"Long-haired one." A brownie who haunted farms and byres. It was never seen except for its shadow on the wall as it flitted about. The gruagach is usually perceived as a long-haired, well-dressed female, but in parts of Skye, the fold-frequenting gruagach is a tall young man, with long yellow hair, and in the attire of a gentleman of a bygone period. He has a slatag (little switch) in his hand. This gruagach was attentive to the herds and kept them from the rocks. He was to be found in every gentleman's fold (buaile), and, like the glaistig, milk had to be set apart for him every evening in a hollowed stone, called clach-na-gruagach. Unless this was done no milk was got at the next milking, or cream would not rise to the milk's surface. Others say that milk was only placed in the gruagach stone when going to and returning from the summer pastures and when passing with milk.

One of the gruagach's favorite tricks was to untie the cattle in the byre, which would bring out the milkmaid, especially if she had forgotten to leave an offering of milk. On entering the byre, the gruagach was heard laughing and tittering in corners. Beyond this diversion he seemed to have been generally harmless. He sometimes walked alongside of people, but was never known to speak.

A gruagach was found in Troda, an island off the east coast of Skye. Stones where the libations were poured out may still be found at Holm, East-side, and Scrorrybreac, near Portree. A female gruagach or glaistig followed the herds in Breas; the stone in which her portion of the milk was poured is in Creagan na Glaistig an creag mhor Mhic Cuinn (Macqueen's Big Rock).

The name for the tooth fairy is gruagach nam fiaclan.



  • Campbell, J.G. (1900). Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Glascow: James MacLehose and Sons, pp. 184-186.
  • Pennant, Thomas. (1772). A tour in Scotland, and voyage to the Hebrides. London: Benjamin White, p. 360.