Friday, 26 September 2014

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - The Legend of the Kelpie

The Kelpie by Herbert James Draper

Many countries have legends of the waterhorse, such as the Germanic Neck, the Bäckahästen in Scandanavia, but the most famous is the Kelpie which infests lakes and rivers in Scotland. Indeed many Scottish bodies of water have their own attached Kelpie legends and stories.

Most often the Kelpie manifests as a riderless horse at the edge of the waters - a beautiful ownerless steed, often complete with bridle and saddle. Most often they appear as a black horse, although some are white, and some have tell-tale signs of their otherworldly nature, such as water weed or serpents in their mane.

The mystery horse appears to friendly and docile, however if some one should decide to mount the creature they will find themselves stuck firmly to the water horse and the beast will gallop off, plunging back into the waters to drown its prey. According to legend some escaped their doom only by slicing off their stuck fingers or hands.... But most... well, all that was ever found of them was only their bloody entrails surfacing later after the kelpie had finished its feast....

However kelpies could also shapeshift, taking on human form - often appearing as handsome young men or occasionally maidens - usually to lure the prey but sometime to seek a mate....

Kelpies could be driven away with holy symbols or extreme violence - or a combination of both - one legend tells of a brave lad escaping the Kelpie by hitting it with a Bible!. They could also be killed by silver or heated iron and were said to dissolve into a starchy jelly when slain.

However if you could get our hands on the Kelpie's bridle then you could have power of the beast. But beware, the creature would extract a terrible vengeance for being bound so.... Best leave any strange horses by the waterside well alone...

Gutt på hvit hest by Theodor Kittelsen

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