The Black Dog-emissary of the Devil

“The Black Dog’s day will come yet”. This is an English translation of a Gaelic saying. In Scottish folklore, dogs were often seen as messengers of the Devil or sometimes even the Devil himself, particularly if they were dark in colour. Some folk believed that black dogs were witches in temporary disguise while others felt they were ghosts of the departed. Fans of Harry Potter will remember Fluffy, ┬áthe three-headed dog who guarded the trapdoor to ┬áthe Philospher’s Stone. Similar roles were assigned to dogs in folk tales as guardians of underground treasure. There is another theory, however, that black dogs were souls of the condemned, forced to take that form as punishment for their crimes.

Black Dogs as ghosts. Courtesy of medbherenn.com

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