Water horse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Water Horse
(Kelpie, Waterhorse)
Gutt på hvit hest.jpg
Portrait of a boy riding a nykk in the form of a water horse, by Theodor Kittelsen
GroupingCryptid
Sub groupingLake monster
Sea Monster
Sea serpent
Lake serpent
RegionCeltic nations
Scandinavia
HabitatWater
 
Jump to: navigation, search
For the film, see The Water Horse.
Water Horse
(Kelpie, Waterhorse)
Gutt på hvit hest.jpg
Portrait of a boy riding a nykk in the form of a water horse, by Theodor Kittelsen
GroupingCryptid
Sub groupingLake monster
Sea Monster
Sea serpent
Lake serpent
RegionCeltic nations
Scandinavia
HabitatWater

A water horse (or "waterhorse" in some folklore) is a mythical creature, such as the Ceffyl Dŵr, Capaill Uisce, the Bäckahästen and Kelpie, as well as other water dwelling cryptids.

Name origin[edit]

The hippocamp (as seen in this sketch from Pompeii) is a water creature that has been referred to as a "water horse".

The term "water horse" was originally a name given to the kelpie, a horse like creature similar to the hippocamp that has the head, neck and mane of a normal horse, legs like a horse, webbed feet, and a long, two-lobed, whale-like tail. The term has also been used as a nickname for lake monsters, particularly Ogopogo and Nessie.[1] The name "kelpie" has often been used as a nickname for many other Scottish lake monsters, such as each uisge and Morag of Loch Morar and Lizzie of Loch Lomond. Other names for these sea monsters include "seahorse" (not referring to the seahorse fish) and "hippocampus" (which is the genus name for everyday seahorses).

The usage of "water horse" or "kelpie" can often be a source of confusion as some take the two terms to be synonymous while others distinguish the water horse as a denizen of lochs while the kelpie inhabits places of turbulent water such as rivers, fords and waterfalls. Some authors call one creature of a certain place a kelpie while others call it a water horse. The name "water bull" has been used for either creature.

Flight of King Gradlon: Morvarc'h, the magical steed of King Gradlon of Ys

The Breton King Gradlon's magical "horse of the sea" Morvarc'h was said to have the ability to gallop upon the waves of the sea, in a similar fashion to the waterhorses of Cornish legend.

Other lake monsters[edit]

The water horse has often become a basic description of other lake monsters such as the Canadian Lake Okanagan monster Ogopogo and the Lake Champlain monster Champ. Loch Morar is reputedly home to "Morag", a lake monster which has been portrayed as a water horse.

Settings[edit]

Whilst most Scottish/Celtic folklore places the water horse in a loch (particularly a loch that is famous for a lake monster, such as Loch Ness, Loch Morar or Loch Lomond), some Breton and Cornish tales of water horses place them in the ocean, making them sea monsters.

Most Highland loch have some kind of water horse tradition, although a study of 19th century literature of the time showed that only about sixty lochs and lochans merited a mention out of the thousands of bodies of water that make up Scotland. The water horse that was reputed to inhabit Loch Ness gained the most mentions in Highland literature.[2]

Sightings[edit]

Water horse sightings were reported regularly during the 18th century, but it was not until the 19th century that sightings were recorded.

References[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ Anderson, Godfrey (12 March 1967). "Loch Ness monster no laughing matter at Inverness". Sarasota Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Watson (2011)

Bibliography