Trows

A term found in the Shetland and Orkney Islands of Scotland, likely imported to there from Norse areas during occupation periods. Possibly a variant of the word trolls. Trow is considered roughly synonymous to other Scottish terms for fairies including sighean.

In some folklore Trows are described as very human in appearance, although they may appear old, shrivelled, or physically deformed. In other stories, however, they are described as clearly inhuman, unattractive, and twisted, even in sometimes appearing as a mix of human and horse. They are often described in unflattering terms as having oversized feet, large noses, flat faces, and short limbs. They can range in height from three to six feet depending on the story. They are often said to dress in grey, although sometimes they appear in green, red, white, or black.

It was claimed that the witches in these areas dealt with the trows, much as we see the witches in other areas dealing with fairies, and as in other areas the trows were known for shooting magical arrows that caused illness and death and for swapping changelings for beings they wanted.  In Shetland the Trows prefer night time and fear the sun which traps them on earth until it sets.  Like some other kinds of fairies Trows will make themselves welcome in human homes at night while the inhabitants are sleeping, coming in to sit by the fireside; they are known to dislike people who lock their doors for this reason.  Trows live in mounds that are often called knowes and like other fairies they will steal humans, most often brides, and enjoy music and causing mischief.

 

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