Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Selkie, Part III

Finally! The topsy-turvy is finished -- including the woman half of the selkie. The tail makes for a tight topsy-turvy fit, due to the bulk of her cheesecloth robes (I'll be modifying this pattern in the future, I'm sure). I sewed strands of muslin seaweed in her hair. Green threads and rough cording are knotted to form her necklaces.

Sometimes, a selkie maiden is taken as a wife by a human man and she has several children by him. In these stories, it is one of her children who discovers her sealskin (often unwitting of its significance) and she soon returns to the sea. The selkie woman usually avoids seeing her human husband again but is sometimes shown visiting her children and playing with them in the waves....

Selkies are not always faithless lovers. One tale tells of the fisherman Cagan who married a seal-woman. Against his wife's wishes he set sail dangerously late in the year, and was trapped battling a terrible storm, unable to return home. His wife shifted to her seal form and saved him, even though this meant she could never return to her human body and hence her happy home.

Some stories from Shetland have selkies luring islanders into the sea at midsummer, the lovelorn humans never returning to dry land. (Wikipedia, "Selkies").

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