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Scottish Fairies


The Cailleach

From high mountain pass, exhaling ice breath, (2).
Comes Cailleach clothed in summers death.
Cold fingers search under starlight’s lantern
Staff cracks dew to frosted mantle, (3).
In the stags hoary frosted bark,
Riding with wolves on the cloak of the dark. (4).
From mountain, hillock, stone and spring (5). Read More »

The Fairies' Hill

According to Lord Archibald Campbell in his 'Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, Argyllshire Series, vol. 1 (1889); There is a green hill above Kintraw, known as the Fairies' Hill, of which the following story is told. Read More »

The Fairy And The Bible-Reader

ON a still Sabbath evening in summer, an old man was seated, reading his Bible in the open air, at a quiet spot upon the Ross-shire coast. A beautiful little lady, clad in green, drew near, and addressing him in a silvery voice, sought to know if for such as she Holy Scripture held out any hope of salvation. Read More »

The Fisherman And The Merman

OF mermen and merwomen many strange stories are told in the Shetland Isles. Beneath the depths of the ocean, according to these stories, an atmosphere exists adapted to the respiratory organs of certain beings, resembling in form the human race, possessed of surpassing beauty, of limited supernatural powers, and liable to the incident of death. Read More »

The Gloaming Bucht

"SPEAKIN' o' fairies," quoth Robbie Oliver (an old shepherd, who lived at Southdean in Jedwater, and died about 1830), "I can tell ye about the vera last fairy that was seen hereaway. When my faither, Peter Oliver, was a young man, he lived at Hyndlee, an' herdit the Brocklaw. Read More »

The Isle Of Pabaidh

THERE came a woman of peace (a fairy) the way of the house of a man in the island of Pabaidh, and she had the hunger of motherhood on her. He gave her food, and that went well with her. She stayed that night. Read More »

The Kelpy of Morphie

In 'Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs' (1893), James Mackinlay tells the following tale of a captured water horse. 'A pool in the North Esk, in Forfarshire, called the Ponage or Pontage Pool, was at one time the home of a water-horse. This creature was captured by means of a magical bridle, and kept in captivity for some time. Read More »

The Mermaid Of Knockdolion

'THE old house of Knockdolion stood near the water of Girvan, with a black stone at the end of it. A mermaid used to come from the water at night, and taking her seat upon this stone, would sing for hours, at the same time combing her long yellow hair. Read More »

The Mermaid Wife

A STORY is told of an inhabitant of Unst, who, in walking on the sandy margin of a voe, saw a number of mermen and mermaids dancing by moonlight, and several seal-skins strewed beside them on the ground. At his approach they immediately fled to secure their garbs, and, taking upon themselves the form of seals, plunged immediately into the sea. Read More »

The Poor Man Of Peatlaw

THE following is an account of a fairy frolic said to have happened late in the last century:--The victim of elfin sport was a poor man, who, being employed in pulling heather upon Peatlaw, a hill in Selkirkshire, had tired of his labour, and laid him down to sleep upon a fairy ring. Read More »

The Two Young Ploughmen

"You have been often at the Gatehouse," said Johnny Nicholson; "well, you'll mind a flat piece of land near Enrick farm; well, that was once a large loch; a long way down from there is still the ruin of a mill, which at that time was fed from this loch. Read More »

The Undreamed Region: Barrows In Folklore & Archaeology

Hills, mounds and burial sites. Places which have a timeless allure. Such places can be seen and regarded as mythically liminal, a place that it is not a place. A place outside of time. A place where the living freely walk with the dead. Barrows are just such places. Read More »

The Water Horse Bridle of Nether Lochaber

In Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs (1893), James Mackinlay quotes an anecdote by Rev Dr Stewart, 'A drover, whose home was in Nether Lochaber, was returning from a market at Pitlochry by way of the Moor of Rannoch. Night came on; but, as the moon was bright, he continued his journey without difficulty. On reaching Lochanna Cuile, he sat down to refresh himself with bread, cheese, and milk. Read More »

Tomnahurich Hill

Tomnahurich Hill

Tomnahurich Hill - which means hill of the yews - is a rounded tree covered hillock on the outskirts of Inverness, the hill has a wealth of traditions associated with it, and it is famed as an abode of the fairies. A modern cemetery now covers the hill. Read More »

Touching the Elements

In the following tale which appeared in 'Some Folk-Tales and Legends of Shetland (1920)' by John Nicolson, the 'elements' referred to are the bread and wine of the Eucharist and I suppose it is supposed to show the reputed strength of Christianity over pagan fairy magic. Read More »

Trow

A Trow is a fairy creature from the folklore of Shetland and Orkney, similar to the mainlands elf, troll or goblin. It is said these musical and mischevious folk could be found living under the earth in mounds as well as in the sea surrounding the Shetland and Orkney. Read More »

Werewolves of Loch Langavat

According to folklore, a family of werewolves used to live on an island on Loch Langavat. The story suggests that the now dead werewolves would return should their graves be found and disturbed.

Will o' the Wisp

Will o' the Wisp

The Will o' the Wisp is the most common name given to the mysterious lights that were said to lead travellers from the well-trodden paths into treacherous marshes. The tradition exists with slight variation throughout Britain, the lights often bearing a regional name. Read More »



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