Brag (folklore)

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A brag is a creature from the folklore of Northumberland and Durham that usually takes the form of a horse or donkey. It is fond of tricking unwary wayfarers into riding on its back before throwing the rider into a pool of water or bush, afterward running off laughing, much like the Bäckahästen (brook horse) or kelpie. The brag is also said to have appeared as a calf with a neckerchief, a naked headless man, and even four men carrying a sheet. Some well-known brags are said to live at Picktree (where it was called the Picktree Brag[1]) and Humbleknowe.[2]

There is also another similar shape-shifter in Northumbrian folklore, the Hedley Kow.

In Popular Culture[edit]

Gary the Horse, from webcomic Bad Machinery, identifies himself as a brag after bucking character Shauna Wickle into water after convincing her to take a ride on his back.


  1. ^ Notes on the folk-lore of the northern counties of England and the borders By William Henderson, 1866, page 233.
  2. ^ Simpson, Jacqueline. A Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford University Press 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-210019-1