A Kelpie is a water horse, a supernatural creature from Celtic Folklore.Its name may derive from the Scottish Gaelic words ‘cailpeach’ or 'colpach'. It is believed to haunt the rivers and lakes of Scotland and Ireland. It is mostly black, although it can be white as well. It could be seen as a pony, although its mane is always dripping water. In the west coast of Scotland, the Kelpie is described as a young, handsome, sleek horse, brown, gray or black in color but it can effortlessly shape-shift into human form.
While appearing as a human, the kelpie will still have its hooves. For this reason, the kelpie is seen as a malefic entity. In Scotland, almost every lake has a story about a kelpie. Probably the most well-known of these stories is the one about the kelpie of Loch Ness. Kelpies There are some stories, however, in which kelpies are depicted in a more positive light and are said to protect small children from drowning in lakes. Kelpies also apparently warned young women to be wary of handsome strangers.
The Creature could take many forms and had an insatiable appetite for humans.The kelpie may appear as a beautiful tame pony beside a river. Anybody foolish enough to mount the horse - perhaps a stranger unaware of the local traditions - would find themselves in a dangerous situation, as the horse would rear and charge headlong into the deepest part of the water, submerging with a noise like thunder to the travelers watery grave.
A common Scottish tale is the story of nine children lured into its back, while the tenth remains on the shore. The Kelpie chased him, but he escaped. Another more gruesome variation on this tale is that the tenth child simply stroked the Kelpie's nose but, when it stuck to it, he took a knife from his pocket, and cut his fingers off to free himself.The child survives but is unable to save his friends, as they are pulled underwater with the Kelpie.
They are also said to appear as a beautiful young woman, hoping to lure young men to their death.They created illusions to hide themselves, keeping only their eyes above water to scout the surface.
There was one way in which a Kelpie could be defeated,the Kelpies power of shape shifting was said to reside in its bridle, and anybody who could claim possession of it could command the Kelpie to submit to their will. A captive kelpie was highly prized, it had the strength of at least 10 horses and the stamina of many more. It was said that the MacGregor clan were in possession of a Kelpies bridle, passed down through the generations from when one of their clan managed to save himself from a Kelpie near Loch Slochd.
The Kelpie is also mentioned in Robert Burns poem, "Address to the Deil" (1786):
There are many similar tales of water horses in mythology. In Orkney, there is the nuggle, in Shetland the shoopiltee and in the Isle of Man, the cabbyl-ushtey. In Welsh folklore there are tales of the Ceffyl Dŵr. And in Scotland there is another water horse, the each uisge, which lurks in lochs and is reputed to be even more vicious than the kelpie.