open the door to the Golden Land", Maria is too naive to realize that this is a Deadly Euphemism for blowing up the island and everyone on it.

    Western Animation 
  • Steven Universe: Sapphire's predictions and speech can get very cryptic and abrupt when she's upset, as she has a hard time focusing on the present without Ruby's influence and thus only looks into the future, sometimes even detrimentally.