Though hideous in appearance, he was benevolent in nature. The Bugul Noz roamed the woodlands of his native Brittany. Sometimes known as ‘Night Shepherd’ because of the care he took of the animals of the forest. On this cold crisp Halloween night of 31 October he felt strangely secure. This was the night; the only night really, that he could show himself in public. The throngs of people that went to fancy dress parties on this night of Halloween (Kalan Goañv); the old Celtic New Year, made it easy for him. Dressed as they were in grotesque costumes, they vied to see who could look the most frightening. Fake blood, fangs, dyed hair, make up, masks, shrouds; the more outlandish, deathlike and appalling the dress, the more admired by everyone. Yes-this was the night that Bugul Noz could feel comfortable with his own appearance. Because the people he met did not know that this ugly looking creature was entirely natural. Bugul Noz did not need a costume and make-up in order to scare people.
Arriving at the edge of the village Bugul Noz breathed in the cold, crisp air. Mist swirled just above the ground creating a grey velvet like carpet. A perfect Brittany night in autumn, full of the magic and mystery that filled the air of his Celtic homeland. ‘Brittany’ he thought and sighed with pleasure. Proud, distinct, unique and despite the efforts of many over the years, independent in mind and spirit. Cursed as he was to roam this land without being able to show his face, Bugul Noz could not survive outside of his beloved Brittany. Although repugnant in appearance to his fellow Bretons, he was nevertheless one of them.
Bugul Noz felt as ancient as the earth on which he walked. Some of the trees in the old woodlands in which he lived he remembered as just saplings many years ago. Was there a time that he did not feel lonely? Maybe, but if there was he could no longer remember it. Sometimes he would meet ‘Ankou’. Tall and wearing a long dark coat, a wide brimmed hat and carrying a scythe over his shoulder, the skeletal Ankou is a collector of the souls of the dead in Brittany. They would greet each other but Ankou was always very busy, even with his two skeleton helpers who assisted in loading the souls of the dead into a rickety cart drawn by black horses.