Kelpies – Scottish Legends

Well, It’s been a long time since I have posted! But, in short, I had a couple of traumatic things happen and could easily have died twice. No, it wasn’t COVID, but I’m happy to get back to writing more. Here’s a quick post to get me back into the swing of things!

I am going to focus a little more on folklore today.  As a faery witch, I always enjoy learning about different faeries in different cultures. Every culture has them in some form. One of my favorites has always been the Kelpie.  I remember there was a minor character in the “Tithe” series by Holly Black that was one of my favorites growing up, so the fascination most likely started there. I’ve always enjoyed the somewhat creepy imagery of the water horses.

The Kelpie is of Scotish origin, and is thought to be a more malevolent faery…but I like to think that perhaps, they are just misunderstood? Maybe not… There are many stories of travelers and children who reached out to pet or ride the kelpie, while he was disguised as innocent, and became immediately stuck to the creature, who would then drown them…and maybe even eat them.  A Complete Guide to Fairies & Magical being describes the Kelpie as, “Scottish Long Fanged Water Demons who are expert shape shifters, associated with Scottish Loch, especially Loch Ness. They are sometimes described as Water Horses who lure riders and then drag them beneath the waters; and are also known to appear as handsome youths, except for their seaweed hair.

Some legends also say that if one can bridle the Kelpie, the Kelpie will have to do their bidding, and that they have the strength of 10 horses. As tempting as that may have been (or may be), this doesn’t normally turn out well for the humans.  It always makes me sad, really. The thought of humans trying to control faeries.  I wrote about Selkies in a previous post, and they have a similar way of being controlled.  Don’t try and tame something wild and free. Respect it!  Plus, we all know that bending someone’s will is bad karma, right? Supposedly, anyone who did manage to bridle the Kelpie ended up cursed in one way or another. 

Illustration by Martin McKenna for the book and recording Misterstourworm and the Kelpie’s Gift

“The Fairy Bible” also says that the Kelpie may be the rider between worlds, guiding Shamans on their journey.  So, this leans towards my thought of them just being a little misunderstood.

As I feel about much of the spiritual world, their ideas of “right” and “wrong” just don’t match up with ours. Spiritual beings, especially The Fae, have their own moral compasses and what may seem wrong to us, isn’t to them.   Respect & honor that, and learn to open your mind and heart…and also make sure not to offend them.  

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