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N is for Nuckelavee

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Name: Nuckelavee, Nuckalavee
Area or Origin: Orkney Islands, Scotland

The Nuckelavee is a horse-like demon from Orcadian mythology that combines equine and human elements. It is considered the most horrible demon in all of Scotland and the name Nuckelavee may be derived from a nickname for Satan, 'Old Nick'. The demon's foul breath could kill crops and sicken livestock, and it was held responsible for droughts and epidemics on land, despite it being primarily from the sea. It is said to have had two forms, the one that dwells in the sea has no consistent description, but its form on land, while it varies, has more consistency. Based on a supposed first-hand confrontation with the demon, it was described as looking like a horse with a rider on top, though the rider's torso was fused to the horse's back and possessed no legs of its own. The "rider's" arms were abnormally long and could reach the ground from where it sat. Its head could be as large as 3 feet wide, and due to its neck not being able to support its massive weight, would roll back and forth. Both the horse's face and the rider's had only one eye, said to burn like a red flame. A final and most gruesome detail was the fact that the Nuckelavee had no skin, and had yellow veins outside its muscle that would pump black blood throughout its body. The seemingly simple way to get rid of the Nuckelavee was to cross a freshwater stream, and it was kept in confinement during the summer months by The Mither o' the Sea, an ancient Orcadian divine the only one able to control it. 
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HellgaHeather's avatar

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