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Scottish Folktales


Santraigh

THERE was a herd's wife in the island of Sanntraigh, and she had a kettle. A woman of peace would come every day to seek the kettle. She would not say a word when she came, but she would catch hold of the kettle. When she would catch the kettle, the woman of the house would say--

"A smith is able to make
Cold iron hot with coal.
The due of a kettle is bones, Read More »

Santraigh

THERE was a herd's wife in the island of Sanntraigh, and she had a kettle. A woman of peace would come every day to seek the kettle. She would not say a word when she came, but she would catch hold of the kettle. When she would catch the kettle, the woman of the house would say--

"A smith is able to make
Cold iron hot with coal. Read More »

St Mary’s Loch

James Hogg (born 1770 – died 21 November 1835) ‘The Ettrick Shepherd’ wrote the following concerning a water cow that was said to have lived in the 5 km long St Mary’s Loch, which is the largest natural loch in the Borders. Read More »

Strange Lands By Andrew L Paciorek

Strange Lands

Andy Paciorek is one of Mysterious Britain & Irelands favourite contributors and his amazing artwork can be found illustrating articles throughout this site. Read More »

Tamlin of Carterhaugh Wood

Carterhaugh Wood is the setting for the tale of Tamlin (Tam Lin, Tamas Lin, Tamlane, Tam Lane or Tam Lien) who was in bondage to the Fairy Queen and guardian of the wood. Maidens were warned by their King not to enter Carterhaugh Wood as Tamlin would take either one of their possessions (a ring or green mantle) or their virginity. Read More »

The Blue Men of the Minch

Folklore tells of a tribe of supernatural sea creatures called the Blue Men of the Minch, who used to inhabit the stretch of water known as the Minch, between Lewis, the Shiant Islands and Long Island. Read More »

The Bogle

THIS is a freakish spirit, who delights rather to perplex and frighten mankind than either to serve or seriously to hurt them. Shellycoat, a spirit who resides in the waters, and has given his name to many a rock and stone the Scottish coast, belongs to the class of bogles. 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 Kelpie of Loch Garve

Kelpie

The story of the Kelpie of Loch Garve (so it's technically an Each Uisge, but we'll keep it as Kelpie for this story) tells of a Kelpie that lived at the depths of the loch with his wife.  Now the Ke 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 Laird of Balmachie's Wife

This tale involves a fairy abduction and replacement by a changeling, in this case a Laird's wife, a rather larger burden than the usual child. The original story can be found in Folklore and Legends of Scotland by W.W Gribbins. 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 Treasure of Largo Law

The area around Largo Law is associated with many legends. The actual hill of Largo Law is volcanic in origin, and was said to have been created when the Devil dropped a huge boulder. Part of the outcrop on the top of Largo Law is known as the Devil's chair, and has seven steps leading up to it. 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 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 »

The Witch Of Laggan

A hero celebrated for his hatred of witchcraft, was warming himself in his hunting hut, in the forest of Gaick, in Badenoch. His faithful hounds, fatigued with the morning chase, lay stretched on the turf by his side,--his gun, that would not miss, reclined in the neuk of the bothy,--the skian dhu of the sharp edge hung by his side, and these alone constituted his company. Read More »

The Witches Of Delnabo

IN the time of my grandmother, the farm of Delnabo was proportionally divided between three tenants. Read More »

Thom And Willie

THOM and Willie, two young fisher-mates of Lunna, in Shetland, were rivals for the hand of the fair Osla, daughter of Jarm. Now it so happened that, one October afternoon, they took their hand-lines and went out fishing together in their boat. Read More »

Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer, was a famous Scottish prophet who is also known as Thomas of Ercildoune, Lord Learmont and True Thomas. There can be no doubt that he was actually a real person living in the thirteenth century, as documents exist signed by him as Thomas Rymour de Ercieldoune. Read More »



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