faerie-stories

So what happens if two people who have promised their firstborn to separate witches have a child together? Do they both just pop up in the nursery and have a custody battle?

I need a book about a little girl whose parents had promised their firstborn to different witches and the only way that both ends of the deal were fulfilled was for them to have joint custody of the child.

Lullaby to the Changeling Child

The day may come some day, my love
That finds you far from home
Recall your mother’s words, my love
To protect you as you roam

Eat nothing offered you, my love
In lands of summer fair
Though hunger gnaws your bones, my love
Their food will trap you there

Beautiful are they, my love
The fair and fickle folk
Hungry too are they, my love
And would eat you in a gulp

No lies may cross their lips, my love
Though truth is e’er their bane
But trust nothing that they say, my love
Trickery runs in their veins

So where you go, keep safe, my love
For dangers lie ahead
But now, this night, you’re here, my love
Safe in your own little bed

Inspired by @charminglyantiquated ‘s Elsewhere University (@elsewhereuniversity) work….

 People called her a Changeling, and she didn’t argue with them. But they were wrong. She was Blessed. She woke up to flower crowns left in her room, little gifts here and there. She didn’t wear protections and she ignored all the warnings from her fellow pupils.

After her third roommate in two months the university had decided maybe it would be best for Arriane to be on her own. It was just less stressful for everyone if she decided to continue to tempt fate.

What they didn’t know or understand was that she had grown up in Meadow. A village you would find on no maps. A faery village inhabited by humans. Humans who lived alongside the fae with no fear or backlash. It was a peaceful kind of life. The humans were free to do as they wish, and the faeries didn’t treat them like pets, animals, prisoners. People weren’t stolen away for entertainment. They were hired and treat as they should be. It was incredibly civilised and nothing like the system that Elsewhere had formed, but Arriane was still fearless of the fae. They knew she was favoured by others and she was off limits.

In Meadow humans joined the faeries in celebrations, dancing (sometimes naked) through the night. Drinking Faerie wine and eating fae foods with no repercussions. And the fae, the cunning and cruel creatures of Elsewhere nightmares, celebrated the human holidays with them. They particularly loved Christmas, dressing up as Elves and entertaining the younger children.

It was their wish that Arriane attend Elsewhere, of course it was her choice and she was free to attend any university she saw fit. But why would she? Elsewhere was perfect for her.

So she wore the flower crowns they left, and when she visited Meadow during the holidays she brought gifts back for the Elsewhere fae. Little crafted trinkets and uncommon faerie foods and drink. Little bits here and there. Little acts of kindness. She didn’t wear protection. Didn’t carry iron, or salt or anything that would hurt the Faeries. And they didn’t take her.

She wasn’t a Changeling. She was just Blessed. The other students just didn’t understand.

There was something off about her, even before you noticed she wore no iron or silver. Her off-ness was only exacerbated by the fact that she was a freshman. No one knew her major, and she never went to class, as far as anyone could tell. She looked no different through mood rings, but people said that if you aren’t looking closely (or looking too closely), her hair and eyes look like pieces of the night sky. (Some students with more sensitive Sight swore that something was wrong with her right arm, but no two could agree on what.) She could always (always) be found in the library, even if you just saw her somewhere else. She offered vague “services,” anything from tutoring to “exotic” item acquisition, all for a flat rate: “Tell me one thing about yourself that I do not already know.” (Students often found the first payment to be harder than they expected.)

On top of everything, she clearly had a Reputation with the Fair Folk. They always treated her with respect, of a kind similar to the chemistry department. They called her Tinker, Starborn, or (in hushed tones) Wizard.

She, on the other hand, toed the line with the bored confidence of someone who could trample all over it so thoroughly you couldn’t even tell there was a line in the first place. She Looked at things other students wouldn’t (or couldn’t) see. She Asked Questions (especially about things that Weren’t Talked About). She invited them to her room (and they always left when she asked). She referred to Fae by their chosen nickname, or a shortened version of their true Name. (No one knows how she knows them. No one wants to ask the price for that knowledge.) And despite all that, she appeared to all senses to be whole and unharmed.

