Coll the Storyteller's Tales of Enchantment. This is how I described them:
"There were Great Ones of pure light who danced in the lands above the sky. Time did not pass for them, for there was no time. Distance did not matter to them, for there was no distance...but one day Others appeared in their lands and began to dance too. Instead of pure light, they were made of something different, and as their dancing grew stronger, their whirling forms began to cover the pure white skirts of the Great Ones with patterns of colour. And the colour was blue..."I'm always fascinated to see how other authors see the mythic beings I love, and Gillian's beautifully informative piece taught me a thing or two I didn't know. So without further ado, I shall hand you over to her.
B for Blue Men of the Minch
The Nimble Dancers of the Waves
GP: Water monsters are my absolute favourites, from kelpies to selkies (and I know selkies aren’t traditionally ‘monsters’, but mine are), so when Lucy asked me to write about the Blue Men of the Minch, who had been a little under my sonar till now, I rushed to my copy of John Gregorson Campbell’s The Gaelic Otherworld to investigate.
They’re very particular to a location, the Blue Men - na Fir Ghorma - living only in a strait between the island of Lewis and the Shiants, Sruth nam Fear Gorma - the stream of the Blue Men, aka the Current of Destruction. It’s here they lurk in the waters, looking to capsize boats for no other reason than mischief and pride (at least, unlike the more famous kelpies or water horses, they don’t have any plans to eat you). According to one tale, the only way to outwit them is to be better at rhyming couplets, as proved by a certain captain of a ship with snow-white sails, pursued by na Fear Ghorma:
Man of the black cap, what do you sayAs your proud ship cleaves the brine?’‘My speedy ship takes the shortest wayAnd I’ll follow you line by line.’‘My men are eager, my men are readyTo drag you beneath the waves.’‘My ship is speedy, my ship is steady,If it sank it would wreck your caves.’
|The Blue Men of the Minch, iPad illustration copyright (c) Lucy Coats|