Style Selector
Layout Style
Boxed Background Patterns
Boxed Background Images
Color Scheme
See caption
Illustration from Popular Tales of the West Highlands, Vol. IV

The fachan of Glen Etrive in the Scottish Highlands, Direach Ghlinn Eitidh, is a monstrous creature described as having one leg, a single eye, and a hand protruding from the centre of its chest. The folklorist John Francis Campbell has drawn a comparison with the nesnas of Arabic tradition, which he describes as having half a head, half a body, and one leg, on which it hops about.[1] The Irish academic and politician Douglas Hyde has noted the existence of a similar monster in Irish tradition, and has suggested that both creatures are forged from a common Gaelic tradition, and that fachan may be a diminutive of the Irish fathach, meaning giant.[2]

The fachan may be a vestigial memory of the way that Celtic priests were said to have performed certain rituals, with one eye closed, standing on one leg, and one arm outstretched.[3]



Alexander, M. (2002). A Companion to the Folklore, Myths & Customs of Britain. Sutton Publishing.
Campbell, J. F. (1862). Popular Tales of the West Highlands (4): Vol. IV. Edmonston and Douglas.
Hyde, D. (1890). Beside the Fire: A Collection of Irish Gaelic Folk Stories. David Nutt.