But the biggest hint to her off-ness was the way she introduced herself. It was the same to the most oblivious student or the most esteemed of the Gentry.

“My Name is 󠄀□□□□□□□. Invoke it at your peril.”

————————————————————————

Just felt like reminding people that there are Things even faeries fear

x

Elidyr’s Sojourn
9x12, watercolor and pencil

The tradition of fairies in the Vale of Neath goes a long way back. In his Journey Through Wales (ca. 1191), Gerald of Wales tells the following story, set around Neath and Swansea:

‘The priest Elidyr always maintained that it was he who was the person concerned. When he was a young innocent only twelve years old and learning to read, he ran away one day and hid under the hollow bank of some river or other, for he had had more than enough of the harsh discipline… meted out by his teacher… Two days passed and there he still lay hidden, with nothing at all to eat. Then two tiny men appeared, no bigger than pigmies. “If you will come away with us,” they said,“we will take you to a land where all is playtime and pleasure.”’

So, they led him through an underground tunnel to a beautiful land of meadows and rivers, where the days were dark because the sun did not shine, and the nights pitch-black, for there was neither moon nor stars.

The people there were very tiny, but perfectly formed, fair in complexion, the men with flowing hair. They had horses about as big as greyhounds, and never ate meat nor fish, but lived on junkets. More than anything in the world they hated lies. Elidyr was brought before their king, who handed him over to his son, a child like himself, and they would play together with a golden ball. Elidyr would often return to the upper world to visit his mother, and was never hindered. But one day she asked him to bring back some of the fairies’ gold, and he stole the golden ball. He ran home with it to his mother by his usual route, hotly pursued by the fairies. He tripped over the threshhold, and and as he fell the ball slipped from his hand. The little men at his heels snatched it up, and as they passed Elidyr they spat at him and shouted, “Thief, traitor, false mortal!” The boy was red with shame for what he had done, but was ultimately unable to relocate the entrance to the underground passage. He searched for a year along the overhanging banks of the river, he never found it again.

The boy later became a priest, and whenever the Bishop asked him about the tale, Elidyr would burst into tears. He could still remember the language of the fairies, and when the Bishop related it to Gerald of Wales, he responded that it reminded him of Greek.

If Elidyr was lying to cover his truancy, he was spinning a traditional yarn which he knew could be believed. The underground land of the fairies is found in other early fairytales in Britain as well as Ireland, where the fairies inhabit the sidh or barrow - suggesting that fairies owe at least part of their origin to a cult of the dead.

A word on gambling

Hey all, I found the Elsewhere University page like two days ago but man, I was so inspired right away. Please allow me to add to this marvellous universe. 

Some words in advance: 

This story ties into a few others. Nothing but quick mentions, though; @fruedtrollism and @comerunwildwithme you two may catch brief glances of you characters :) It also features the weird humanoid/horseoid skeleton beast from this post

For those who haven’t seen the EU blog yet: Al you need to know is that the setting is a prestigious university set on top of a fairy hill. Have fun reading!


Keep reading

I know I post a lot of Tolkien trash, crack headcanons, and the like. I find it funny, it’s part of my MADD, and in general it helps. But let’s get serious a minute:

It’s times like this when we actually need Tolkien. When we need the stories he tells. Because he doesn’t talk about worlds far away, even though sometimes we might like them to be. Tolkien is about resistance. It’s escapist, to be sure, but it’s also subversive as hell. 

Who saves the world in Tolkien’s stories? The brave and powerful elves help. The brave men help. But who plays the biggest roles? Who kills the witch-king? Who takes the ring to Mount Doom? Who, looking way back to the Silmarillion, is brave enough to go to Angband to follow their love? 

Eowyn. Frodo and Sam. Luthien and Fingon. Characters who are not the most powerful, who are female or not of royal lineage, people who love to wander. People who are not the highest, not the superiors in society’s eyes. 

