By Dawn Marie Hamilton
Many a man or woman has sought release from their woes by visiting wild places within the woodland. Seeking ease, they're attracted to secluded pools. Places supportive of contemplation. Since we are of the Celtic bent here at Celtic Hearts, we know that in the dark forests of Scotland, more likely than not, they chance meeting a creature so peculiar they'll scurry back to civilization, their heart in their throat.
'Tis sad. The urisk, a humble creature by nature, is lonely and wants to make friends. Most humans shun the poor fellow because of his uncomely appearance, found by many to be horrifying and frightening.
Still, he holds hope someday someone will come along and befriend him.
"What does he look like?" you ask.
The gangling urisk appears an aging bald creature with pointed ears. His face is long and drawn. He peers at you through soulful rounded eyes. He sports a wiry goatee on his chin. His emaciated, hairless torso is somewhat human-like—his lower half goat-like with shaggy fur. His limbs are long and thin and he walks on cloven feet.
Many confuse the urisk (ùruisg) with the brownie (brùnaidh), though I believe they are each a distinct variety of Scottish solitary faerie. And look nothing alike.
A wonderfully dark depiction of the urisk can be found in the illustrated book, Faeries, by Brian Froud and Alan Lee.
Would you be frightened if you met an urisk in the woods? Or would you make friends with him?