Mermaids and Sirens are often associated with tales that involve leading men to their doom at sea, but Scottish Folklore has it’s own creature that delights in the destruction of man at sea – the Each Uisge.
The Each Uisge (pronounced “ech ooshskya”) or water horse, is a creature that was once believed to reside in the lochs and sea surrounding Ireland and Scotland, often traveling from one loch or lake to the next, but if you happened to cross one on your travels, it could have dire consequences.
This creature was so dangerous to encounter, it was once considered the most dangerous water animal in Britain.
If you saw one, and tried to touch or mount it, it would drag you into the water and devour you.
The creature didn’t just appear as a horse though, it could shape shift and take on the appearance of other animals or even people, and when it did appear as a horse, it wasn’t very distinctive from any other, so it would sometimes be hard to tell if the creature was in fact a Each Uisge.
The Each Uisge has often been said to appear to young women as a handsome young man, or even as a giant bird.
The water horse will offer itself to be ridden when it appears, but if you mount the creature, and it smells or sees the sight of water, it’s skin becomes adhesive, and the rider will be unable to dismount, leading to the riders doom.
A Gruesome Tale
After the victims demise, the Uisge tears the body apart and devours everything except the liver, which is said to be the only part of the victims body to rise to the surface.
One story claims eight young children, seven girls and one boy, were walking beside the loch near to Aberfeldy, when they came upon a pony grazing. The girls decided to mount the pony, and it magically grew to be able to carry them all. After seeing this the little boy ran away, and turned back to see the horse jump into the loch carrying all seven girls. The next morning, seven livers were found on the shore.
This is a creature in folklore which is similar to the Kelpie, and the Cabyll-ushtey.