The Water Horse of the Faroe Islands
Sørvágsvatn or Leitisvatn is a cliff lake located 32 m above the level of the sea in the Faroe Islands. It is found on the island of Vágar. It has a surface area of 3.56 km2 and a maximum depth of 59 m.It empties into the Atlantic Ocean through a 30 m high waterfall.
There are many myths and legends surround the lake .One concerns a creature called Nykur or Nix a shape shifting spirit that often takes the form of a horse. Nykur entices people close appearing tame and docile, then its drags them to the bottom of the lake before they can escape. However if you say its name it loses its power and returns to the bottom of the lake alone.
Several stories abound about the Nix. One day, two young brothers were playing by the lake when the Nykur approached the younger one. The young boy excited by seeing the beautiful horse shouted to his brother Niklas, to come see the horse. He said Nika or Nix ,his pet name for his brother and the Nykur thought he was calling its name and went back into the lake alone
Another story is about a a clergyman who was on his way from Miðvágur to Sørvágur. He saw a beautiful woman who was sitting on a rock, combing her hair. The clergyman suspected it was the Nix, and picked up a pebble and threw it at the woman on the rock. The pebble grew in size and turned into a big rock. The Clergyman then starting praying at the Nix, and told it to go into the rock. The Nykur had to obey. It is said that the rock can still be seen close to the village of Vatnsoyrar.Some say if you put your ear to it,you can hear the Nix inside trying to get out.
These stories of water spirits ,especially those who change into water horses and drag people to their deaths,are common around the world. Could there have once been water creatures that lived in deep lakes and dragged people underwater? Perhaps they had horse like heads ,hence the water horse stories.There are often truths in old tales and legends and the common theme in water horse stories does make you think, could some sort of creature once have existed?
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