Episode 44: Water Fae: Glaistig
The folklore of Glaistig in a nutshell, how I reimagined her for my writing, and this faery translated into Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2022 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about Glaistig here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
This episode is brought to you by my book Once… Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie available in eBook, audiobook and paperback. Learn more at ronelthemythmaker.com/my-books.
We’re continuing our exploration of Water Fae.
Today’s Faery: Glaistig
Folklore in a nutshell by Ronel
There are various fae that fall under water spirits.
Alven or Otteermaaner, are light and wingless water sprites who wrap themselves in bubbles to move around in the water and they can even turn into otters.
Bisimbi are nature spirits associated with waterfalls and pools. These Central African fae insist on generous offerings of food or they become malevolent, infiltrating the minds of children.
Dracs are shapeshifting water spirits from France that dwell in caverns and rivers. They usually assume the shape of golden cups and float on the river to entice women and children to reach for them – they then grab their prey and drag them down to the bottom of the river. The Dracae from the Scottish Lowlands are quite similar.
The Fuathan is the name given to all Scottish water spirits. They are usually spiteful and threatening in nature.
Glaistig, or Green Glaistig, or Green Lady is a Scottish water spirit. She can appear as a beautiful woman, a goat, or in her hybrid form of half-woman and half-goat (she usually wears a long green dress which hides her lower goat half). She sometimes waits next to a secluded river or loch for someone to carry her across. Depending on the way she is handled, she’ll either lead the person astray or cut their throat. She has a loud cry, much like the Banshee. In some tales, she drinks the blood of her victims. In other tales, she is the protector of cattle and is offered milk in a hollowed-out stone for continued benevolence. In yet other tales, she is the goddess of the hunt, protecting deer and even hiding her herds from hunters who shoot does instead of stags. As the Green Lady, she was once a mortal noblewoman who was cursed with a fae nature, goat’s legs and immortality. The Green Lady can be benign, watching out for those weak of mind, or a vengeful spirit. Even as a beautiful woman, the Glaistig has a grey complexion, hence her name which comes from “glas” which means grey.
It’s best to steer clear of women who hang around bodies of water on their own.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an origin of the fae: Glaistig
The Glaistig are shapeshifters who can easily be small enough to wrap themselves in bubbles to travel in the river or be a beautiful woman to ensnare her (usually) male victims. The Glaistig need blood to fuel their glamour or they’ll be nothing more than wispy spirits. Even as a beautiful woman, she has greenish-grey skin and the lower body of a goat. Most Glaistig have long, lustrous hair that they take great care of – much like mermaids, sirens and other predatory water fae.
Hailed as protectors – or as plagues – the Glaistig takes care of her environment and the animals who live there. They are tied to the earth and the water, wielding great power. They are easily stirred to anger and can do great harm in their rage. Even her cry can bring about disaster for her enemies.
Solitary in nature and fond of children – they are usually the ones ending up taking care of changelings when other fae tire of them.
As a little bonus, let’s look at the translation of Glaistig into Afrikaans: Watergees.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
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