Water Bull

Legendary Freshwater Monster of the British Isles and Northern Europe.

Variant names: Crodh mara (Gaelic, "cattle of the sea"), Elf bull, Gwartheg-y-llyn (Welsh, "lake cattle"), Tarbh-uisge (Gaelic, "water bull"), Tarroo ushtey (Manx), Water cow.

Physical description: Smaller than a normal cow. Dull brown, speckled red, black, or milk-white (in Wales). Sleek hair. Hornless. Crop-eared. Short legs.

Behavior: Aquatic. Nocturnal. Most often peaceable. Feeds on corn. Said to associate with domestic cattle, thus improving the stock and the quality of the dairy products. The Tarbh-uisge is malevolent and brings disaster to a herd.

Habitat: Rivers.

Distribution: Western Scotland; Isle of Man; Sweden.

Sources: John Gregorson Campbell, Superstitions ofthe Highlands and Islands of Scotland (Glasgow, Scotland: J. MacLehose and Sons, 1900), p. 29; Dora Broome, Fairy Tales from the Isle of Man (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1951); Ronald Macdonald Robertson, Selected Highland Folktales (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1961); Katharine M. Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies (London: Allen Lane, 1976), pp. 81-82, 117-118, 209-210, 389-390.

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