#FolkloreThursday, Black Shuck, Cù Sìth, Cerberus, Dogs, Faerie, folklore, Hellhounds, preview of work, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Rottweilers, short story, The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog, The Wild Hunt, Wattpad, Wikipedia, writing
Dogs have always been man’s (woman’s!) BFFs. Yet stories about them being vicious creatures abound in myth and folklore.
Wikipedia has a list of mythological dogs.
Some of the better-known black dogs are the Barghest of Yorkshire and Black Shuck of East Anglia. Various other forms are recorded in folklore in Britain and elsewhere. Other names are Hairy Jack, Skriker, Padfoot, Churchyard Beast, Shug Monkey, Cu Sith, Galleytrot, Capelthwaite, Mauthe Doog, Hateful Thing, Swooning Shadow, Bogey Beast (Lancashire), Gytrash, Gurt Dog, Oude Rode Ogen, Tibicena (Canary Islands) and Dip (Catalonia). Although a Grim is not a barghest, a Church or Fairy Grim can also take the form of a big black dog.
For more information on these black dogs of folklore, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_dog_(ghost)
Examples from folklore
The most famous hellhound is probably Cerberus from Greek mythology. Hellhounds are also famous for appearing in Northern European mythology and folklore as a part of the Wild Hunt. These hounds are given several different names in local folklore, but they display typical hellhound characteristics. The myth is common across Great Britain, and many names are given to the apparitions: Moddey Dhoo of the Isle of Man, Gwyllgi of Wales, and so on (see Black dog (ghost)). The earliest mention of these myths are in both Walter Map‘s De Nugis Curianium (1190) and the Welsh myth cycle of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (ca. tenth to thirteenth century).
In southern Mexico and Central America folklore, the Cadejo is a big black dog that haunts travellers who walk late at night on rural roads. The term is also common in American blues music, such as with Robert Johnson‘s 1937 song, Hellhound on My Trail.
In Greek mythology the hellhound belonged to Hades, the Greek god of death and the underworld, its name in Greek mythology is Cerberus, it has three heads but is still black with razor sharp teeth and super strength, it is used to guard the gates of hell.
For more on Hellhounds, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellhound
For more incredible dogs from folklore, go to https://www.phactual.com/9-incredible-dogs-from-mythology-and-folklore/
Cŵn Annwn and the Wild Hunt
In Welsh folklore, Cŵn Annwn are the white spectral hounds of Annwn, the Welsh Otherworld, engaged in the Wild Hunt with dark King Gwyn ap Nudd of the Tylwyth Teg, hounding human souls and guiding them on, wet-nosed psychopomps; to hear the wailing of Gwyn’s hounds was an omen of imminent death in the family. The group hunts from Christmas to Twelfth Night while the wind howls fiercely, accompanied by the crone Mallt-y-Nos, “Matilda of the Night,” the Night Mallt who drives the hounds ever on with her shrieking and wailing. The hunting party meets at the crossroads, and if any of their feet tread upon a mandrake, it screams into the night. Though King Gwyn, whose face is blackened as deeply as the dark night into which the hounds howl, leads the party through the hunting grounds, which include the lush rocky mountain of Cadair Idris, the dogs belong to Arawn, King of the Underworld and a skilled huntsman.
The tale of the Wild Hunt is prevalent across northern Europe, perhaps originating with Odin’s Hunt. In Norse folklore, the souls of the dead waft away on storm winds; and it is wind, lightning, and thunder that announces the Wild Huntsman and his enormous party of hunters on horseback and their baying dogs. With Sleipnir’s eight legs quickened by the howling wind, Odin leads the Wild Hunt through the night sky, trailed by the ghosts of the dead. After the Northern Wild Hunt passed, a small spectral black dog remained, which was carefully tended to for a year unless it could be frightened away with a beer brewed in eggshells, the same brew for getting rid of changelings.
The Cù-Sìth was a spectral dog found in the mythology of Scotland and the Hebrides. The name comes from Scottish Gaelic. A similar beast exists in Irish mythology, the Cu Sidhe and also has similarities to the Welsh Cwn Annwn, or the Hounds of Annwn in English.
In Celtic tradition phantom dogs are usually black, though occasionally white with have red ears. The Irish Cu Sidhe is describe as being a huge black hound but the Scottish Cu Sith was said to have a wild and shaggy coat of dark green. Green is associated with ‘fairies’ in Celtic lore and it is named the ‘fairy dog’ and seems to be in league with them.
Cù Sìth [from the page on this blog about Fae and their origins]:
Faery dog in Scottish Mythology that is usually in the form of a big black-and-tan dog (Rottweiler).
They have amber coloured eyes that burn brightly as they do magic.
They protect those of the Mist – humans with magical ability who are important to the Fae Monarchs and children of both worlds (half Fae and half mortal).
They use mindspeak (a form of telepathy) to communicate and all of them speak without contractions – except modern-day Saphira.
The Cù Sìth are the most powerful of all Fae. They control the very fabric of time and space. They create the Faery circles that are the most powerful and accurate of all magical teleportation. They can go anywhere in Time to correct or interfere in someone’s life.
Whenever the Cù Sìth protect someone, all who know about them know that the person who is protected is something special.
Rottweilers are awesome dogs. I currently have three boys.
They’re curious, protective, and sweet. They can occasionally be clowns (Antonio likes to sit properly on the couch…). And they’re great to talk plot problems through (Emmett actually whines when something doesn’t sound right).
So what would happen if they truly were Fae?
I wrote The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog in Afrikaans last year. I’ve recently started rewriting the series in English. Here’s the first tale Faery Dog Princesses, available on Wattpad.
“Amber and Saphira were black stripes of shiny fur when they ran. When they jumped, birds flying close to the clouds lost feathers in fright. No other Faery Dog could say that they’ve scared birds out of the sky. The two princesses did everything together. They’re more than just sisters: they’re best friends.
With their dark brown eyes shining orange when they used their magical powers, they’re the strongest and most important of all Faery Dogs. Except for the queen, of course.”
– Faery Dog Princesses, The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog, Ronel Janse van Vuuren
I hope you enjoy reading the first tale in the series. Comments can be left here or on Wattpad – I always appreciate feedback. Any doggie tales you’d like to share?