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Literature

Scottish Folklore

Folklore is the concept of tales, legends or superstitions current among a particular population. Folklore is a part of the oral history of a particular culture. Scotland's folklore is very diverse and can be a little complicated to understand at times.

There are a few popular folklore creatures in Scotland, such as: the Banshee; the Brownie; the Kelpie; the Selkie; and the Trowes.

The Banshee

The Banshees are little fairies who are usually dressed in
white and often have long fair hair, which they brush with a
silver comb. It is said that if you hear a banshee someone
in the family will die, and if you see one in person you
will die. The tale started many years ago, when a citizen
died, a woman would sing a traditional lament or modern Irish
caoinadh at his or her funeral.

The Brownie

A Brownie is a legendary elf popular in folklore around
Scotland. The Brownies are said to inhabit houses and aid
in tasks around the house. They do not like being seen and
mostly come out at night and in exchange they get small
gifts or a little food.

The Kelpie

The Kelpie is a known to be a shape-shifting water horse
that is believed to huant the rivers and lochs of Scotland.
He sometimes appears as a hairy man who would freighten
travelers, but mostly he appears as an beautiful tame
horse standing by a river or stream. The Kelpie is said to
warn of forthcoming storms by wailing and howling.

The Selkies

Selkies are known to be creatures in the Irish and Scottish
mythology that can transform themselves from seals to humans.
The stories involving selkies are usually tragic
romantic ones, where the selkie falls in love with a human,
but after a while the selkie becomes restless and returns
to sea. Sometimes the humans will not know that their lovers
are selkies and they will just wake-up one morning to find
them lost forever.

The Trowes

A trowe is a myth of the Orkney Islands, which is based on
the Scandinavian troll. Trowe is Scots for troll. They are
said to be naughty and small creatures who live in corners
and mounds. Sea trowes live under water and are very lazy,
they are nocturnal and even when they come out at night,
they are invisible to many.