from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A malevolent water spirit of Scottish legend, usually having the shape of a horse and rejoicing in or causing drownings.
- n. Any of a breed of sheepdog originating in Australia.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A malevolent shapeshifting spirit, most often in the form of a horse, believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland.
- n. An Australian breed of sheepdog.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An imaginary spirit of the waters, horselike in form, vulgarly believed to warn, by preternatural noises and lights, those who are to be drowned.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An imaginary spirit of the waters, generally appearing in the form of a horse, who was believed to give warning of approaching death by drowning, and sometimes maliciously to assist in drowning persons.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (Scottish folklore) water spirit in the form of a horse that likes to drown its riders
- n. an Australian sheepdog with pointed ears
The kelpie is a working sheepdog, a participator in dog trials, public displays of skill in marshaling sheep into pens.
According to legend, the stone is cursed and guarded by a malevolent water-demon, or kelpie-type entity, who protects it savagely.
It's based on "Bridle" (Sirenia Digest #3, February 2006), which a few of you might remember, the kelpie story.
In "Bridle," an equally unhappy woman begins to have unnerving dreams about a kelpie trapped in a small pond near her home.
I still favour travelling behind a few hundred steers on a bike or horse with a faithful kelpie as a way to bust through to anywhere.
It won't be long until my 14 year old kelpie needs an Emma.
The dog in the story is not a gentle kelpie but a fearsome fighting hound, and he dies from battle wounds.
For more specific references, I'd gobble up anything if there's an all-exclusive fairy school YA book out there BOARDING SCHOOL SETTING IS PREFERABLY, BONUS IF IT'S ALL-FEMALES SCHOOL WITH RIVALRY NEXT TO A ALL-MALES BOARDING SCHOOL 8D or a kelpie story wherein said kelpie lives in your bathtub.
The long face "Happy Birthday, Patty" one looks to me very much like Brian Froud's illustration of a kelpie ... a kelpie being a shape-shifting water spirit that appears as horse and drowns those who try to ride it.
The next day Jane is followed by a huge dog that looks like some sort of hellhound who takes her to a gnome and a kelpie.