Luthien’s a princess, and she gives up her very immortality and defies every restriction placed on her as a woman and a royal in order to go after her love. She walks right into Angband because she is so in love she can’t see any other way.

Maedhros’s brothers plan for years to get him off that cliff-face. Who rescues him? Fingon. Who thought Maedhros betrayed him at Losgar. But he forgives. He lets love guide him, and goes, and gets the job done. 

Eowyn knows her role is to fight, even though society tells her not to, she does it anyway. She stares straight into the face of the witch-king and kills him, because she’s not a man, and she knows she’s the only one who can do it.

Bilbo and Frodo and Sam are hobbits: they value good food, predictability, cheer and comfort. But when the time comes, they get out and do what must be done, in order to save what they love. 

Tolkien is not just a faery-story. It’s not just beautiful. It’s about the fact that people who aren’t “supposed” to resist, who aren’t seen as “strong enough” to resist, are the ones who change the system. We need this now. We, who are on this website, who like tea and reading and rainstorms, who are queer and female and introverted and nonbinary and witchy and unusual and we who don’t fit in society’s boxes, are the resistance. And if you think you’re just one person too small to do the job, well, so were Frodo and Sam and Eowyn and Luthien and Fingon. But for love, they did what they had to do. And that’s what Tolkien teaches us. Right now. This moment. This life. 

Resist.

At midnight in the area near the Geology office where the lights never turn on correctly you will find her sitting patiently her ‘hair’ dripping and pooling on the floor. Her silver hair is not quite silver, most people theories that is actual quicksilver. It would not be surprising, they call her the Crystal Maiden for a reason. Her eyes are like polished Labradorite there is no pupil or white to them. Her lips are polished rose quarts and the hollow of her back is like a geode of amethyst not flowing or rotting wood. She has three horns of crystal that spike out of her head like parts of a crown though these colours change depending on variables that no one has been able to fully decipher.

Sweet words and music will not get you far with her. If you want her favour bring her beautiful crystals tumbled or raw. They say that she helps the Geology professor in exchange for his famous rock candy too. It is hard to tell if that is what she is actually eating some of the time since she has been known to eat raw crystals as well. Green fluorite crystals seems to be her favourite when it comes to these earthy snacks.

No one has ever reported being Taken by her and she is one of the most peaceful of the gentry on campus as long as you do not anger her. A feat that is hard to accomplish. She uses no glamour and allows people to see her directly.

She never speaks and people say that it is because her tongue, like so much of her, is made of crystal. Even her hoof like feet are like raw hematite. You can tell if you have won her favour or not based on her tails and crystal crown. If she wraps her long forked tail around your body that is a clear indication that you have won her favour. This can be dangerous as her tails tips are tipped with a quicksilver that changes rapidly from liquid to solid easily. Her tails also weave through three different hallways they are so long and you have to be careful not to step on them. She has been known to forgive those who do by accident. Her crown will always be blue in colour if she is fond of someone and red if she is angry.

No one knows what to make of the soft pink and purple tones her crown turns whenever the geology professor is nearby but everyone knows that if you are kind to one of them then they will both be kind to you.

There are three ways to make her angry

  1. Trying to touch her or any of her crystals without consent.
  2. Bringing iron or salt near her at all.
  3. Speaking of anything related to her and the professors relationship. She hates gossip.

Keep in mind that she tends to poison those who make her angry and won’t even bother to Take you to do so.

[x]

nights like these are when stories 
of faeries are made,
in the hours when the moon is high
and in the fractures of light
she flits around,
nearly flying 

her smile eerily bright
and I keep waiting for her 
to sprout pastel colored paper thin wings.
it is like being allowed to see
something forbidden and private,
it feels wrong, stealing a moment


there is nothing about her
that seems of this world,
but she is the entirety of mine

—  taken by the sky || O.L.
Beads

Hello I am a bit nervous about submitting things for this but I hope this is acceptable. I absolutely love Jimothy and couldn’t help but wonder why he is so okay with the human students and obsessed with beads and I could not get this idea out of my head.

