Lochs and Glens Books

Friday, 6 July 2007

Loch Garve

The kelpie of Loch Garve was a kind-hearted soul who loved his wife. But his wife was unhappy. They lived in a house under the water of the loch . There was no heating - kelpies are cold blooded and don't feel the cold. There was no fire to cook food either and so they ate raw fish, waterweed and even water molluscs such as mussels and snails.

The kelpie came home one day with a large raw salmon for dinner. As he came near the house he heard his wife saying, "I'm so cold, so cold!" The kelpie decided to do something about it, so he set off for the village of Garve. When he came out of the water he changed his shape into that of a land horse and galloped off towards the village. At the village he sought out the local builder. The builder seeing this lovely horse climbed up onto the its back for a ride. Not a clever idea if you live near a loch with a shape-shifting kelpie in it. No sooner had the builder climbed up, but the horse let out a fierce neigh and started to gallop towards the loch. The builder hung on for dear life. He was terrified and was even more terrified when the horse approached the loch's shore and gave no sign of stopping. The horse leapt into the water and, with the builder clinging on, swam beneath the waves.

When they arrived at the kelpie's house, the kelpie explained his problem to the builder. He said that if the builder made him a fireplace and chimney, not only would he take the builder back home but also he would give the builder a basket of fish whenever he wanted it. The builder agreed and built a fine chimney. The kelpie kept his word and took the builder back. If ever the builder wanted fish he had only to go to the loch's side and say, "Fish" and the next day he would find a basket of fish waiting for him in a secret place. So the builder was happy. The kelpie's wife was happy, she could keep warm and eat cooked food. And the kelpie was happy because his wife no longer moaned about the cold. Quest for a Kelpie (Kelpies).

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