Coming up on DotW…
On Wednesday, I will finally have the last episode of Demon-hunting Adventures for you.
And come back next Saturday for another episode of the most popular DotW feature, Demonspotting.
There are water-horses all over the world, though the British Isles seem rife with them. In Orkney, there’s the Nuggle and the Tangie. In Iceland, the Nykur. In Wales, the Ceffyl Dŵr. In England, the Kow… It goes on, but I won’t. (Partly because I might check out some of these other liquid equines someday.
In Scotland, the fresh water water-horse is the Kelpie.
Respectfully stolen from Encyclopedia Mythica (www.pantheon.org)
Mostly, Kelpie (Most often male. Don’t much hear about female ones.) goes out finds someone who looks like he might need a horse, and looks enticing. When the horseless person gets on the Kelpie’s back, its skin turns glue-y and the rider can’t get off. The Kelpie then rides back into the loch, or lake, or stream, or wherever it was from. In some stories the Kelpie is carnivorous and consumes the person. I can’t see why else it would do this, except to be a bit of a jerk.
Some say the Kelpie has a special fondness for doing this to children, and can even lengthen its body to fit up to twenty on its back at a time.
The Kelpie will also hide in the water, just waiting for someone to wander alone by the bank, then pop out and snatch them.
There are stories of Kelpies who can shape-shift into gorgeous young men with a taste for female flesh (uh, in the figurative sense, not literally). If the woman discovers the true identity of her lover, he will drag her into the loch with him. In one tale, a clever woman actually earns such a Kelpie’s love and he takes a potion that makes him human for her.
You can catch a Kelpie and make him work for you if you’re particularly sadistic. When caught in a bridle marked with a cross, he will do the work of ten horses in a single day and can carry a rider all day without tiring. But at the end of the day, you’ll have to feed it one human. If you’re the only human around, that’s you.
To avoid the Kelpie, don’t approach any wandering horse, no matter how friendly looking. In fact, the friendlier it looks, the more your warning signals should go off.
Kelpies are particularly powerful in November.
Do not cook meat near running water. The smell will draw the Kelpie.
Carry some still water. Kelpies love running water, but hate still water and can’t be exposed to it.
- Harry Mountain, The Celtic Encyclopedia, Published by Universal-Publishers, 1998
A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits
by Carol K. Mack, Dinah Mack