The Folklore of the Kelpie



Every culture has some form of animal lore, from the fox to the wolf to the coyote.  Stories can be found telling tales of shifters who prowl around searching for their next victim.  In Scotland, they have such a creature, and it is known as the Kelpie.

The kelpie of Scottish folklore is a water horse that has ties with the realm of faerie.  It is considered malevolent, however, and could generally be identified by its constantly dripping mane.  In most cases, the kelpie appears as a beautiful horse standing near or in running water, and awaits weary travelers, hoping to entice them onto their saddles.  Though this is where it becomes deadly, as it is said that once touched, magic causes the skin of the rider to adhere to the kelpie, thus making it easy for the kelpie to drown its victims.  Of course, if that wasn’t enough to make you cautious, the kelpie also has the ability to shift, and when it does it chooses the form of a beautiful woman wearing green who entices men into water, drowning them of course.

kelpie 3

As with all stories of faerie creatures, there is also advantages in captureing one as the kelpie is said to possess the strength of ten horses and have the endurance well beyond that.  However, in order to control it, one must have control over its bridle. Otherwise there is no stopping this creature whose tail — when smacked on water — sounds like a thunderclap and causes floods to make it easier to drag their victims beneath the surface.  

kelpie 2Be wary travellers, when traversing the countryside alone.  Keep your eyes peeled for a saddled horse dripping water. For it may not be a horse but a kelpie in disguise, waiting to drown its next unsuspecting victim.

For more reading on the kelpie (sources):

Leave a Reply