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In English folklore, grindylow or grundylow is a creature in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire.[1] The name is thought to be connected to Grendel,[1][2] a name or term used in Beowulf and in many Old English charters where it is seen in connection with meres, bogs and lakes.[3]

Grindylows are said to grab children with their long sinewy arms and drown them if they come too close to the water's edge.[4][5] Grindylows have been used as a shadowy figure to frighten children away from pools, marshes or ponds where they could drown.[6][7]

Peg Powler and Jenny Greenteeth are similar water spirits.[4][8][9]

In popular culture[edit]

  • A hostile race called grindylows appears in The Scar, a novel by China Miéville. They are described as humanoid with grey-green mottled skin, large dark eyes, foot-long teeth and a single eel-like tail below the waist.
  • A grindylow is in the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter as well as the companion series called Soulwood. While they are still ravaging creatures of death, a young grindylow is cute like a green kitten and can be quite loyal to those who know it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Nineteenth Century and After, Volume 68 (1910). Leonard Scott Pub. Co. p. 556.
  2. ^ Schilling, Karl Georg (1906). A Grammar of the Dialect of Oldham. p. 17.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Harland, John (1867). Lancashire Folk-Lore. Frederick Warne and Co. p. 53.
  5. ^ Briggs, Katharine (1976). An Encyclopedia of Fairies. Pantheon Books. p. 206. ISBN 0394409183.
  6. ^ Wright, Elizabeth Mary (1913). Rustic Speech and Folk-Lore. Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press. pp. 198-199.
  7. ^ Colbert, David (2008) [2001]. The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter. Berkley Publishing Group. pp. 123-124. ISBN 0-9708442-0-4
  8. ^ Briggs (1976). pp. 242, 323.
  9. ^ Wright (1913). pp. 198-199, 202.
  10. ^ Rowling, J. K. (1999). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Scholastic Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-439-13635-0.
  11. ^ Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 2. Paizo Publishing they resemble their appearance in the Harry Potter films, though tend to be depicted as blue. December 2010. ISBN 978-1-60125-268-5.