There is a story from Scotland of a Kelpie who fell in love with a mortal girl. He came to her in the form of a handsome man, courted her, and convinced her to marry him. They had a small home together and in time a child; they lived happily together until the day that the human woman discovered her husband’s true nature. Realizing he was a Kelpie, she abandoned her child and fled. The Kelpie, deeply in love with his mortal wife, raised their child and waited futilely for her to return.
These fairy horses are known for trying to trick people into climbing on their backs for a ride. Kelpies are said to do this in order to take the person on a wild ride before dumping the person on the ground, in a ditch, or in the water, although some say that Kelpies will trick people in order to take them to a body of water and drown them. The Water Horse is more sinister, tricking the person into riding, and then running into the nearest body of water where it turns on the person and tears them apart them, eating everything but the liver. Water Horses are also known to eat sheep and cows.
Some people say that the fairy horses that live in lakes and ponds are less dangerous than those that live in running water, such as rivers or the ocean. Other people say that the less dangerous Kelpies live in streams and rivers, while the more dangerous Water Horses live in lakes and the ocean. In general it is never a good idea to try to ride a strange horse, just in case it is actually a Water Horse or Kelpie of some type.
Another fairy that is similar to the Water Horses and Kelpies, but is not the same, is the Pooka. In Ireland they are called Pooka, Phouka, Puca, or Puka. It is also called Pwca in Wales, and Bucca in Cornwall. These fairies are shape shifters that can appear as many different things, including a man, dog, goat or bull, but they are most often seen as horses. Pookas are dark colored in whatever form they take. As a horse, the Pooka will trick a person into riding them and then run off before dumping the person on the ground. Pookas are seen by some people as mischievous but by others as dangerous. It is said that all the unpicked blackberries and raspberries belong to the Pooka after Samhain, and that people should never eat them after this date because the Pooka urinates on them.