Blue Men, the Bean-Nighe and a Brownie….

We had a look at some of Scotlands mythical creatures earlier this year with our post on Kelpies & Selkies and it proved quite popular so, we thought we’d have a look at some more of this countries folk and fairy tales for you to enjoy.

Firstly, the Blue Men of Minch.

Also known as Storm Kelpies these mythological creatures inhabit the stretch of water between the northern Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland. Apart from their blue colour they look much the same as humans but have the power to create storms. It is said they search for stricken boats they can sink and drown the sailors. When they spot a ship they approach and shout two lines of poetry to the captain and challenge him to complete the verse. If the captain fails then the blue men will capsize the ship and drown all those onboard.

Little Minch where the Blue Men of Minch are found


The Blue Men appear to be very localised and are largely unknown in other parts of Scotland. Some believe the men may have been part of a tribe of fallen angels that split into three. The first part became the ground dwelling fairies, the second became the blue men in the sea and the rest became the dancers in the sky creating the Northern Lights.

From the Blue Men of Minch to the Bean-Nighe.

The Bean-Nighe


Bean nighe is Gaelic for ‘washer woman’ and the Bean-Nighe is a woman who wanders deserted streams where she washes the blood from the grave clothes of those who are about to die. She is often small in stature, typically dressed in green and has webbed feet. She is seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the ‘Otherworld’. Those who see her are destined to die shortly after meeting her. Similar stories of a washerwoman at a ford appear in Wales and Ireland though not so much in England. Some believe the Bean-Nighe is the spirit of a woman who died giving birth and who is doomed to do this work until the day her life would have normally ended.

Finally, something slightly more cheery; the Brownie.


Brownies are considered to be good-natured, invisible brown elves who live in farmhouses and other country dwellings in Scotland. They are said to have rather flat faces with pinhole nostrils and are not very attractive overall but their happy smiles and cheerful character make up for this. They are known to be protective creatures and often become attached to a certain family. While the family sleeps the Brownie will perform tasks and help the family in their work. However, if they are offered payment for their services or if they are treated badly, they disappear and are never seen again. Children, with their innocent nature, are believed to be able to see brownies whereas disbelieveing adults will never even catch a glimpse. Interestingly, in the UK, the younger version of the Girl Guides are called Brownies after this creature due to their friendly, helpful ways.

Hopefully you enjoyed this foray into the mythical creatures again. As always please share, tweet, like, follow and if you have any special mythical creatures from your country please share them with us.

All the best, K & D



2 thoughts on “Blue Men, the Bean-Nighe and a Brownie….

  1. I rely enjoyed this article, enjoy learning the legends & myths. The name bean night clicked a piece in place for me-line Sam Heughan spoke in Outlander, a scene where he had a close scrape with injury-sounds like he ended with “baneye” – could have been this!? FYI, in the US, early Girl Scouts are also called Brownies!


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