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There once was a girl on campus who always carried beads in her left pocket and salt in her right.

There once was a girl who would give her beads to anyone but there was one she really liked.

There once was a girl who was not afraid  of the monster that most people simply referred to as “IT”.

“IT” had no name but she would give it beads and it would give her teeth.

“IT” liked her it seemed and was nice to her though most stayed away for “IT”.

There once was a girl on campus who would make necklaces of beads and stop carrying salt in her pockets.

There once was a girl who wore necklaces and bracelets made from inhuman teeth.

There once was a girl who never quite made it back to campus after one winter break.

There once was a girl who never got to give her necklaces of beads again.

There once was a girl who was the first to call “IT” Jimothy.

There once was a girl on campus who never made it back to campus.

 There once was a girl called Beady who is why Jimothy does not to Take. For Jimothy learned what it is like to have someone vanish forever without a trace.

There once was a girl called Beady who reminded the campus that it is not only They who Take forever.

In town they whisper of a girl who stands in the field near the river looking out to the campus on the other side.

 In town they whisper of a girl who in the night weeps and wears necklaces of strange teeth.

 In town they whisper of a girl who met a sad fate one her way to the campus.

On campus they never speak of the girl who vanished near town.

On campus they never speak of the girl whose body was never found.

On campus they never speak of the girl who gave Jimothy his first bead.

x

Faerie Food

Stories speak of faerie food and delights that are undeniably delectable, but bring strong consequences to humans. Faerie food is said to taste like Wheaten-bread, mixed with wine and honey.

Some (supposed) examples of faerie food include:

  • Flower petals.
  • Dogwood fruit.
  • (Fae) cheese.
  • Small cakes and other pastries. 

If one is in the realm of the faeries and is offered food and drink - it would be wise to kindly decline. Tales tell of numerous outcomes that can occur: 

  • Trapped - The person who eats or drinks something will be either trapped in the faerie world forever, or temporarily. If one is trapped temporarily, when they come back to the human world, time may have fast forwarded quickly (it could be a few hours, days, or centuries).
  • Appetite corruption - Faerie food is more appealing than human food, and thus whenever the person tries human food again, it will taste like dust or otherwise unsavoury. It is also said that the human will be forever hungry and never satisfied after meals.
  • Control - Eating the food could allow an entity (reputed to be a ruler of some sort), to take control of the human. This could be dangerous if the entity is tyrannical or malevolent. 
  • Shapeshifting - Eating the food could result in a permanent change of form (animals, humanoids, etc) or an uncontrollable state of continuous shapeshifting over time.

When faeries eat their food, they do not do so physically. Rather, they consume the toradh (spiritual essence of the food). However, it is said that when they eat physical food, it may include:

  • Barley meal.
  • Poisonous mushrooms.
  • Goat milk.
  • Silver weed roots.
  • Heather stalks.
  • Toadstools.
The Price 2/?

Summary: Killian Jones has no desire to return to Misthaven, but his captain and his crew are tied to the kingdom in a way he has never understood, and they consider it a duty to be there for the Choosing. Once every fifteen years, the witch in her high tower chooses a man or woman among them and whisks them away, in payment for all she has done to save this kingdom, and to most it is considered a blessing to be chosen. All Killian wants is for the Choosing to be finished and The Jewel to return to sea, and to forget once again all that Misthaven has taken from him. 

tagging @kmomof4

Chapter One


Chapter Two

When Killian had been a young boy, he’d found himself often at odds with the world around him. Or at least, that was how Liam told it.

He was too young to remember it all, or even most of it, really, but to Killian Jones, the world had been the tavern, and the town surrounding them, the sea before them, but it had been more. His mother had called him fantastical, whimsical, when he brought home strange flowers she’d never seen before, and told her stories of faeries and goblins and beasts with kind eyes.

The rest of the village hadn’t been quite as kind.

