Heritage and Culture
Folklore Friday - The Red Cap
A Red Cap, also known as a Powrie or Dunter, is a malevolent dwarf or goblin. The ruined castles that lie along the border between Scotland and England are said to be inhabited by Red Caps, who murder travelers who have strayed from their homes. Once the horrific murder has taken place, the Red Cap typically dyes their hat with their victim's blood, hence where the name Red Cap comes from.
The Red Cap must kill on a regular basis, so that the blood on it's hat doesn't dry out. They are incredibly fast and, in spite of the heavy iron pikes and iron-shod boots they wear, outrunning a Red Cap is said to be impossible.
Depicted as sturdy old men with red eyes, the Red Caps have taloned hands and large teeth. They are known to bear a pikestaff in their left hand, for hunting wandering travelers.
One story tells of Robin Redcap, a resident of Lord William de Soulis' dwelling - Hermitage Castle. Robin Redcap brought harm and ruin to his master's lands and William grew tired of his destructive tenant. In a final attempt at destruction, Robin Redcap took William to Ninestane Rig, a circle of stones by the castle. He wrapped him in lead and boiled him to death.
There are mentions of Red Caps throughout literature, including Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and in the Merry Gentry novels by Laurell K. Hamilton.