Samhain 2020 Creature Feature: Cù-sidhe

The cù-sidhe, the faery gound, the black dog. Those are just some of the names for the creature I’d like to introduce this week as part of the upcoming release of The Fae Effect

Many myths associate black dogs with the underworld such as Cereberus, the Greek fierce three-headed guardian of the Tartarus and the cù-sidhe is no different.

As the Sidhe’s hounds, they are often sent as hunters on errands. They are silent hunters but as omens of death, they will let out three blood-curdling barks to signal that someone is about to die. Some say that you must run to safety before the third bark, others say that the third bark would drive you mad. In addition, some stories depict them as escorts bringing souls to the afterlife. Appearance-wise, they range from black to dark green or even white with one red ear but are the size of a small calf or small horse.

You can find the black dogs all across different cultures’ legends and it is all the more common in our pop culture but usually more as plot devices rather than a full-fledged character with the exception of some books such as the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. In the Fae Effect, Queen Aelith sends a pack of the cù-sidhe to hunt Keenan down. But guess who swoops in to save her, Liam or Aegnus?

Regardless, you don’t want to be caught outside when the cù-sidhe comes hunting, especially as a young woman as they are part of the abduction mythos. One of their most common errands is to kidnap women to bring back to the faery realm. The women then are used as consorts, nursemaids or general maids until they are returned to earth, usually as a 7-year span. But beware that time passes differently between the two worlds and the woman may return to find that all they knew has aged and gone.

That’s all on the cù-sidhe. Next week will be our final feature and I will be doing in-depth study into the Sidhe themselves.

The Fae Effect releases Oct 27th.

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