Old Scottish Superstitions, Legends, and Mythical Creatures

Yesterday’s post about the origins of Hallowe’en got me into a Scottish/Irish/Celtic mindset. Today, I will write to you about some Scottish superstitions, one of many legends, and some mythical creatures. Tune in tomorrow for a post about old Irish history!

Superstitions- http://www.scotland.knoji.com/scottish-superstitions/

Unlucky Superstitions

It is unlucky to:

  • have a black cat in any room where a wake is taking place
  • lay a baby down for its first sleep in a new cot
  • see a funeral procession on the way to your wedding
  • see a pig on the way to your wedding
  • take a pig on a fishing boat (you might just want to stay away from pigs and funerals)
  • cut a young baby’s nails with scissors, because it will make them dishonest later in life
  • cross two knives on a table
  • be first-footed (unlucky for your first guest of the New Year to be) by a flat-footed person or a fair-haired person

Lucky Superstitions

It is lucky to:

  • have a rowan tree outside your house
  • place a silver in a newborn baby’s hand, because it will bring wealth to the baby later in life
  • touch iron if you see or hear evil
  • put a silver coin in your shoe if you’re a bride
  • wear a sprig of white heather

An old Scottish legend- http://www.rampantscotland.com/features/mythology.htm ; http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/western-isles/folklore/the-blue-men-of-the-minch.html

There once was a Scottish queen who was given a ring by her husband. However, the queen gave the ring to someone else- a handsome soldier. When the king found out, he found the soldier by the river bank fast asleep. The king took the ring and threw it in the water. He then challenged his wife to produce the ring. St. Mungo, who eventually became the patron saint of Glasgow, caught a salmon while fishing, and discovered that he had a ring in his belly. The future patron saint returned the ring to the queen. To this day, a salmon with a ring in its mouth is the City of Glasgow’s arms. (Such an awesome example of a wife, right?)

Mythical creatures-  http://www.scotland.org/features/item/scottish-myths-folklore-and-legends/

Kelpies- A kelpie is a supernatural water horse that was said to be around lochs and lonely rivers. The kelpie would appear to victims as a lost dark grey or white pony. It could be identified by its constantly dripping mane. This creature would entice its victims to ride on it’s back, taking them to a watery grave. Here horsey, horsey. Wait, no! Stay away, horsey! STAY AWAY!

Selkies- Selkies could transform themselves from seals to humans and back again. They apparently originated from the Orkney and Shetland Islands where selch or selk(ie) is the Scottish word for seal. (Would they come to you if you barked like a seal?)

Loch Ness Monster (Nessie)- The Loch Ness monster is perhaps Scotland’s most famous unsolved mystery. She is said to inhabit in the Scottish Highlands at Loch Ness (see what they did there). At her first recorded sighting almost 1,500 years ago, she was said to have leaped out of a lake and eaten farmers. The first supposed photograph of Nessie was taken in 1934 by a London doctor.

Wulver- Werewolf (go figure) in Shetland. The wulver has the head of a wolf and body of a man. It is rumored to have left fish on the windowsills of poor families (that’s nice).

Blue men of Minch- These blue men were, obviously, blue-skinned and lived in the water ways of Minch. They would attempt to lure sailors out of passing ships and were also known to bring storms to wreck ships. Weren’t they just awesome?

Do you have any favorite Scottish tales that you would like to share?

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