There are many troubling things about Scotland and most of them are in the water. It’s not discussed widely, but if you press any Scotsman he will concede that somewhere within the Lochs and lakes of their plaid addled water ways lies a creature of unknown origin and inscrutable intent.. No, not that one. Or the other one. I speak of the Wulver, a wolf headed man that fishes from the shore, or in a boat, and who sometimes wears a jacket. It is said that if you lock eyes with this dammed creature, cruelly trapped between the worlds of men and beasts, that he might make a little small talk before giving you some of his extra fish, only to move politely along without inconveniencing you too much.
That is the entire myth. A hybrid man/wolf that likes to fish and is generous with his catch. Sometimes he dresses up a bit. It’s been around for at least a thousand years and those are the net details available.
Country of origin: Scotland
Is it scary
Certainly…. in the moment, it would be pretty jarring to have a wolfheaded man press unsolicited fish upon me. He’s not asking for any money, but are am I expected to give him money? And I don’t really like fish, so is it going to get weird if I try to brush him off? Also, I’m sure there would be at least a one enterprising werewolf that thought to rustle up a coat and hang out by the shore, hoping a case of mistaken identity would throw an easy meal his way.
And why is a wolf -headed man fishing? It would make a lot more sense if it was a Grizzly-bear headed man swatting at fish from the end of a jetty. I suppose anyone night fishing alone in a peacoat is little unsettling, and wolves dressing up as other things rarely ends well, but that sort of circumstantial sketchiness does not a monster make. Sure, I wouldn’t hire a Wulver to run my daycare, but I’m not losing any sleep.
What does this say about the Scottish:
It is a testament to either the laziness, or integrity, of the originator of the myth that none of the Wulver’s back story, motivation, or origin is flushed out in anyway. Who goes to all of the trouble of inventing a generous wolf/human hybrid fisherman, but won’t even hazard a guess as to how he got that way. And how does the first person hearing this tale ask so few follow up questions?
Wulver Enthusiast: “Hey man, guess what I saw when I was fishing down at the Loch”
Credulous Associate: “A monster?”
Wulver Enthusiast: “Yes, but not the one you are thinking of. It was the dead of night, moon full in the sky, and I’m rowing that leaky boat with the busted oar that Wilhelm lent me. Anyways, I was more than a little drunk so I nod off and wake up in the middle of the loch and I’ve somehow lost the one good oar. So I’m thinking “Wilhelm is gonna break my legs for sure”….when I hear this blood curdling howl, and the kinda shuush shuush sounds of two quality oars doing their business. Now I’m thinking “Maybe that fellow gets close, and I take one those Oars”so I hunch down real low to get the drop on him, but just then the moon comes out from behind the clouds and I see this yellow eyed wolfman… in a raincoat, with an open maw of brutal white fangs, rowing his boat towards mine. I’m shaking so hard I’m fit to fall into the water, but he keeps coming, and about ten feet away he crouches and then leaps straight in my boat, rears up, a good six foot of bristled black fur and nightmare jaws, and asks “Hey man, you want some of these fish”. So I take a couple, and he leaps back into his boat and I manage to paddle to shore.”
Credulous Associate: “Oh, that was nice! Any idea how he got that way?”
Wulver enthusiast “I didn’t think to ask him and it would be irresponsible to speculate.”
Credulous Associate: “No, that’s fair.”
Wulver enthusiast :“Should we ask around to see if anyone knows anything?”
Credulous Associate: “I mean, you already have two fish, seems a settled issue.”
What is the lesson
There is an old adage: Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a wolf to fish, and he will give other men fish if they happen to run into him. And also wear a coat for some reason.