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Friday, July 1, 2011

The Kelpie

"It was Arthur who heard the horse first. The crashing waves subdued most other sounds, so it must have been quite a loud neigh for Arthur to hear it. He turned around suddenly and then tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see a magnificent stallion standing by the waters edge. Its silky black fur was dripping with water and it was prancing proudly, watching us from afar. It stood out dramatically against the white sand and looked powerful and statuesque. We found our selves wandering slowly towards it, just as we had done with the seals, which had, we now noticed, disappeared from the beach."

The kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic and Scottish legend. It is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland and indeed, the name may be from Scottish Gaelic cailpeach or colpach. Its appearance is strong, powerful, and breathtaking, while its hide was supposed to be black (though in some stories it was white), and it may appear to be a lost pony. Just like at Fidden Beach, where Arthur and Bakky spot the magnificent creature, it can be identified by its constantly dripping mane. Its skin is like that of a seal, smooth but is as cold as death when touched. 

Kelpie's have been known to transform into beautiful women to lure men into their traps. The song about poor old Robbie McDonald in Fionnphort Inn comes to mind.

It is understood that the nostril of the horse is what creates the illusion of grandeur. The Kelpie creates illusions to keep itself hidden, keeping only its eye above water to scout the surface, much like the illusion of a fish's pupil. 

It is wise to keep away from them. The water horse is a common form of the kelpie, said to lure humans, especially children, into the water to drown and eat them. It performs this act by encouraging children to ride on its back. Once its victims fall into its trap, the kelpie's skin becomes sticky, like glue and it bears them into the water, dragging them to the bottom and devouring them—except the heart or liver. 

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