Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Glaisticglaistigglaisnigglaislig, a water-imp, from 'glas,' water, 'stic,' imp. The 'glaistic' is a vicious creature, half woman, half goat, frequenting lonely lakes and rivers. She is much
dreaded, and many stories are told of her evil deeds. 'MacUalrig Mor,' Big Kennedy of Lianachan, Lochaber, was coming home at night when he saw the 'glaistic.' He seized her and put her on the saddle before him with his sword-belt round her waist, and when he got home he locked her in the 'cul-taigh,' back-house. In the morning Big Kennedy heated the coulter of his plough and requested the 'glaistic' to swear on the iron that she would never again molest man or woman in the place, and never more be seen in Lochaber while the sun shone by day or the moon by night. When the 'glaistic' stretched out her lovely little hand and placed it on the coulter to give the required assurance, her hand was burnt to the bone. With a shriek of agony she flew out at the window and through the mist of the morning to the hillside beyond, and there she put out three bursts of the blood of her heart, which are still visible in the discoloured russet vegetation of the spot, and with each burst of blood the 'glaistig' uttered a curse on Big Kennedy and on his seed for ever:--
'Fas mar an roinneach daibh,
Crion mar an luachair daibh,
’S diombuan mar cheo nam beann.'
Growth like the fern to them,
Wasting like the rushes to them,
And unlasting as the mist of the hill.
The descendants of Big Kennedy of Lianachan say that the curse is still upon them.

Source: Carmina Gadelica, Hymns and Incantations -Ortha Nan Gaidheal, Volume II, by Alexander Carmichael, [1900] at www.sacred-texts.com