In Breton beliefs, the Bugul Noz ([byɡylˈnoːs] "Night Shepherd") is a fairy spirit who lives in the woodlands of Brittany. He is the last of his kind and is said to be incredibly ugly, which causes him distress. His appearance is so awful that even woodland animals avoid him, and he sometimes cries out to warn humans of his approach, so that he won't frighten them. Though not malicious (indeed, rather kind and gentle), he is always alone because of his hideous visage.
They are so hideous that it is said that occasionally a human will die upon witnessing one.
The Bugul Noz finds a mention in a letter of introduction to a section of the book The fairy faith in Celtic Countries, dealing with fairy faith in Brittany. Anatole Le Braz, Professor of French Literature, University of Rennes, Brittany, mentions the Bugul Noz to the author, Mr. Wentz. In this mention, the Bugul Noz seems less frightening in appearance. Rather than being a spirit to be feared he might, "fulfill a beneficial office, in warning human beings, by his coming, that night is not made for lingering in the fields or on the roads, but for shutting oneself in behind closed doors and going to sleep. This shepherd of the shades would then be, take it altogether, a kind of good shepherd. It is to ensure our rest and safety, to withdraw us from excesses of toil and the snares of night, that he compels us, thoughtless sheep, to return quickly to the fold."
- McCoy, Edain (1994). A witch's guide to faery folk: reclaiming our working relationship with invisible helpers. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 193. ISBN 9780875427331.
- Levine, N. (n.d.). Types of Fey
- Evans-Wentz, Walter Yeeling (1911). The fairy faith in Celtic countries. London, New York : H. Frowde. p. 191.
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