The glaistig /ˈɡlæʃtɪɡ/ is a ghost from Scottish mythology, a type of fuath. It is also known as maighdean uaine (Green Maiden), and may appear as a woman of beauty or monstrous mien, as a half-woman and half-goat similar to a faun or satyr, or in the shape of a goat.[1] The lower goat half of her hybrid form is usually disguised by a long, flowing green robe or dress, and the woman often appears grey with long yellow hair.[2]


The glaistig is an ambivalent ghost that appears in legend as both a malign and benign creature. Some stories have her luring men to her lair via either song or dance, where she would then drink their blood. Other such tales have her casting stones in the path of travellers or throwing them off course.

In other, more benign incarnations, the glaistig is a type of tutelary spirit and protector of cattle and herders, and in at least one legend in Scotland,[2] the town of Ach-na-Creige had such a spirit protecting the cattle herds. The townsfolk, in gratitude, poured milk from the cows into a hollowed-out stone for her to drink. According to the same legend, her protection was revoked after one local youth poured boiling milk into the stone, burning her. She has also been described in some folklore as watching over children while their mothers milked the cows and fathers watched over the herds.[3]

The Green LadyEdit

Another rendition of the glaistig legend is that she was once a mortal noblewoman, to whom a "fairy" nature had been given[4] or who was cursed with the goat's legs and immortality, and since has been known as "The Green Lady". She might either be benign, watching over houses and looking after the weak mind, or appear as a vengeful ghost. In some tales she was murdered in a green dress, and then stuffed unceremoniously up the chimney by a servant.[5] It is said that her footsteps can still be heard as she walks the castle in sadness.[6] Such Green Lady myths have been associated with a number of locations in Scotland, including Ardnacallich, Dunollie Castle, Loch Fyne, Muchalls Castle, and in Wales at Caerphilly. A similar tale ("Ocean Born Mary") has been told in Henniker, New Hampshire.[7]

In literatureEdit

  • A glaistig is a minor character in Martha Wells' 2006 short story The Potter's Daughter.
  • A dark faery queen called The Glaistig appears in "Waycross", one of the short stories in Caitlin R. Kiernan's Alabaster short story collection.
  • A glaistig appears in Emma Bull's urban fantasy novel War For the Oaks.
  • Glaistig Uaine is a parahuman supervillain in the serial webfiction Worm by Wildbow, who has the power to claim the souls of other parahumans and take their powers for herself.
  • Glaistigs appear in Melissa Marr's young adult series, Wicked Lovely.


  1. ^ Rose, Carol (2001). Giants, monsters, and dragons: an encyclopedia of folklore, legend, and myth (reprint ed.). WW Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-32211-8.
  2. ^ a b "The Glaistig – Mysterious Britain & Ireland". Archived from the original on January 6, 2006.
  3. ^ Gordon, Seton Paul (1949). Highways and byways in the central Highlands. Macmillan.
  4. ^ Rev. J. G. Campbell, "Superstitions of the islands and Highlands of Scotland", Scottish Celtic Review 4 (1885), pp155, 157, noted in J. G. McKay, "The Deer-Cult and the Deer-Goddess Cult of the Ancient Caledonians" Folklore 43.2 (June 1932), pp. 144–174). p. 152.
  5. ^ "Scottish Ghosts – Green Ladies". Archived from the original on June 26, 2013.
  6. ^ "Crathes Castle". 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  7. ^ "Where to find a 'Green Lady' ghost". Archived from the original on March 21, 2006.

This article incorporates text from "Dwelly's [Scottish] Gaelic Dictionary" (1911).