Episode 46: Water Fae: River Hag
The folklore of River Hags in a nutshell, how I reimagined them 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 River Hags 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: River Hag
Folklore in a nutshell by Ronel
River Hags are known to carry off children who come too close to the water’s edge. Generally, a hag is seen as a sinister old woman who doesn’t have much in the looks department. River Hags generally kidnap, maim, torture, drown and eat children. They are also bound to the body of water they inhabit – they can leave it, but not for long stretches of time. Folklore has several River Hags known by different names.
In Wales, Morgan is such a water spirit.
Peg Powler haunts the river Tees and has an insatiable appetite for human flesh. This hag’s tangled green hair looks like weeds.
Nellie Longarms is another hag and water spirit from English folklore who uses her long arms to pull unsuspecting children to the watery depths.
Scotland has water wraiths who haunt bodies of water, luring travellers to their watery doom.
In Egypt, Al Naddaha haunts the Nile River. This beautiful water spirit stands on the shore in transparent clothing, calling out to passers-by. Whoever hears her, is never seen again – they are drowned or devoured by this spirit.
The Vough of Scottish legend have long, yellow hair, tails, webbed hands and feet, and no noses. They favour green clothes.
Lancashire has Jenny Greenteeth who apparently has pale green skin, long green hair, green fanglike teeth, long arms, long fingers with long nails, a pointed chin and big eyes. She’s also known as Wicked Jenny and Ginny Greenteeth. She’s fond of pulling children and the elderly into the water to drown them. She apparently prefers water with thick foliage growing over it, like duckweed. In some tales, she even ventures into the trees at night and her wailing can be heard far away.
Whether beautiful or hideous, women who live in rivers, lakes and streams should be avoided at all costs – they clearly have it in for children.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an origin of the fae: River Hag
River Hags are shapeshifters. They prefer to look like hags as it produces more fear in their victims – and they need that fear to fuel their glamour. Some of them do eat children, but any human flesh would do. Though they are Solitary Fae, they align themselves with the Dark Court every Tithe. Most have green skin, long, green hair, and webbing between their long fingers. Their magic is tied to the water they live in, though some do live in the trees, forests and caves around their water source.
As a little bonus, let’s look at the translation of River Hag into Afrikaans: Rivier Wyf.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
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