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Scottish myths and legends

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Black Donald

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In Scottish folklore, Black Donald is the Devil. It is said that the Devil is good at all jobs except for one, tailoring, because when the Devil is among the tailors they close up shop so he has never learned to baste. He can take many disguises including an old man in a black suit but whatever disguise he takes, he's always giving himself away because of his cloven feet which cannot be shod.

Boobrie

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A fabulous water-bird of Scottish Highland folk belief. The creature haunts lakes and salt wells.

Brownie

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Good-natured, invisible brown elves or household goblins who live in farmhouses and other country dwellings in Scotland. While people are asleep, they perform their labors for them. They are known to be protective creatures and they become attached to a certain place of family. Even if the family should move to another continent, the brownies will accompany them in their migration. If offered payment for their services or if they are treated badly, they disappear and are never seen again.

The little hairy brownies, with their flat faces and pinhole nostrils, are not very attractive, but their happy smiles and extrovert characters makes up for that. The innocent nature of children allows them to see the brownies, but disbelieving adults will never get a glimpse of them. This however does not prevent the brownies from helping adults in countless minor ways.

Clootie

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The Scottish name for the Devil. The name comes from cloot, meaning one division of a cleft hoof. A common variant of the epithet is Old Cloots. There is a piece of land, called Clootie's Croft, that is left untilled or found untillable as a gift to the Devil. Another provincial English and Scottish euphemism for the Devil is Horny or Old Horny.

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing. :)

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Fachan

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The Fachan is a very ugly creature from the western highlands of Scotland. He is portrayed with one leg, one arm and one eye.

Fionn

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A Scottish/Pictish magician, warrior, poet who almost achieved deity status. He was renowned as a destroyer of giants and other Celtic monsters. Fionn was a Scottish version of the Irish legendary hero Finn mac Cumhail. His followers were known as the Feine which is a close variation of the Irish Fenians or Fianna.

Ghillie Dhu

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The Ghillie Dhu is a solitary Scottish elf who lives in birches. His clothes are woven from leaves and moss.

Kelpie

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In old Scotland, the Kelpie is a treacherous water devil who lurks in lakes and rivers. It usually assumes the shape of a young horse. When a tired traveler stops by a lake to rest or to have a drink, he would see a horse, apparently peacefully grazing. When he mounts the horse, the Kelpie dives into the water and drowns its victim. Occasionally it has helped millers by keeping the mill-wheel going at night.

Lothian

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In Scotland, Lothian traditionally takes its name from King Lot, or Lothus Llew, the brother-in-law of Arthur, and father of Mordred.

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Monster of Loch Ness

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A legendary animal which lives in the depths of Loch Ness, a lake in the Highlands of northern Scotland. The size of this monster, Nessie as it is fondly called, is 12-15 m (40-50 ft) and it has a long, snake-like neck. It is popularly believed to be female.

The sightings date back to 565 CE when the Irish Saint Columba claimed he saw the Niseag (the Celtic name for Nessie) when he attended a burial for a man who had been bitten to death by the monster. While it has been sighted in the subsequent centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the sightings become more frequent. The most famous encounter was perhaps in the summer of 1933. On that day Mr. and Mrs. Spicer, returning from a trip to London, saw a monster cross the road, with an animal in his jaws, and submerge in the lake. This incident drew the attention of the world press and Nessie became an international phenomena. There have been many expeditions since, but none as successful as to prove its existence. Also the many sightings, photos and films have been inconclusive.

Red Cap

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Red Cap is a thoroughly evil creature. He is a short, stocky old man with long gray hair and claws in stead of hands. He lives on the Scottish Border in ancient ruins of castles, especially in those with a bloody history of war and murder. He owes his name to the fact that he wears a red hat, which is colored by the blood of his victims. Red Cap moves with remarkable speed, despite the fact that he wears iron boots. He can overcome even the strongest man, unless the intended victim remembers to quote a few words from the Bible.

