A Red Cap or Redcap, also known as a powrie or dunter, is a type of malevolent murderous dwarf, goblin, elf or fairy found in Border Folklore. They are said to inhabit ruined castles found along the border between England and Scotland. Redcaps are said to murder travellers who stray into their homes and dye their hats with their victims' blood (from which they get their name). Redcaps must kill regularly, for if the blood staining their hats dries out, they die. Redcaps are very fast in spite of the heavy iron pikes they wield and the iron-shod boots they wear. Outrunning a redcap is supposedly impossible.
Robin Redcap and William de Soulis
The redcap familiar of Lord William de Soulis, called "Robin Redcap", wrought much harm and ruin in the lands of his master's dwelling, Hermitage Castle. Ultimately, William was (according to legend) taken to the Ninestane Rig, a circle of stones by the castle, then wrapped in lead and boiled to death. In reality, William De Soulis was imprisoned in Dumbarton castle and died there, following his confessed complicity in the conspiracy against Robert the Bruce in 1320.
- Red caps are mentioned by Professor Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling.
- A Redcap (referring to himself as "The Redcap" of the legends) appears in Cold Days, the fourteenth book of Jim Butcher's fantasy series, The Dresden Files. In his human form, the Redcap wears a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap to represent his true nature.
- A group of Red Caps are among the enemies faced in the comic book series Mage: The Hero Discovered.
- The Hellboy story "Iron Shoes" has a Red Cap as the antagonist.
- In the movie and video game versions of The Spiderwick Chronicles, there is a redcap that serves as 2nd in command of an army of goblins.
- Bluecap (Northumbrian English)
- Cofgod (Archaic English)
- Far darrig (Irish)
- Kobold (German)
- Leprechaun (Irish)
- Nain Rouge (French)
- Tomte (Scandinavian)
- Briggs, Katherine M. (1967). The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature. London: University of Chicago Press. p. 57. OCLC 712523.
- Briggs, Katherine M. (1976). A Dictionary of Fairies. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin. p. 339. ISBN 0-14-004753-0.
- Mack, James Logan (1926). The Border Line. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. p. 146.