In English folklore of Hedley, near Ebchester in Northumberland, northern England, this is a type of mischievous sprite or bogey beast.
Although called Hedley Kow, this spirit could transform itself into almost any shape to work its pranks.
In the shape of a cow, the Hedley Kow would resemble the farmer’s cow up to the point of being milked, when it would kick over the pail, slip its noose, and run away laughing, or it would wander into the farmwife’s kitchen, scattering the cheeses, giving the cream to cats, and unraveling the spinning and knitting, The exasperated farmer once took a cane to it, but to his surprise the stick was grabbed and laid to his own back.
In the shape of a horse, the sprite would allow itself to be harnessed and ridden as far as a brook or bog, when it would slip from the tack and toss its riders into the mire, laughing at their plight.
The Hedley Kow would tease old women out to gather fire sticks by assuming the shape of a bundle kindling in the road. As soon as the poor dame tried to pick it up, the sprite would roll just out of reach, leading the unfortunate woman on a merry dance, then running off giggling.