cro sìth

"Fairy cows." The cro sìth were cows said to have been found on the shores of Luskentyre in Harris, Scorrybreac in Skye, and on the island of Bernera. They were called fairy cows because they were of no mortal breed, but of a kind believed to live under the sea on seaweed.

The fairy cow is dun (odhar) and "hummel," or hornless. In Skye, fairy cattle are said to be speckled and red (crodh breac ruadh) and to be able to cross the sea. There were only a few places in Skye that they grazed. The field of Annat (achadh na h-annaid), in the Braes of Portree, was one of these. When the cattle returned home at night from pasture, the fairy woman, standing on Dun Gerra-sheddar, would say, as she counted her charge:

"Crooked one, dun one,
Little wing grizzled,
Black cow, white cow,
Little bull black-head,
My milch kine have come home,
O dear ! that the herdsman would come!"



  • Campbell, J.G. (1900). Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Glascow: James MacLehose and Sons, pp. 5, 29-30.