[Daily article] March 23: Nuckelavee

The nuckelavee is a horse-like demon from Orcadian mythology that
combines equine and human elements. The name of this most horrible of
all the demons of the Scottish islands may be a progenitor of that by
which the Devil is sometimes known, Old Nick. Though accounts describing
the creature’s appearance are inconsistent, its abilities are well-
documented. The nuckelavee’s breath can wilt crops and sicken livestock,
and the creature has been held responsible for droughts and epidemics on
land despite its being predominantly a sea-dweller. In common with many
other sea monsters, it is unable to tolerate fresh water; therefore,
those it is pursuing have only to cross a river or stream to be rid of
it. The nuckelavee is kept in confinement during the summer months by
the Mither o’ the Sea, an ancient Orcadian divine and the only one able
to control it. This mythological creature may have originated as a
composite of a water horse from Celtic mythology and a creature imported
by Norsemen.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


American Revolution: Patrick Henry made his “Give me liberty,
or give me death!” speech to the House of Burgesses of Virginia, urging
military action against the British Empire.


Scottish settlers on the John Wickliffe, captained by William
Cargill, arrived at what is now Port Chalmers in the Otago Region of New


Led by William McGregor, ten football clubs met in London for
the purpose of founding The Football League, the oldest league
competition in world football.


Bhagat Singh, one of the most influential revolutionaries of
the Indian independence movement, and two others were executed by
British authorities.


The Sierra Leone Civil War began when the Revolutionary United
Front, with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National
Patriotic Front of Liberia, invaded Sierra Leone in an attempt to
overthrow Joseph Saidu Momoh.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

(biblical) A word occurring between verses or paragraphs in parts of the
Hebrew Bible, namely in Habakkuk and the Psalms, perhaps indicating a
pause for contemplation.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  You could never teach other people anything that mattered. The
important things they had to learn for themselves, almost always by
making mistakes, so that the lessons arrived too late to help.
Experience was in that sense useless. It was precisely what could not be
passed along in a lesson or an equation.  
–Kim Stanley Robinson

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