This week’s fantastic being is the selkie. These people live on the coasts of Scotland, Ireland, and the Faroe Islands—on the coasts and off them, that is, since selkies live as seals in the sea, but they also shuck their skins on the beach and live onland as humans. In human form, selkies tend to be attractive: selkie women are
quite comely, but selkie men are especially handsome and seductive. Selkie men
tend to visit women who are unhappy with their lot in life, particularly
married women whose husbands are away at sea. If you should like to summon a
selkie man for yourself, shed seven tears into the sea and one will come.
Whether man or woman, a selkie is only able to encounter the same person (while
in human form) once every seven years; romances with selkies are therefore
difficult. Sometimes, though, it is handy to have a selkie lover; when in their
seal bodies they tend to rescue one when one is drowning or lost at sea.


Image source: Hannah Gilbert on Flick.

If the selkie you are romancing
is a selkie woman, there is a possible, though cruel, solution to your
once-every-seven-years dilemma: steal her sealskin when she leaves it on the
beach, and she will be forced to love you and/or become your wife, unable to
return to the water. Selkie women make excellent wives, but they often dally on
the shore, longing for their true home. You must keep your selkie wife’s sealskin
hidden and close: she will follow whoever has it, but if she finds it and takes
it back, she will return to her people in the sea. If she had children with
you, however, she will sneak back from time to time to visit with them and
play; she will endeavour never to see you again, however. (I presume this is
because it is hard to forgive someone who stole your skin and kept your from
your home.)

If selkie stories appeal to you,
you might read this arc of a webcomic.
Since telling you it’s a selkie story is a bit of a spoiler, maybe don’t read
it if you care about spoilers. I quite like this webcomic, though, and this arc
in particular. You might also read this story, which is
about jackalope-women, not selkies, and yet under its jackalope skin it is a
selkie tale.

Selkies are also called silkies, selchies, selchidh, and selkie fowk.

Posted by Christian H.