He’d been so young he could barely remember their faces, but the taunts, the jeers, the whispers of the mad Jones boy they never bothered to keep silent when he wandered by, those memories remained.

He remembered only one instance of true danger, in all that time. The beasties and ghouls he’d weaved stories of were long gone to his memory, but this one moment in time stayed etched in his mind.

The flowers he’d returned from the woods at the edge of the forest sat neatly in the cup his mother had put them in, sunlight drifting in from the window, bathing them in warm light on the ledge on which they sat, and Killian was quiet as he leafed through the book father had brought back from this fair or that cart. He’d only just begun to make sense of the symbols upon the page, and he’d whispered them quietly, hoping father wouldn’t hear his jumpy mutterings from where he sat beside the kitchen.

Keep reading

The Legend of the Faerie Wife

This is a ditty that came to mind as I was reading @takemeawaytocamelot ’s wonderful Red Jamie and the White Lady story. I’m honored that she’s let me in on some of the development of RJWL and that I get to share this companion piece with all of you!

You can find RJWL HERE.

***

An excerpt from “History of Clan Fraser”

The Legend of the Faerie Wife

This story begins over two hundred years ago, with a Fraser of Lovat. He was traveling alone, away from his home and kin. He came upon a faerie hill and stopped to rest amongst the large stones that circled its crest.

It is said that suddenly the wind rose and howled; the stones cracked as if the world opened up around him. Terrible things tried to escape the mouth of the earth as it opened. Then, silence fell and there before him, lying asleep in the smooth grass, was a beautiful woman; a faerie from the hill.

He gathered the woman in his arms, carrying her away from the hill in fear that it would swallow her again. She awoke then, lost and confused, unable to say where she had come from. He brought her home to heal, not knowing that this choice would forever alter the future of his line. Time passed and the pair became friends.

She became a healer, performing miracles to the awe and disdain of those around her. A village girl, who was jealous and wanted the Fraser man for herself, spread hateful lies about the new healer, declaring her a witch in whispers behind her hand. While other folk began to fear the woman, the Fraser man grew to love her; his faerie from the hill.

One night, under a rowan tree, he confessed his love, offering her his beloved mother’s ring as a symbol of his loyalty. It is said that she warned him of the danger in loving a woman such as she, but his heart was already hers. Confessing her own love for him, she gave the only gift she possessed; a kiss. They were hand-fast there, under the moon and stars, and the man and his fairie were one.

More time passed and the love between them only grew stronger but, while their hearts were full, their arms were empty. Months passed, and still they were not blessed with a child. Despite this trial, their passion for each other never dwindled. The man continued to care for his home and tenants and his wife continued her healing.

One day, the jealous village girl saw the Fraser wife dancing in the forest, calling upon nature to bless her with a child. Angry and spiteful, the village girl spread new rumors about the strange healer and her witchcraft. The villagers, fearful of evil demons coming upon them, began to shut their doors at the woman’s arrival. Shunned, she returned home, seeking solace from her husband.

It is said that the Fraser wife received messages, warning her to flee before her day of judgement. It was believed that she had cursed her husband, deceiving his heart and mind so that he would take her to wife. Unless she released him, they would kill him to fully rid the world of her dark influence.

Fear for her beloved husband gripped her heart and she made preparations to return to the stone circle. Although her mind was set, her heart and soul cried out for him; her lover and friend. She sought him out, aching for one last moment. Her husband, unaware of her machinations, guided her to the rowan tree and they were home in each other once more.

The Fraser man woke, cold and alone. Fear gripped his heart, for his wife was gone. Mounting his horse, he searched high and low, finding the villagers doing the same. Realizing where she had gone, he rode for the faerie hill with all due haste, praying that he would be in time. His wife foremost in his mind, he did not see the village girl watch him ride away.

He reached the hill, crying out as he saw his wife approaching the tallest stone, prepared to disappear back into the earth. Seizing her hand, the man pulled her away and into his arms, shaking with fear. Their lips met, their tears mingling as they professed their love again, at the place of their first meeting.

