The following is part of a post from Katherine Langrish's Seven Miles of Steel Thistles on Perilous seas in faerie lands forlorn. Katherine talks a little about Selkies and I think to myself that her explanation is very much part of my fascination with the stories. I also downloaded a copy of Troll Mill immediately...to be updated on my Selkie bibliography.
"And what about the original legends, such as the Cornish Mermaid of Zennor or the Scottish selkie and kelpie stories? The legends are tremendously inspiring - but you have to think about them, find out what they are saying to you. I wrote about the selkies, the shape-shifting seal people, in ‘Troll Mill’, the second part of my trilogy ‘West of the Moon’. The legend is of a fisherman who sees the selkies dancing on the moonlit beach in the form of lovely women, and he snatches up one of their discarded sealskins so that the selkie girl can’t escape into the sea. She has to marry him and bear his children, but one day she finds where he’s hidden the sealskin. At once she throws it on, returns to the sea and abandons him and her human (half-human?) children forever.For me, this legend seemed to be about the difficulty of understanding one another, even in a bond as close as marriage – in a sense, one’s partner is always the Other. It speaks of the power struggle between couples – and the grief of a failed partnership – and, very strongly I thought, about the new mother’s plunge into post-natal depression. And that was how I used it in my book, though keeping the magic and lyricism." Katherine Langrish.
A few days later Katherine had a guest post by Laurie Majorie Miller who give us A Selkie story for a new millenium