Friday, October 12, 2012

The Hill Trow Vs The Sea Trow

Contention built,
The battle began.
Fae blood was spilt
And divided the clan.
One family stayed
Their cousins withdrew
A steep price was paid
when one became two
Into the water
Some of them fled
Better than slaughter
Was what they had said
But life wasn't fair
Mutations took place
They grew seaweed-like hair
And sport a monkey's face.
                                       ~ Morrigan Aoife

The Trow:

Folklore places these creatures off the coast of Scotland, on or in the waters surrounding the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

There are two distinct types: The Hill Trow and The Sea Trow.

Legend has it that at one time these "cousins"; dwelled together on the islands but a feud broke out between them and the Sea Trows were banished from the land. The reason for the feud has been forgotten over time and like many legends has become lost to it's people.

The Hill Trow -

These land dwelling troll-like fairy creatures are shy and mischievous. They are described as small grotesque creatures with short, squat, round, and misshapen bodies. Nocturnal in nature, they leave their Trowie Knowes (earthen mound dwellings) and prowl around in the night. The Trow enjoys aggravating humans and may enter a household to hide miscellaneous items in odd places or break things while the inhabitants sleep. Folktales tell of their fondness for music and their habit of kidnapping musicians or luring them to their Howes.

Only certain "gifted individuals" have the power to see these Fae. The Trow are invisible to most, however normal mortals can see the Trow if they are touching one of the "gifted".

*Some tales declare that a Trow can pass for an old, wrinkled or deformed human. However they are quick to point out that a Trow is considerably shorter than the average sized man.

Trowie Knowes are earthen mound dwellings locally known as Howes or Knowes. The halls of these Trow dwellings are adorned with decorations of gold, silver, and other precious materials. Deep inside the safety of these magical halls, the Trow satisfy their passion for music and dancing and only the finest food and drink are served at their tables.

The Sea Trow -

These creatures inhabit the waters surrounding the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Folklore depicts the Sea Trow as the ugliest creature imaginable. This Fae is said to have a head that slopes to a sharp angle at the top with matted hair like seaweed that falls around it's monkey-like face. It's skin is shriveled and scaly and it's trunk boasts huge unwieldy limbs with webbed fingers and round flat feet.

The Sea Trow is notoriously stupid and lazy. Rather than catch fish for himself, he prefers to lie on the sea bed and watch the mortal fisherman's lines. When a fish is hooked, the Sea Trow will quickly unhook it and devour it, leaving the fisherman empty-handed. When the fish are not biting the Sea Trow will satisfy his hunger by removing the bait from the fisherman's hook.

Because of the Sea Trows lack of intelligence, this prank, like many of the other tricks they play upon the few humans they encounter is dangerous and often backfires. Sea Trow is sometimes hooked and reeled up to the surface where he either terrifies the fisherman or endures the punishment for his trickery.

The Sea Trow is fond of returning to land. His favorite onshore haunt is the "foreshore", the area of ground between high and low water. Although he may wish to extend his onshore wanderings further inland, his grotesque shape, and clumsy and slow waddling movements make it impossible to do so safely for fear of his deadly enemies, his cousins, the land dwelling Hill Trows.


  1. Wow, I didn't know this. Very cool info. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I didn't know this either. I like sea creatures, and it made me laugh that the Sea Trow is lazy and not quite intelligent. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for visiting,

    I hope to share a bit more of the lesser known Celtic /Gaelic folklore on the site from now on. It's interesting to me and I'm happy to know it's interesting to others as well.