Kelpies are generally assigned to the faerie realm, but they are solitary creatures, not often seen with other faeries. They are shapeshifters with several possible forms:

(1) A man or woman (female kelpies are very rare)

(2) A normal horse

(3) A horse with a fish's tail

(4) A horse with its hooves on backwards

(5) A human with hooves

(6) A "shaggy man" covered all over with horsehair growing from the skin

Kelpies are always connected to bodies of water in a magical way. These bodies of water can be anything from a small stream to the sea, and can even include, on occasion, odd watery homes such as puddles and whirlpools. Kelpies have the ability to live underwater. In many legends, they sink under the surface of their own body of water and never resurface.

The main function of kelpies seems to be abducting people and/or drowning people. Some kelpies are good guys who never abduct anybody, while the worst kelpies are bloodsucking cannibals. The average kelpie is somewhere in the middle between these two extremes, occasionally dunking people as a prank and then letting them go.

Go to the Library
You can find out more about kelpies by reading pages 236-243 of the book Folklore and the Sea by Horace Beck.
The few kelpie novels that exist are rather haphazard about whether they portray the kelpie as a shapeshifter or merely as a magical horse. The River's Gift by Mercedes Lackey is one novel that has a kelpie who can shapeshift to human form.

return to 'Portal of Transformation'

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