Then, angry cries rose up as the village men with the fastest horses arrived, dismounting and drawing arms to take the witch they sought. The Fraser man drew his sword, gladly willing to give his life to see her safely away. She turned, trying to reach the stone, but the way was blocked.

Then, a great stramash erupted. Her husband guarded her, twisting and parrying, taking down each man who tried to harm his wife. Unarmed, the woman could only watch. Suddenly, the three remaining village men attacked at once, and her husband cried out. He stood again, taking down another. Then another. Then, after felling the last of the attackers, the Fraser man reached for her as he fell to the ground.

The woman held him as his life’s blood left him, crying out as words of love and tenderness left her lips. He kissed her ring, the symbol of his loyalty, promising to find her again. He smiled, the knowledge of her love and safety enough for him as he passed from this world into the next. It is said that the place the Fraser man fell, high up on the fairy hill, is covered with blue flowers; the color of his eyes.

News of the man’s death spread quickly and the truth of the jealous village girl’s lies became known. Many mourned him, for he had been a brave and kind man. Despite this, the healer was still looked upon with judgement and mistrust.

The Fraser wife had her husband buried under their rowan tree before she disappeared. Legend has it that the woman roamed the world for a time, living in solitude until she should also pass from this earth and join her husband in the world beyond.

Then, just as heartache and despair became too much, the touch of her husband’s life resounded within her womb. It is said that the woman and the Fraser man’s love was so perfect that the child was gifted with the magic and knowledge of the faeries. As winter turned to spring, the Fraser wife gave birth to a son with eyes the color of the flowers on his mother’s faerie hill.

Seafoam's Story

He was a freshman when we met, So foolish and fresh. He never carried around salt or Iron and thought it a good idea to think allowed when he wrote poetry, the fool. That boy so foolish and fresh, even wrote and spoke it next to the pool.

So fragilely human yet so unafraid. I may have a few drops of human blood but I am still a seal maid. Iron burns and salt repels. It matters not that my great grandma was human. My grandma was born of the sea like her father. It is rare but it happens.

When he asked me why I was staring at him that day I could not lie and said, “Your poetry is so beautiful and the sweetest of sweets. Will you write a poem for me, John Keats?”

My ability to speak poetically probably made him think I was human, but no it is just one of the few gifts being born of the sea and a small amount of human blood does. Many don’t like me for that and I know that they do not see me as one of their own completely which is why I attend no court or revelry.

He wrote me a poem, I gave him a shell. He wrote me another and I gave him that old silver bell. We exchanged gift after gift and spent hour upon hour by the pool. Oh how I missed him over the summer, I waited and waited for my fool.

That is the thing about Selkie especially those who are females. We fall for humans and mix with them much more than the males.

We become human easily if we find true love which we find in many ways. It is rare to find a selkie with no drop of human blood these days.

When he came back for his second year her worn a necklace of iron but always took it off when I was near.

 That year he struggled with his exam so I made a deal with the man. I would ensure he would pass, but the last lie he spoke to me was forever his last.

 He did not go home that winter or that summer. Many students began to wonder.

 You see I have never tried to Take him. I refused to let him be hurt because of my impulsive whim.

Maybe I am more human than I thought. Everyone said so but they forgot.

He said he would love me forever. I said the same and I knew then the bond I had to sever.

On the night of his graduation we stand in front of a flame. My pelt burns forever and I feel no shame.

We Selkie fall in love with humans more than others of our like. Now I cross the river just as human as my beloved Mike.

On Faeries: Selkies

Selkies are a kind of aquatic faerie native to the northwest Atlantic Ocean, where stories of them are found throughout Ireland, Scotland, the Orkney Islands, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. Similar stories of shapeshifting seals can be found elsewhere in the world as well. The term “selkie” supposedly originates from an older Scots word, “selich”, which simply means “seal.” I have also read, however, that at least in the dialect of Orkney, “selkie” is itself just a word for “seal”. In Scotland and Ireland, selkies are often not differentiated from mermaids and may be referred to simply as “maighdeann-mhara” or “maighdean mhara”, meaning “maidens of the sea”.

