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Kelpie: The Legacy of a Monster


A kelpie is a water creature from Scottish folklore. Its name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic words Calipeach or Colpach, meaning heifer of colt. It is a shape-shifting water spirit that inhabits lochs and bogs of Scotland. The creature is usually described to be black horse-like creature that can shift into human form, but still retain some horse attributes such as having hooves. In Scotland the residents believe that almost every sizable body of water is associated with a kelpie, but most of the stories revolve around lake Loch Ness.

The origins of the kelpie are unknown but are believed to have been created by mothers with the purpose of keeping their children away from harmful

bodies of water. Kelpies have been depicted to be white horses, and also some as beautiful women.

In other parts of the world there are similar counterparts such as a nixie which originated from Germany. In Australia they have a similar counterpart referred to as the bunyip.

With the kelpie having shapeshifting abilities both having a landform in the shape of a human or a horse, while in its aquatic form it is usually depicted as a decaying horse with a fish tail, just like a mermaid. Some accounts differ when it comes to its land form, some say it to be a large muscular black stallion, while some claim it to be a slender white horse with the ability to sing. The kelpie's hooves are turned backwards and the creature has a mane of algae or seaweed.


Sonny Nesmith is a senior at Poudre High School and is in his first year at the Poudre Press. Sonny runs Acrylic Arts, a blog based around art curation, creation, supplies, and other tips. Check him out!

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