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Caointeach is a localized form of the Caoineag, the Highland Banshee.

Etymology

Caointeach means ‘the weeper’, which is one of the name of the Highland Banshee.


Family

Caointeach is a localized form of the Caoineag, the Highland Banshee, which belongs to Argyllshire, Skye and some of the neighbouring islands. Within Celtic mythology, she is a variant of the Bean-Nighe, known as the 'Washer at the Ford' and belonged to the class of Fuath, evil water spirits.

Caointeach was attached to the Scottish clans of Macmillans, Mathisons, Kellys, Mackays, Macfarlanes, Shaws and Curries.


Description

Caointeach has been described as a child or a very little woman in a short green gown and petticoat with a high-crowned white cap. She is said to have a peculiarly loud and lamentable cry, rising at times to a kind of scream.


Behavior

The Caointeach is heard wailing in the night near a waterfall before a catastrophe happens within her clan. Sometimes she beats clothes on a stone like the Bean-Nighe.


Story

There is a story about her in MacDougall and Calder's work. In this tale she wore a green shawl for mourning and served the Mackays. One wet cold night she was keening softly outside the door, and a member of the family put out a plaid for her. She was thus laid like a Brownie, and has never come back to the Mackays.


See also