The most horrible of all sea monsters, from Orkney. Its name means "Devil of the Sea" and it loathes mankind and all things human.

It is described as having the lower part like a great horse, with fleshy fins that flap about the front legs. The horse's mouth is as wide as a whale's, with breath like steam, and with a single red eye in the middle of its head. Atop this (or growing out of it) sits the likeness of a huge man, with no legs but arms long enough to reach the ground. This too has a head, three feet wide, and so heavy that the neck does not fully support it, but instead allows it to lol from side to side. Perhaps most striking of all, however, is that the Nucklavee has no skin; its black blood can clearly be seen flowing through its yellowing veins.

But fear not! The Nucklavee is very much a creature of the ocean (if not your own imagination) and its one weakness is that it cannot stand fresh water. You might want to bear that in mind, in should you run into it...


  • Muir, Tom 1998 "The Mermaid Bride, and Other Orkney Folk Tales". (Kirkwall Press, Kirkwall)

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