The Irish myth of the bean sidhe (commonly spelled banshee in English) is that of a fairy woman whose wailing was an omen of death. She often appeared as a hideous crone or a beautiful young lady, often a washer-woman. In her washer-woman form, she was said to wash the blood from the clothes and armor of those fated to die in battle. She also sometimes took the forms of animals with occult associations, such as weasels, hooded crows, hares, and stoats. The story of the banshee gave birth to the English expression "to scream like a banshee", meaning to scream at a deafening volume or in an especially haunting way.