- "Once upon a time, long ago, the Koroks took on human forms, but when they came to live on the sea, they took these shapes. Now they fear people... but to me, they will ever be my cherished little children."
- — Great Deku Tree
The Koroks, also known as the Forest Spirits, are a race from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Their home is the Forest Haven, and they evolved from the Kokiri species.
Most of the Koroks spend most of their lives far away from Forest Haven, planting the seeds of the Great Deku Tree; they only return to Forest Haven once a year for the Korok Ceremony, held when the Great Deku Tree bears the seeds that they will transplant near and far across the Kingdom of Hyrule. The only Koroks who do not leave are Makar, who plays his little leaf violin at the ceremony in preparation of becoming the Sage of Wind, and Hollo, who studies potion-making to concoct brews from Boko Baba Seeds.
In Breath of the Wild, the Koroks live in Korok Forest under the Great Deku Tree at the center of the Great Hyrule Forest region. During the side quest "The Lost Pilgrimage", it is shown that young Koroks take the Korok Trial to reach the Daag Chokah Shrine located in northwest portion of the Great Hyrule Forest which is part of the Lost Woods as a rite of passage. It is also implied that some Koroks like Tasho and Oaki are related and that some of them may actually be the grandchildren of the Great Deku Tree.
While Koroks are not shown to be capable of fighting themselves, they can craft shields and weapons much like the Kokiri. They use forest materials such as wood and vines to create them such as the Forest Dweller's Bow, Forest Dweller's Shield, Forest Dweller's Spear, and Forest Dweller's Sword. Most of the background Koroks in Korok Forest are shown to flee from Link when he walks near them, while the ones aware of Link's status as a Champion and the chosen hero treat him with respect. It is also implied that they aided the Great Deku Tree in guarding the Master Sword until Link returned to reclaim it.
Koroks have small bodies that are about the size of a young human child. These bodies appear to be made of wood, and their faces are marked by what are either leaf-like structures or masks of varying colors, shapes, and sizes. Due to their light frame, they can easily fly with the assistance of a special sprout on the tops of their heads that is used like a helicopter's dorsal propeller, though they are only capable of flying for a short period of time.
In Breath of the Wild, Koroks are resilient as they can be found all over Hyrule and can endure a variety of conditions from desert heat, cold, and even the scorching volcanic temperatures of Death Mountain. Some Koroks like Chio and Hestu can be taller than Hylians like Link. According to Hestu, people cannot usually see Koroks, Link is a rare Hylian capable of seeing them.
The Koroks were once the human-shaped Kokiri, but when Hyrule was transformed into the Great Sea, they took on a more plant-like appearance. The Great Deku Tree says in the game, "Once upon a time, long ago, the Koroks took on human forms, but when they came to live on the sea, they took these shapes." Fado, the Sage of Wind and a Kokiri, is closely connected to Makar, his replacement as sage. Interestingly, the Kokiri never grow up, and the Great Deku Tree refers to the Koroks as "my cherished little children". The Koroks also have an optimistic, perhaps childlike disposition, a trait they share with the Kokiri. Similarly to the Kokiri, Koroks do not take lightly to outsiders, and in many cases are afraid of them.
The Koroks are first encountered by Link in Forest Haven, hiding in the branches of the Great Deku Tree. After Link defeats the ChuChu attacking the Great Deku Tree he is introduced to the Koroks who come out of hiding. Aware that Ganondorf has returned, the Great Deku Tree agrees to give Link Farore's Pearl after the Korok Ceremony, however he is informed that Korok Makar had ended up in the Forbidden Woods and asks Link to travel their and rescue him. After the Deku Tree gives Link the Deku Leaf, the Koroks help by teaching him how to fly with it and direct him to an area where he can jump off to fly to the Forbidden Woods. Link reaches the Forbidden Woods which he is informed used to be home to the Koroks' but was now overrun by monsters. Link manages to rescue Makar, who had been swallowed by the plant monster Kalle Demos. After rescuing Makar, Link is given Farore's Pearl following the Koroks ceremony. Most of the Koroks leave to plant the seeds to grow Forest Trees on various islands across the Great Sea while Makar and Hollo remain behind in Forest Haven with the Great Deku Tree. During his travels, Link learns that the Forest Trees planted by the Koroks are withering and require Forest Water to grow healthy. After meeting the ghost of the Kokiri Wind Sage, Fado, Link travels to Forest Haven and awakens Makar as the current Sage of Winds by conducting him to play the Wind God's Aria. Link and Makar then travel to the Wind Temple in order to restore the power to repel evil to the Master Sword. Link defeats Molgera and the power to repel evil is restored to the Master Sword.
In this game, there are numerous unnamed Koroks who can be found hiding all around Hyrule. In a similar way to a mini-game, Link can try to find them by solve different sorts of puzzle, and obtain a Korok Seed from each of them. Hestu is a giant Korok who collects the Korok Seeds found by Link for his maracas and create additional pouches in Link's inventory.
Though Koroks do not appear, they are referenced in the Wind and Earth Temples stage which features Korok Trees (the trees grown by Makar in The Wind Waker) and by the Korok Mask, a Fairy Clothing option for Companion Fairies.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a painting of a Korok can be seen inside the blacksmith's shop.