My mother comes from a tiny village on the Isle of Man called Maughold (pronunciation Mack-uld). I grew up listening to the tales that she and my grandmother used to tell us – of the fairy folk and strange mythical creatures that prowled the cliffs and woodlands, the moorlands and the hills.
Over the years I’ve tried to track these legends down, but the names of these creatures are words I have only ever heard spoken and never seen written. And that is a problem with Manx words – how on Earth do I spell them to type them into google? Take Maughold for instance? See my point. (Okay, if you’re a Manx speaker it probably all makes sense. But in our family the language died with my Grandparents.)
However, at last I have managed to track one of these creatures down.
My Grandmother used to tell us about a horrible sprite that haunted the village with its screams – and this creature was called a Guv-Na-Scoot. A bit of imaginative googling later – and there it was! A Boagaine (or I believe more commonly Buggane) called a Gob-ny-Scuit.
Bugganes were demonic creatures said to be covered in black hair, with claws, tusks and a large red mouth. This particular one terrorized the inhabitants of Maughold with its terrible screeching when the wind blew in for a certain direction. However, a certain William Kinnish was determined to find the source of the periodic wailing that so worried his neighbours and did indeed discover the source – a cleft in the cliff face that acted as an Aeolian harp when the wind blew in from a certain direction. And so the buggane was nothing more than a natural curiosity.
The cover art on my short story collection, The Scribbling Sea Serpent, relates to one of the stories inside called The Screechers. And the inspiration for this story was – yes, you’ve guessed it – the Gob-ny-Scuit.
And so on to the giveaway. I am offering up one signed copy of The Scribbling Sea Serpent and to enter please use the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway