One should never confuse the Scottish 'Wulver' with mere werewolves. The latter are revamped cinema versions, exploited also to sell video games to bored, bloodthirsty video game enthusiasts, whereas the extremely ancient Wulvers are far more unique, because in spite of their appearance, they have an altruistic nature.
Ancient Celts were intelligent enough to be able to reason that Wulvers somehow generated initially from wolves, although there's no recorded biological Darwinian evidence of how this ever came about. Wulvers are alleged to have lived in the Shetland Islands, but it's written that they have also been sighted on the coastal mainland of Northeast Scotland.
If one assumes that Wulvers belong to the long distant past, (which those who prefer to believe that legendary Scottish creatures are ever present, should dismiss) their most important era would have been prior to the ancient Roman or Norwegian occupations of Scotland and its Islands.
In old Celtic scripts, Shetland was known as Inse Catt which means the Isles of Cats. One assumes that this name was used by the pre Norse inhabitants. Perhaps they were fond of cats but had trouble keeping their numbers down. One might then imagine that Wulvers were employed for that very purpose, but nothing has been written until today about such a nebulous possibility.
In appearance the Wulver has the head of a wolf and the body of a man covered with short brown hair. With such short hair, one would prefer to think that the creature is additionally covered in a decent way, although not necessarily in Highland plaid. Any intentions of performing altruistic deeds would otherwise run the risk of being misunderstood, because it's said that Wulvers leave haddock, cod or other such fish on the windowsills of the poor. Now if a poor women ever saw a furry, naked man with a wolf's head slipping a fish on her window-ledge, no matter how ravenous she was, it's unlikely that she would be tempted to even approach such a gift. We must therefore assume that Wulvers leave their gifts in the most discrete way possible during the night, and that they would then have to stand watch to make sure that the cats didn't make off with the fish.
Some say that Wulvers are in fact immortal spirits, so they would never have to bother even about underwear. Yet, there is no doubt whatsoever regarding the visual description of them.
Wulvers dwell in dug out caves about half way up the side of steep knowes, the Scottish term for Knolls. I'm more inclined to think they would be braes, the Scottish term for hillsides, because a knoll would seem to be a bit smallish unless Wulvers are nains.
Wulvers are not aggressive, providing they are not aggressed, and that they are left in peace. One of the reasons for this is that they are fond of fishing, not only sea fishing but also river fishing. For the latter silence is essential. Salmon and trout especially never seem to suffer from deafness and are therefore sensitive to nearby sound and movement vibrations.
Wulvers' stanes are therefore quite common. They are fairly flat stones extruding from lochs and rivers, or found on the banks from where Wulvers fly fish. As no one has ever seen them actually dive for fish or has ever alluded to them leaving their stanes whilst fishing, one must conclude that they have proper rods, lines and tackle, and are respectable anglers.
Should you ever catch a glimpse of one, shrouded in mist rising from such a loch or river late on an autumn day, you should consider yourself extremely fortunate, not only because it's not everyday that one has the privilege of actually seeing a fishing Wulver, but because it's said that whoever sees one of these generous and considerate creatures, will be blest with fortune. Not necessarily by returning home to find a fish on one's windowsill, but by being mysteriously led, as if by Highland magic, to discover the whereabouts of hidden treasure in the ruins of an ancient castle. And then to be able to report the discovery to the Scottish National Trust and deliver the cask and its precious contents to the nearest police station.
Scottish myths 33
Text and image © Mirino. Source- Bletherskite, with thanks. January, 2014