The Baobhan Sith

Before long, the women were singing an enchanting song and the hunters needed no more invitation to dance. They all seemed completely enchanted by the mysterious visitors.

By Graeme Johncock

In the Scottish Highlands lurks the most sinister of all the fairy folk, the blood thirsty Baobhan Sith. Drawn to hunters by the smell of blood, the Baobhan Sith can read a man’s mind and shape shift into somebody he finds beautiful.

This tale starts with four young men who had just finished a days hunting when they spotted an isolated bothy nestled in the hills. Tying the horses up nearby they looked inside to find a large pile of firewood and comfortable looking chairs. While one of the friends got a blazing fire going in the hearth, the others rested their weary legs and started to brag about the days success.

“The only thing that could make tonight any better would be the company of four beautiful women” exclaimed the youngest man.

“Don’t be ridiculous lad. There’s more chance of you firing an arrow straight than a girl showing up here!” joked another.

The friends all roared with laughter but at that very moment came a delicate tapping at the door. Opening the latch, they couldn’t believe their eyes as four of the most incredible women they had ever seen stood outside and asked if they could come into the warmth. The men practically fell over themselves as they made space for their guests. They didn’t notice anything unusual as the ladies swept into the bothy with their long green dresses and settled next to each of them.

Before long, the women were singing an enchanting song and the hunters needed no more invitation to dance. They all seemed completely enchanted by the mysterious visitors. All of them except the oldest and wisest of the four friends. He had a wife back home and wouldn’t betray her love no matter how beautiful the dancing partner. He was making his excuses when he noticed the sound of dancing had stopped and then saw a flash of red out of the corner of his eye.

Slowly turning his head, he saw one of the women had used her sharp nails to slit the youngest lads throat and start drinking his blood as he slumped to the floor. The other two were staring deeply into their companions eyes and didn’t even notice as they succumbed to the same fate. The surviving hunter was horrified, having heard stories just like this of the Baobhan Sith. He knew their only weaknesses were daylight and iron but his weapons were on the other side of the room and it was hours until dawn.

His temptress was still trying to seduce him but he quickly turned and fled out of the door into the night. Seeing the horses tethered nearby, he remembered they had freshly shod the horses with iron shoes before making their journey. The hunter sprinted as fast as he could towards the animals and dived in amongst them for protection.

All four Baobhan Sith came out of the bothy and started circling the horses but were so afraid of the iron that they wouldn’t come any closer. They tried to flatter the hunter into coming back inside, promising him everything his heart desired but he wouldn’t move. Then they tried to enrage him into charging out by describing how delicious his friends had been but that just made him shrink back even further. Lastly, in desperation they screamed at the hunter to fear them and stop delaying the inevitable. He looked east and saw the faint glow that told him the safety of dawn was coming. As he looked back to the bothy, the women had already disappeared.

When the sun was high in the sky, the man was finally brave enough to step out from the horses and back inside the building. He wept over the bodies of his friends but vowed to spread the story of what had happened to make sure nobody would suffer the same fate again.
You can read more of Graeme’s stories from all over Scotland on his Instagram, scotlands_stories!

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