Monday, July 2, 2012

The Fachan from the West Highlands of Scotland

By Dawn Marie Hamilton

One of my favorite coffee table books is Faeries, illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. I love to browse through the pages and enjoy the wonderful art.

I flip to a new page, and a fachan stares at me through his single eyeball positioned in the center of his forehead like that of the Cyclops, the primordial race of giants from Greek mythology. Startled, I jump away, but keep an eye on the image glaring at me. The reddish-purple iris surrounded by blood-shot white seems to watch me as I pace about the room. My spine tingles with shivers.

Good thing I have a strong heart since reports claim his grotesque appearance can cause a heart attack.

He stands erect on his only muscular leg at about three feet of height. He covers his egg-shaped body with a loose shirt made from blue-green feathers. Although I can't smell him, others allege his stench is worse than that of an ordinary ogre.

I imagine rotten eggs or a science project gone wrong. My nose twitches at the thought.

A single short arm with a big hand protrudes from under his chin. I certainly don't want to get close to his claw-like fingernails or the sharp teeth visible when he opens his wide mouth.

Most of his skin is a dirty tan—except for the mottled green of his lips, his bulbous nose and the tips of his large pointed ears. A few strands of wiry black hair top his head, matching the hair at the tips of his ears.

Rumors abound that the unusual creature is extremely agile with its flat-footed hop.

I cautiously approach the table and snap the book closed. My neighbors probably hear my sigh of relief.

Many believe fachans live in the depths of caves in the West Highlands of Scotland. Since known to dislike humans, wise men and women are prudent to stay away.

Are there other Scottish creatures of legend you try to avoid? Tell us about them.


lizzie starr said...

Ah, the Fachan. He made an appearance in one of my books (Keltic Flight) to give the hero a tough time. He was certainly good at that! It is interesting trying to visualize how he gets around.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Interesting, Dawn Marie. I've not been informed about this fachan before. He does sound a wee bit frightening. Don't you love the way the Scots provide us with these faeries to keep us in line? Thanks for sharing.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Hi, Lizzie. I wondered if anyone wrote a fachan into a story. So glad you have. Thanks for stopping by.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Hey, Paisley. The Scots explained the world around them in interesting ways, giving us fodder for romantic stories. Thanks for dropping in.