Said to live in the sea as seals, selkies may assume the form of a human to traverse on land. When changing into human form, a selkie quite literally sheds its seal skin, which they are often depicted as wearing like a cloak. A selkie’s seal skin is its most important and treasured possession, as it is the source of their shapeshifting powers; without it, a selkie can’t change back into its seal form and return home to the sea. As such, a selkie will often hide its skin in a safe place along the shore while on land. Beliefs differ from place to place regarding when and for how long selkies can come onto land, with some making the claim that they can only come onto land on a specific night once each year, and others putting no such restrictions on them at all. In the Faroe Islands, it was believed that the selkies were the spirits of drowned humans who could only come to land and regain human form on Twelfth Night, January 5th or 6th, when they would dance and revel on the shore. 

Cultures across the world have stories of faeries and faerie-like beings that become beholden to a human who has stolen their clothing and, unfortunately for the selkies, they are no exception to that trope. Many stories about selkies tell of men who steal a selkie woman’s cloak, preventing her from returning home and forcing her to marry him. In most such stories, the selkie lives with her human husband for many years and bears his children, but her seal skin is nearly always returned to her by some means in the end, at which point she leaves her human family behind and returns to the sea. In some stories, her half-selkie children may also join her in the sea, leaving their father all alone. It should be noted that the so-called seal-wives were not always held against their will, with some stories telling of happy marriages between human men and selkie women. 

While stories of selkie women often depict them as victims of human men, the opposite is true of stories about selkie men, who are depicted as targeting human women in a similar fashion. Terribly handsome and seductive, male selkies were said to come to land to seek out unsatisfied or lonely human women, whether married or unmarried, with whom they could engage in sexual relations. Quite commonly, the woman in question is a fisherman’s wife whose husband is often away at sea for long stretches of time. It was also believed that a woman seeking out a selkie man could summon one by shedding seven tears into the sea at high tide. If a woman went missing while down by the shore or while at sea, it was often said that she had been whisked away by her selkie lover. 

In more modern portrayals, selkies are most often depicted as being largely benign and friendly, and while many selkies certainly may be friendly, there was apparently a great fear of them, historically. Faeries are people, after all, and not all people are nice. Shipwrecks, drownings, shoreline disappearances, and poor catches while fishing might be blamed on the acts of malevolent selkies, and mothers would often paint crosses on their daughters’ breasts to protect them from the selkies while at sea. A story from Mikladalur in the Faroe Islands tells of a vengeful selkie woman whose family was killed by hunters, who laid a curse on the people of the island to die at sea until their collective severed hands would be enough to circle the entire island. 

In the folklore of the Orkney Islands, the malevolent acts attributed elsewhere to selkies instead became attributed to another supernatural race called the finfolk, who were a more fish-like race of amphibious sorcerers who would abduct humans at sea and drag them to their underwater homes to be used as slaves. Selkies, meanwhile, came to be seen exclusively as more benevolent and romantic. It is theorized by some, however, that the finfolk and selkies were once believed to be one and the same in Orkney, as the finfolk do not appear to exist in other places where belief in selkies has existed. 

There are many different theories as to the origins of the selkie, which may vary from place to place. A more Christianized theory claims that, like other kinds of faeries, the selkies are fallen angels who were cursed to live on Earth as animals until Judgment Day. Others claim that, rather than angels, they are humans who, for whatever transgressions, were cursed to become seals and live the rest of their lives in the ocean. In some places, as previously mentioned, it was believed that the selkies were actually the spirits of drowned humans who took on the form of seals, only permitted to come on land and regain human form for one night each year. Other, far more mundane, theories posit that stories of selkies and finfolk originated from old Norse stories of the Sami people, who were referred to as “finnar” and were believed to be powerful sorcerers capable of shapeshifting.