Merry Dancers

In the North Hebrides, in Skye, it was said that the fallen angels were driven out of Paradise in three division, one became the fairies on the land, one the Blue Men in the sea, and one the Nimble Men or Merry Dancers in the sky. The latter are the northern lights, so called because their motion is undulating. If they were unusually quick in their movements, it was considered an ill omen, but when they quietly displayed themselves in a graceful arch along the northern horizon, the fishermen expected fair weather.

In Argyll there is no mention of the Merry Dancers being congeners of the fairies. In France they were called chèvres dansantes, "dancing goats."



  • Campbell, J.G. (1900). Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Glascow: James MacLehose and Sons, p. 199.
  • Spence, J. (1899). Shetland Folk-lore. Lerwick: Johnosn & Greig, p. 116.