Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fairy Creatures: The Kelpie

The kelpie haunts the rivers of Scotland, the lonely places. Although it might take the form of a beautiful horse, it can also shapeshift into an attractive young man and lure the unwary to a watery grave. Unfortunately, the kelpie also has the dietary habits of a crocodile. Sometimes, it appears as a tall woman dressed in green. One telling sign of a kelpie in human form is water weeds in the hair.

The Each Uisge, another water horse, inhabits lochs, and tempts potential victims by appearing as a friendly horse, then running into the water and drowning whoever decides to get on its back. November is the month when the Each Uisge is seen and it sometimes takes the form of a water serpent. (Think Lochness Monster.)

The inspiration for my monstrous kelpie in Thorn Jack came from Brian Froud's book Faeries, where it's depicted as a water demon. The kelpie in Nettle King is more the menacing shapeshifter, pretending to be a young man, emerging from a swimming pool.

Any of these water horses can be exorcised with a halter and bridle stamped with the cross, or a piece of iron. (Although these aren't objects one normally keeps on hand.) Just keep away from lonely water places!

More about the kelpie:  http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/folklore/kelpie.html

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