A two-fer day––female and male water sprites. Though each one can appear in either gender, generally, Korrigans are female and Kelpies are male.
Korrigans originated in Breton and are beautiful women with long hair, red flashing eyes, and a penchant for killing their lovers. They may be druidesses killed by Christians because they bear a particular hatred for priests and churches. Their main function is to lure men to their deaths. They can predict the future, change shape, and occasionally steal mortal children and replace them with changelings. All Hallow’s Eve is their favorite time to hunt and they lurk near dolmens waiting for victims.
Kelpies are also water sprites of some kind, but they often take the shape of a malevolent black water horse. In human form, they are usually male—tall, dark, handsome—and lethal. A kelpie can be tamed if you happen to have a bridle with a cross on it and can get it around his neck. At that point, you can force the kelpie to work for you because he will have the strength of ten horses—but he’s not going to like it one tiny bit.
One story tells of the Laird of Morphie who used a kelpie thus restrained to haul stones for the castle. When the laird released the kelpie, the kelpie cursed Morphie and all his descendants, resulting in the end of the Morphie clan.
A famous kelpie lives––where else—in Loch Ness, though such creatures have been reported in nearly every large body of water in Scotland. So strong is the Scottish connection to kelpies that this bit of art now graces a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland.
These 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, were designed by Andie Scott and completed in 2013.
The Kelpie may have inspired Scottish art as far back as the 6th century. Pictish stones dating from the 6th to 9th centuries depict what has been dubbed the Pictish Beast, a kelpie or kelpie-like creature.
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4 thoughts on “Things That Go Bump in the Night–Korrigans and Kelpies”
Korrigans do not sound like very approachable ladies; they are clearly upset with someone. I didn’t know kelpies were usually male, but I did know they were deadly 🙂
Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)
I’ve heard stories of female kelpies who lure children and men into the water, but I guess they are most often thought of as male. I thought that was odd since most water sprites seem to be female, but Scotland is like that 🙂 Thanks, Tasha.
Wow—loved this! I’d heard of both (books, you know…) but I never knew exactly what they were. I’d also heard about children being replaced with “copies” of some sort, but I didn’t realize it was corrigans (oops, korrigans) who were responsible.
Love your A2Z theme. I’ll be back for more!
Guilie @ Life In Dogs (and member of co-host Damyanti’s team, D’s Company )
Thanks, Guillie. Hope you enjoy the rest of the beasties.