Ghillie Dhu, or Gille Dubh was a solitary male fairy in Scottish folklore.
Banished by the Fairy Queen, kept himself to himself living in the countryside near to human settlements.
He was kind and reticent, sometimes wild in character, but had a gentle devotion to children.
However, he can be aggressive to anyone who enters its territory. He prefers the birch tree to all other trees, and is most active at night. In lore, this solitary spirit is said to don’t eat meat, so his diet consists of berries and nuts.
Other stories indicate that Ghillie Dhu could actually be an aggressive being that especially dislikes humans. If you were to walk in the forest at night, the Ghillie Dhu would wrap its long arms around you, squeeze you, and imprison you forever.
Others say it simply crushes you into compost to help the forest grow.
Dark haired and clothed in leaves and moss, he lived in a birch wood within the Gairloch and Loch a Druing area of the north-west highlands of Scotland, and he was mainly seen in the latter part of the 19th century.
The woods are in a dip alongside a hilly area, around 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) from where Rua Reidh Lighthouse was later built.
As story goes, one summer evening a young local child named Jessie Macrae wandered into the woods and became lost. Jessie was found by the Ghillie Dhu who looked after her until the next morning when he took her home.
Over a period of four decades the fairy was frequently seen by lots of different people but Jessie was the only person he conversed with.
Generally of a disheveled appearance, he used green moss and leaves taken from trees as clothing.
As implied by his name, he had black hair and he was of a small stature. In fact, Ghillie is an English equivalent of the Scottish Gaelic word gille. Edward Dwelly, a Scottish lexicographer, lists gille as a “lad”, “youth” or “boy” with dubh translating as “dark” or “dark-haired”.
Shortly after the episode with Jessie, a group of Mackenzie dignitaries were invited by the landowner, Sir Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch, to get together to hunt and capture the Ghillie Dhu.
The team of five hunters congregated at the home of one of Mackenzie’s tenants where they were provided with an evening meal before setting off on their mission to shoot the creature.
Despite searching extensively throughout the night, the hunters could not find their prey.
And the Ghillie Dhu was never seen again.
Images from web – Google Research