Monster Monday: Nuckelavee

Sorry, no pictures this time. The description of this creature, however, is very specific.

The Nuckelavee (or Nuckalavee) is my go-to creature to prove that fairies aren’t all sunshine and bubbles. This is probably the first creature I have highlighted that actually qualifies as ‘monster’.

It hails from Orkney Island mythology and, although it lives in the ocean, it habitually wanders onto land to raise hell. It seems to be invincible, except for an aversion to fresh water (if you cross a freshwater stream, it won’t follow you), and only the mercy of the Mither o’ the Sea (Sea Mother) will reliably stop it terrorizing the land and send it back into the ocean.

The Nuckelavee is not nice at all. And it looks as nasty as it acts. First picture a centaur, except and deformed. Some tales say that is isn’t like the usual man/horse centaur shape, but more like a horse and rider merged into one mutated creature. The human head is 10 times normal size and has one glowing red eye. The human arms are far too long, hanging down below the horse’s barrel. The horse’s legs have fin-like attributes to it, which makes sense due to its deep-water living quarters.

And it is completely without skin. Just a big, quivering mass of muscle and tendon; black blood pulsing through yellow veins.

There’s no mistaking this creature for anything else. This thing is so evil that it’s name is still taboo among the superstitious.

Apart from random, night-time, terror-raising strolls among the island countryside, the Nuckelavee has one tick that sets him into a rage. He does not like it when people burn seaweed (Kelp). If he notices seaweed being burned, he goes mad with anger. He starts a plague that begins on the island that burned the seaweed, spreading through the rest to kill cattle, horses, sheep, crops, everything. At this point, only the Mither o’ the Sea can stop him.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s entry! Here’s the Nuckelavee Wiki article and another page I referenced¬†which has tonnes of information on Orkney mythology if you’re interested.

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