I’ve always wanted to believe the Loch Ness monster is real, so researching this post about Kelpies has been fun 🙂
I was going to wait until we got to the letter W … but I’m shouting out a huge appreciation to Wiki for their fabulous collection of information about EVERYTHING. Wiki is often a fantastic starting place for research, and its a not-for-profit organisation. I know everyone uses it…if you haven’t already donated for it’s upkeep you can do it here.
Now back to the letter K 😀
Kelpie is the Scottish name for a shape-shifting water spirit living in lochs and pools. In folklore it’s usually described as a horse able to adopt human form, usually a handsome male, but occasionally female.
Almost every body of water in Scotland has a kelpie story, the most famous being Loch Ness!
Frightening stories about kelpie’s helped to keep children away from dangerous stretches of water. But the mythological creatures are so wide-spread perhaps they served some other useful purpose. Or perhaps the Loch Ness monster is really there, at the bottom of Loch Ness and rearing her head in an occasional mist for a look around!
Kelpies aren’t just scottish. The Welsh ceffyl dŵr and the Manx cabbyl-ushtey are water horse creatures. The Australian bunyip is a kelpie and it’s a large creature (believed to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes) from Aboriginal mythology.
The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba people of South-Eastern Australia. However, the creature is part of traditional Aboriginal beliefs and stories throughout Australia.
As European settlement spread across the country, people started writing down the various stories. I love this depiction – apart from the soon-to-be-dead body that is – it looks rather like a large water dog 🙂
He just needs some dinner…
My favourite mythological creature is still a dragon, but I think these kelpies could be coming second 😀