Fairies – known by many different names such as ‘the guid folk’, ‘fae folk’ or ‘sith’ – are woven right throughout Scottish culture and mythology and were considered to be part of everyday life.
They are deeply connected to nature and, historically, every water course had a name and a fairy that protected it.
Traditionally fae are both good and bad: Good fae might clean your house for you, or help you when you are lost, however they can also be a bit mischievous too; Bad fairies had the ability to make cattle sick, steal babies or lead unwary travellers astray amongst other things.
“Ghillie-dhu” are fae which are specifically associated with the west coast of Scotland. They inhabit ancient woodland, especially Caledonian pine forests where they protect the trees. They are generally regarded as helpful but, like all fae, if you annoy them they will take revenge.
“Brownies” are another type of highland fae. They were commonly believed to be both male and female and were reddish/brown in appearance. They were extremely shy and preferred to inhabit outhouses or quiet places such as attics. Brownies were extremely helpful and would carry out household or farm tasks at night when everyone was asleep but would readily desert a household if they were badly treated or spoken about harshly.
There are many different types of fae but all of them should always be treated with respect.