CECILIA’S FOLKLORE RESEARCH
From what sources does Cecilia draw her folklore research?
Reply: Cecilia is inspired by traditional folklore from Great Britain and its close neighbours. Many of these tales are still alive and well in the English counties, Wales, the Shetlands, Scotland, the Orkneys, the isle of Man, and Ireland. They are *not* Celtic legends, although there is much Celtic lore. Katharine Briggs’ folklore books are brimming with information on them.
– Is the Waterhorse derived from Norse mythology?
The Norse Waterhorse, the Nokken, is a water demon that lives in rivers and lakes. He is able to transform himself into many shapes, and his purpose is to lure people to their doom. He can change into:
-a grey/white horse, and if you ride this horse, you will ride to your death.
– a raft on the water. If you sit down on it, you will float away….to your death.
– a water lily. If you pick this flower, he will come up from the water and drag you down.
– a beautiful young man. If he seduces you, death will be your groom.
Reply: Certain folklore themes and motifs cover vast geographical areas. Waterhorses can be found in the folklore of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as Norway. Bodies of water such as lakes and rivers are so mysterious, elemental and often dangerous, it’s no wonder so many tales have evolved concerning creatures that might dwell beneath them.
THE LORE OF ELDRITCH WIGHTS
• The high-tide mark is the boundary between the territories of land wights and sea wights.
• Although they can prevaricate and trick, wights cannot lie. By the same token, if you make a promise or give your word to a wight you are bound by gramarye to keep it.
• Household wights, best exemplified by bruneys (brownies), do not necessarily react adversely to the touch of cold iron. All others do. Trooping wights wear green coats and red caps, while Solitaries wear red coats.
• To steal a swanmaiden, take her cloak of feathers so that she cannot fly. To abduct a mermaid or merrow, take her comb. To kidnap a silkie (selkie), take his or her seal-skin, without which these wights cannot travel underwater. Be aware, it is unkind to do any of these things and you may be punished!
• Silkies will not harm you unless you harm them. If you do them a good turn they will return it to you.• Most unseelie and seelie land wights cannot cross running water, especially if it flows south.
• An ‘awe band’ can be put on mortals to stop them telling what they have seen of wights.
• Giving wights a gift or verbal thanks means ‘goodbye’ to them – i.e., they have been paid, therefore their services are no longer required. Some wights take offence at being thanked in any form, and permanently withdraw their services out of sheer indignation. Therefore, thanking wights or the Faêran is taboo.
Background images of trolls and maidens by John Bauer
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