Banshees, Cú Siths, and Fenodryees: A Celtic Character Quiz
Sure you know leprechauns and banshees (or do you?) but what about cú siths, fenodryees, and the sluagh sidhe? Take this quiz to discover just how well you know characters from Celtic folklore. (If you want to bone up first, at the bottom of this post I have links to “Celtic Moonfish” posts that describe most of the characters in the quiz.)
1. Don’t eat blueberries after Samhain because the _____ spits on them.
2. Banshees are Irish ______.
A. ghosts who haunt rivers.
B. faeries who wail to warn human families of an imminent death.
C. predatory hags who kill people with their screams,
D. witches who appear young and beautiful but actually are murderous old women.
3. Don’t get too close to the Bean Nighe or she might hit you with her stick, causing you to ________
B. drown in the river.
C. become paralyzed in whatever part of the body she hits.
D. break out in boils.
4.. Offering clothes to house faeries, such as Scottish Brownies, is _______.
A. an act of kindness because it frees them from slavery, just as Dobie the House Elf in
Harry Potter was freed when he was given a book with a sock in it.
B. unnecessary because they make their own clothes and the clothes are of a much higher quality than any human could provide.
C. difficult because Brownies are so small and oddly shaped.
D. a tremendous insult, causing them either to leave in a huff, never to help you again, or (worse) turn into Boggarts and wreck your house.
5. The Afanc is a _______.
A. ghostly monkey that haunts a ruined abbey in the Scottish lowlands.
B. Welsh lake monster that resembles a giant beaver. It attacks anyone who comes too close to its lake home.
C. highly decorative sword said to have been wielded by Irish legendary hero Finn MacCumhail.
D. phantom ship which appears during full moons just off the coast of the Shetland Islands.
6. In Ireland, on Samhain’s Eve, ________, skeletal faeries with bat-like wings, fly in through west-facing bedroom windows and suck the souls out of the sick and dying.
C. the Merrows
D. the Sluagh Sidhe
7. Celtic water horses, generally speaking, are _______.
A. beautiful, gentle, and helpful to humans.
B. the same as unicorns.
C. shape-shifters who trick humans, kill them, then eat them.
D. sent to guide souls to the Otherworld.
8. The ________ is a Scottish faerie which appears in the form of a large dog with green fur. It hunts silently then gives three long bays. Anyone who hears it must reach safety before the third bay. If not, he or she will die.
B. Cú Sith
C. Fear Daerg
9. Irish poet and folklorist, W. B. Yeats, called __________ a “malignant faerie” who gives great inspiration to her poet-lovers but then sucks the life out of them so that they die young.
A. Crodh Mara
B. the Leanan Sidhe
C. the Morrigan
10. According to Scottish folklore, the Shetland Islands and the Orkneys came into being when _________.
A. a wrathful faerie separated Scotland from Ireland.
B. the Blue Men of Minch lifted the isles up from the bottom of the sea.
C. the Stoor Worm’s teeth fell out as it was dying.
D. the giant, Mórag, flooded the lowlands.
11. Despite the popular ideas about leprechauns and pots of gold, there is no point in taking gold from a leprechaun because_________
A. it’s cursed.
B. the leprechaun will steal it back.
C. it can’t be removed from the pot without magic.
D. the gold will turn into ashes in your hands.
12. The Scottish faeries, Fenodyrees, are known for _________.
A. being able to move heavy rocks and mow fields rapidly.
B. riding sheep during raucous midnight raids of farms.
C. being friendly but mischievous pranksters.
D. stealing human babies and leaving changelings in the crib.
13. Guard your dairy on Beltane! On that day, the _________ will try to steal your cheese, milk, butter, and even your cattle.
B. Cat Sith
C. Daerg Dhu
14. Stingy Jack is a character whose story _________.
A. was told to Scottish children to teach them the virtue of generosity.
B. vividly demonstrates the consequences of mistreating a faerie.
C. is the origin of the Jack-o-Lantern. In Irish folklore, Jack wanders through the dark carrying a turnip with a flame inside it.
D. is the inspiration for Jack in the Beanstalk.
15. Irish Faerie, the Dullahan, is a headless horseman. Wherever he stops, ________.
A. someone dies.
B. crops grown abundantly.
C. trooping Faeries have their Winter Ball.
D. the Willow weeps.
So, how did you do? Answers and scoring are below.
Answers (Each correct answer counts as 1 point)
1. D. After Samhain the shape-shifting faerie, the Puca, spits on blueberries, making them inedible.
2. B. A Banshee (fairy woman in Irish) wails to mourn the coming death of a member of the human family she has attached herself to. Despite how they are portrayed in movies and video games, Banshees never kill people with their screams,
3. C. Stay away from the Bean Nighe. She’s definitely not a friendly faerie!
4. D. Never offer a house faerie clothes!
5. B. A giant beaver may not sound dangerous but watch out for its tail. And its front teeth!
6. D. Keep those west-facing windows closed. The Sluagh Sidhe even try to suck the souls of healthy people.
7. C. Celtic water horses, such as Kelpies and the Ceffyl Dŵr, are malicious murderers.
8. B. The Cú Sith’s bays can frighten a person to death.
9. B. The Leanan Sidhe is both a muse and a kind of life-force vampire.
10. C. Read the story of the Stoor Worm in my post on dragons and unicorns
11. D. Leprechauns are tricky! The gold will turn to ashes. If they give you silver, they’ll steal it back.
12. A. Fenodryees are hard-working domestic faeries with superhuman strength. They can be quite helpful but, if you insult them, they’ll mow you down!
13. A. In both Scottish and Irish folklore, Cailleachs are hags. Some folklore says they’re faeries; other lore says they’re witches.
14. C. Carrying his turnip light, Stingy Jack became known as Jack o’ Lantern.
15. A. Wherever the Dullahan stops, someone dies.
10-15 points: Ah, you’re the Salmon of Knowledge himself!
5-9 points: You’re a druid or a bard in training for sure.
0-4 points: Uh-oh, the Liath Fear (the Gray Man) must have put a fog over your brain during the quiz.
No need to despair (never despair or the Sluagh Sidhe will come after your soul!). Just subscribe to my blog and weekly increase your Celtic folklore knowledge.
No matter your score, I hope you enjoyed the quiz. Please LIKE and SHARE it. SUSCRIBE, if you haven’t already, by clicking on the “Sign Up” button at the top of the page. If you’d like to know more about these folklore characters, you can find most of them in these “Celtic Moonfish” posts:
“Irish Faeries: They’re No Disney Princesses”
“Celtic Cousins: Scottish and Welsh Faeries”
“Expanding the Enchanted Forest”
“Irish Vampires and Other Lesser Known Celtic Folk Characters”
Slan go foil!
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