Variations: Water Leaper, Water Spirit
Welsh fishermen, especially around Llyn Gwynan and Llyn Glas, have to contend with the attention of the troublesome Water Spirit, the Llamhigyn y Dwr or “Water Leaper”.
A llamhigyn y dwr looks like a large and monstrous toad, except with a long tail and wings instead of legs. It hides in lakes and other bodies of water, and is carnivorous by nature. Shepherds know not to let their sheep or dogs near the water’s edge, lest the llamhigyn y dwr pounce on them and drag them below.
Fish lost to anglers in those lakes are always the work of a llamhigyn y dwr. It will take the bait cleanly off hooks, or even pull fishermen into the lake. They are fast and powerful swimmers, and will run away with hook, line, rod, and angler. One fisherman’s grandfather told of hooking a llamhigyn y dwr, only for it to emit an ear-splitting shriek, and it would have pulled him off the boat had his friend not been with him.
These tales of the llamhigyn y dwr were told – with significantly more colorful language – by one Ifan Owen, a trustworthy angler by trade with no reason to exaggerate.
Jones, T. G. (1930) Welsh Folklore and Folk-custom. Methuen and Co., London.
Rhys, J. (1901) Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx, vol. I. Clarendon Press, Oxford.