A large lubberly supernatural, of solitary habits and harmless character, that haunted lonely and mountainous places and other remote localities. The ùruisg (or ùraisg) was usually seen in the evening, big and grey, sitting motionless on top of a rock and peering at the intruders on its solitude. It spoke to some people, but usually it did not meddle with those passing by, occasionally even giving a safe convoy to those who were belated.
In the Highlands of Breadalbane the ùruisg was said, in summer times, to stay hidden in remote parts on the highest parts of certain hills, but to come down in winter time to warm itself at night in certain houses. In was then that it did work for the farmer, such as grinding and threshing. Its presence was a sign of prosperity. Like the brùnaidh it liked milk and good food, and a present of clothes drove it away.
One ùruisg haunted Beinn Doohrain on the confines of Argyll and Perth. A waterfall near the village of Clifton at Tyndrum, where it stayed when it came down in winter, is called Eas na h-ùruisg. The creature was encountered by St. Fillan, who had his abode nearby, and banished to Rome.
The ùruisg of Beinn Laoigh (Ben Loy), also on the confines of these counties, came down to haunt the farm of Sococh, in Glen Orchy, sometimes watching the herds. It entered the house through the chimney. It was fond of staying in a cleft at Moraig waterfall and kept the waters from falling too fast over the rock. The stone on which it sat with its feet dangling over the fall is called Clach na h-ùruisg, "the urisk stone."
Another ùruisg haunted Strath Duuisg, near Loch Sloy, at the head of Loch Lomond. The ùruisg at "Yellow Waterfall" in Glen Màili, in the south of Inverness-shire, appeared late every evening to a woman named Mary, and sat watching her plying her distaff without saying a word.
The Coire nan ùruisgean, in the Trossachs near Loch Katrine, is said to derive its name from the solemn stated meetings of all the ùruisgean (ùraisgean) in Scotland being held there. In the Hebrides they are very little mentioned. In Tiree the only trace of it is in the name of a hollow, Slochd an Aoirisg, through which the public road passes near the south shore.
There were male and female ùruisgean, and they were said to be the offspring of mortals and fairies (leannan-sìth).
- Campbell, J.G. (1900). Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Glascow: James MacLehose and Sons, pp. 195-199.
- Macgregor, Alexander. (1901). Highland Superstitions. London: Gibbings & Company, p. 62.