Slightly delayed by a cold

So I’m quite under the weather with a head cold that started in the throat a few days ago, but then moved to my sinuses with a vengeance. I have the next part (and actually a good few thousand more words) written, but I usually like a take an hour to make sure the writing is reasonably clear and I haven’t written anything very stupid. The cold is getting in the way of me thinking clearly at the moment. However, you should see the next little bit of the story up sometime tomorrow.

I expect I’ll have the next instalment up tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some randomly picked draft entries from a fairy dictionary I’ve been working on as a hobby project for years now.

Slubber-de-Gullion (Scotland and North England). Other variants are Slavermegullion, Slavermagullion, Slavermahgulyen and Slobbergullion. Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary gives these names only to be ‘terms of contempt’ for dirty, slovenly people. Gullion was used on its own to mean a wretched or worthless person in Scotland, and gully has meanings associated with gulping or swallowing, but also cutting and gashing (a gully-knife was a butcher’s knife). See *Gul for a discussion. Slubber-de-Gullion appears to have meant drooling or slobbering Gullion, and Gullion is perhaps a lost fairy or monster name related to *Gul and Gally- names. The name has the right form to be a fairy, where English farmers were presumably mocking the noble form of Norman names, or possibly giving a goblin a noble-sounding name out of fear or respect. Tatterdemalion and Flibbertigibbet are similar.

Sperimogle (Devonshire) Wright in the English Dialect Dictionary (1898) defines this as ‘…A supernatural being, a ‘spirit-bogle’…’ though gives no more detail. Speri- certainly does seem like it might be related to spirit, spreet or similar and -i(m)ogle could be a corruption of bogle or similar though what the middle -i(m)- part of the name represents is unclear. Because the stress and pronunciation is uncertain, it is also possible the word might be derived from something closer to *Speri(t)-Mogle, where mogle could plausibly be related to Moggy or Mawkin (diminutives for Mary).

Spotloggin (Worcestershire) In one explanation, this apparent bogey-creature was the ghost of a murdered man who haunted a ditch near Evesham. The ditch was supposedly the site of his murder, and as a mark of this, the hedge along the ditch refused to grow there. Spotloggin was supposed to appear to anyone who tried to cross the ditch. An alternative explanation current at the same time is that Spotloggin was ‘a lady of that name, who used to patch her face, and was supposed to be very proud’. There is substantial confusion between the fairies and the dead in British folk-belief, and there does seem to be something rather fairy-ish about Spotloggin. The ghostly explanations could well be tacked onto an earlier bogey-beast tradition.

Tangie (Shetland and Orkney Islands) A sea Kelpie that is named for the seaweed that covers him. Like many Water-Horses, Tangies appear sometimes as a horse and sometimes as a man, although, unusually, Tangies can appear as old men. It would be more usual for a Water-Horse to appear as a handsome young man who might tempt a woman into the water. From Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary:

Sh.I. Ye’re no like a bodie ava dat hes düins wi’ evil speerits–tangies, brownies, witches, STEWART Tales (1892) 5 ; S. & Ork. A sea-spirit which frequents the shores, supposed at times to assume the appearance of a horse, at other times that of an old man. Or.I. This imaginary being is supposed to have his origin from the luminous appearance of the tangle, when it is tossed by the sea (Jam.).

2. A young seal. Or.I. (Jam. Suppl.)


For anyone who is curious the fairy dictionary has hundreds of entries and has quite a few more obscure entries than Briggs or other similar general works. It’s currently standing at about 160k words. I’ll probably try to get it published if and when it hits 200k.