Scotia

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Also Skadi, or Cailleach. She was the Scottish/Pictish "Mother of All" or the primordial goddess for which Scotland was named. Often depicted as an old hag with the tusks and/or teeth of a wild boar.

Selkie

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The shy Selkies are marine creatures in the shape of a seal. They can be found near the islands of Orkney and Shetland. A female can shed her skin and come ashore as a beautiful woman. When a man finds the skin, he can force the Selkie to be a good, if somewhat sad, wife. Should she ever recover the skin, she will immediately return to sea, leaving her husband behind. The male Selkies are responsible for storms and also for the sinking of ships, which is their way of avenging the hunting of seals.

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Shellycoat

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The Shellycoat is a Scottish bogeyman who haunts the rivers and streams. He is covered with shells, which rattle when he moves, announcing his presence. He enjoys misleading wanderers and often puts them on the wrong track. The Shellycoat is playful, but rather harmless. Generally, the creatures who inhabit rivers are less dangerous than those who live in lakes and seas.

Sidhe

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Sidhe (pronounced 'shee') literally means "people of the (fairy) hills". It is the Gaelic name for the fairies in both Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. Usually these fairies are attracted to those who are beautiful as well as wealthy.

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing. :)

Your welcome! :)

If anyone know of some other Scottish mythical creatures, please add them here. :)

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Selkie

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The shy Selkies are marine creatures in the shape of a seal. They can be found near the islands of Orkney and Shetland. A female can shed her skin and come ashore as a beautiful woman. When a man finds the skin, he can force the Selkie to be a good, if somewhat sad, wife. Should she ever recover the skin, she will immediately return to sea, leaving her husband behind. The male Selkies are responsible for storms and also for the sinking of ships, which is their way of avenging the hunting of seals.

I discovered this when I was writing my fan fic (which I have since quit doing - lost the inspiration). Anyway, it thrilled me when I ran across this story of the name Selkie . . . it fit perfectly with Nim's Island and the fac tthat Gerry is Scottish. I incorporated it in my story. :D

Thanks, Dani!

Lisa

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LOL Not worst than any other culture, I would say. We all have our myths and legends.

There are some very interesting stories linked to these creatures. Here's one. :)

The Scottish Brownie

THE Scottish Brownie formed a class of beings distinct in habit and disposition from the freakish and mischievous elves. He was meagre, shaggy, and wild in his appearance.

In the daytime he lurked in remote recesses of the old houses which he delighted to haunt; and in the night sedulously employed himself in discharging any laborious task which he thought might be acceptable to the family to whose service he had devoted himself. But the Brownie does not drudge from the hope of recompense. On the contrary, so delicate is his attachment that the offer of reward, but particularly of food, infallibly occasions his disappearance for ever. It is told of a Brownie, who haunted a Border family now extinct, that the lady having fallen unexpectedly in labour, and the servant, who was ordered to ride to Jedburgh for the sage-femme, showing no great alertness in setting out, the familiar spirit slipt on the great-coat of the lingering domestic, rode to the town on the laird’s best horse, and returned with the midwife en croupe. During the short space of his absence the Tweed, which they must necessarily ford, rose to a dangerous height. Brownie, who transported his charge with all rapidity, was not to be stopped by this obstacle. He plunged in with the terrified old lady, and landed her in safety where her services were wanted. Having put the horse into the stable (where it was afterwards found in a woful plight), he proceeded to the room of the servant whose duty he had discharged, and, finding him just in the act of drawing on his boots, administered to him a most merciless drubbing with his own horsewhip. Such an important service excited the gratitude of the laird, who, understanding that Brownie had been heard to express a wish to have a green coat, ordered a vestment of that colour to be made and left in his haunts. Brownie took away the green coat, but was never seen more. We may suppose that, tired of his domestic drudgery, he went in his new livery to join the fairies.

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thanks for that inof, interesting.

I have a lot of books on Celtic Myth and poems and astrology so I find stuff like this fascinating

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