amandajane17 (amandajane17) wrote in faerie_tales,

The Selkie

Here's my  take  on the  selkie  legends......I know  it;s  Cornwall    I've used  but it's still Celtic  isn't it ?

The Selkie

In the Cornish  fishing village of Newquay lived a young fisherman called  John Teagel.

For  any boy born  into  this sort of community;    fishing was   in the blood and bone   and John loved  the life dearly.

The only things  he  lacked  were a wife and children.   

 He'd  always been confused and bemused  by the mystery of girls;   and his  painful shyness  meant  that approaching them was   just too  much of a challenge.

It wasn't that he was short of admirers.   He was  tall, dark haired  and handsome ; with deep warm eyes of a  luminous blue/grey,   he was  gentle,  hard working  and  almost too warm hearted  for his own good.

Any  girl in the village would have  married him like a shot,  if he  could  up the courage to  court and win her.

So here he was into  his thirties ;  as  unmarried and innocent  as a school boy.


The seals  had been  spotted in the  harbour again.  John loved to see  them ;   watching the boats   coming in   from their nights work  with benign  interest in their  huge  tender eyes.

Rumour  was  that these were  not ordinary seals  but selkies;  those  strange faerie  creatures that were  seals   but could become human at will.

“ That's what you  want John lad, “  the older men teased  him.  “ Them  selkie  women are said to  be great  beauties;   and not  backwards  when it comes to getting  a man .”   

He saw them wink lasciviously as they  dug elbows into his ribs.

It was a  tempting thought.  He had friends aplenty in the village;   but  in the day when  he  slept alone ;  and  each night with   no one to wave him off at the door;  he knew how lonely he was.


One  sleepless  Saturday  night  around midnight  he decided to go and have a stroll   by the harbour  to clear his head.

A full moon shone out from a clear sky and he  smiled up  at her  like an old friend.

When he reached the harbour he was amazed to  see  a woman  sitting  on the harbour wall  wrapped in a black cloak.

As he got closer he  noticed   that  she was    exceptionally beautiful;   and to his discomfort   realised  that   the  ' cloak'   was in fact her  own  very long hair;    beneath which she was entirely naked.

“ Waiting for  someone Lass ? “   He asked her;   there would be no fishing boats out again now  until the Sabbath  was over of course;  but  men  still travelled.

“ No, “   she answered in a soft , wistful ,  musical voice;    “ I'm just sitting here dreaming.
I might  ask the same of you .”

“ I couldn't sleep. “  John answered  her.    He began to wring his hands  with nerves as he approached a  delicate subject.    “ Forgive me for noticing,   but  well,   you might catch your death  sitting there  with naught but your hair to cover you.   I can offer you  a bed for the night if you've no where  to go ? “

The  woman  stood up,   she was slender and tall,   her head just reaching John's hawk like nose.

“ That's  a  good  strong nose you  have there my fine handsome lad, “   she whispered tenderly   placing a single sweet kiss on it's tip.  “ suits you very well.  Now are you going to tell me your name ?   It's not my habit to accept hospitality from a stranger.

“ John,”   he muttered, mesmerised by her;   “  John Teagel, “

“ Good   Cornish name  Teagel,”  she answered.   It means [i] 'beautiful '[/i]  did you  know that ? '

John shook his  bowed head  and blushed yet more as  she  went on;  “ got it right  with you  didn't they  just ?  but so  bashful too, “

She was teasing him  but oh so gently.     “ My name's  Menna   by the  way, “   she added ;   “ now thank you  I'll accept your kind offer  of  a bed. “

John put his coat around  her shoulders and took her to  his cottage.  He gave her an old shirt to wear  and fetched  bedding from a cupboard.

“ You have the  bed.  I'll be fine here,”  his breath caught  in his throat as a long  chill hand  touched his cheek.   “ What a  sweet man  you  are.   Sleep  well  John . “


In the morning she was gone  and John might have thought  it a dream;  but for his folded shirt and  a note.

[i]Dear John.   Thank you.  I will come back.   Love Menna xxxxxxxx[/i]

Good as her word she was back that  evening  with a  lobster to cook for supper.   She saw him off  to his boat;   promising to  return yet again before  vanishing.

For the next month  this is how things went.   John and Menna  spent  the late afternoon and evening together  and then  parted at the harbour as  John went to  his work.

At the next  full moon  Menna  seemed itching to tell  John something.  “ What worries you lass ? “  He asked.   “ Don't  be afraid to tell me, “

“ I'm a selkie John,”   there it was out.   “ I never expected to fall in love with a  man ;  but I have  and now  I'm torn between land and sea.   Will you let me  have another moon cycle  back with  my people to  decide where I belong ? “

John knew his heart  would break if she chose the sea;  but he would not  trap her  and  so kissed her with aching  tenderness;    and    for the first   time saw her don her seal skin before  she slid into the water.


Never had a month passed  so slowly for John.  His heart and body ached  for his lovely  Menna   as it never had before.

His only relief was an adorable female  seal  who appeared to follow his boat  and  watch over it.
Something in her  huge grey eyes  made him think of  his beloved selkie maiden.

At last   the  next full moon appeared in the sky as he prepared for work.  Heart thudding with fear and hope  he headed for  the harbour.

There she was......even  lovelier than he remembered her  and this time dressed  like a fisherman's wife with  her wild hair tamed into a plait.

“ I love  my  people  John,”   she whispered;   “ but  I  love you  more.   I couldn't bear  to live apart from you  any longer. “

She gave a soft moan as his arms and lips found  her again;  drawing her close;  never more wanting  to let go .

“ It was  you  following my boat wasn't it ? “  he asked; tears of joy  wetting  both their faces

“ Yes ,”   Menna  smiled;   I had to see you safe;  

and tonight I have given my  seal skin back to the sea  asking her to send you  back safely to me  in return. “
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