“Fairies with gossamer wings,
Bring forth beauty, grace and joyful things.
Fairies of the earth are caretakers of our soil, water and trees,
They watch over beautiful creatures such as bears, bunnies and bees.
Fairies ask that you breathe in and appreciate the vantage point from which you stand,
Then trod carefully and respectfully with each intentional step you make across this beautiful land.”
You take her, because she is beautiful, and you want her.
You call it love.
You take her, and she does not struggle or try to break
free. You call it love.
And you build her a house by the shore, and you do not
reprimand her for her odd ways; the strange songs she sings in her crying,
crooning tongue, and the way she always stares out at the sea. You are gentle
to her, and she does not complain. And she is still beautiful, and you still
want her. So you call it love.
You always ask her what she wants, what she needs, in
everything except the most important thing. You want to forget that she is a
captive, so you never ask if she wants to be free. You want her to be happy, so
you ignore the sadness in her eyes. You want her to love you, so you kiss her
salt-rimed lips and press your warmth into her cold body, and believe that her
tongue in your mouth means everything you want it to.
You want her to forget she is chained, and so you hide the
key. She smiles at you, now, and she does not object when you twine your
fingers through her dark hair. She is perfect and beautiful, even if she does
stare too much at the sea. When she bears your first child, you are overcome
with joy, and a little of the sadness lifts from her as the dark-eyed baby boy
is placed in her arms. His skin is soft and fair, and you do not notice the
slight webbing between his fingers and toes. You come to forget that she is
chained, and you forget where you hid the key.
The children (the years have flown and there are three of
them now, dark haired, eyes like the seals’, with sturdy chubby bodies made for
playing in the waves) swim in the ocean and catch fish with their bare hands, three
more links in the forgotten chains. You hear their laughter, and smile, and
never wonder why it is that your wife never laughs.
You have almost forgotten how this started, your family in
the cottage on the shore. You no longer taste salt on your wife’s tongue, or
feel any coldness on her skin. Her voice is familiar now, and the odd
inflections and rolling consonants that puzzled you at first cease to be noticeable
at all. She is still beautiful, and you are sure that she loves you.
One night, when the full moon is shining brightly, the seals
come in to shore, and cry like children in the waves. You have not seen a seal
since the day you took her. Your wife runs down to the strand and cries back to
them, speaking in the language that she still uses to sing to your children.
And fear runs through you.
You follow her out, and shout at the seals, and throw rocks
at them (seal skins are fetching a good price, now, but somehow you know better
than to bring out your gun). They dive into the waves, leaving the sea dark and
blank, and your wife collapses sobbing on the sand. You stroke her hair and
whisper words of comfort, and lead her back to the house, ignoring the way she
falls against you, as though she’s forgotten how to walk. (Long ago, you
supported her in the same way, and she left a trail of water behind her as you
walked her to your home). Inside, you pour her a dram of whiskey and watch over
her until she falls asleep.
She is quieter after that, and often you catch her walking
on the beach, looking out at the sea. Your fear grows, for you need her now,
and you believe that this is the same thing as love. She sleeps more often now,
and sometimes when you come home the children tell you that she has not been
able to get out of bed today.
You do not ask if she is sick.
The fourth child is born, and this one has yellow hair and
grey eyes, eyes the color of a stormy sea. She does not look like either you or
your wife, and for a moment, you wonder…. But you love your wife, and you put
this out of your mind, forget it as you have forgotten so much else. And the
child has one good effect, at least, for your wife seems happy again; she
smiles at the baby, and plays with the children, and your worries fade….
Until the baby is four years old, and wants to climb
everything: the rocks on the beach, the furniture, the walls….
And she climbs into the attic, back in the rafters, where
none of the other children ever tried to go.
You are out fishing when she tugs on her mother’s skirt and
asks the question: “Mother, why does Father keep an old fur coat in the
Her heart skips a beat. For through all the years, she has
never forgotten that she is a prisoner, nor has she ceased to feel her longing
for the sea. Her voice scrapes in her throat as she says, “Show me.”
And there in the darkest corner of the attic, cobwebs
clinging to her face and hair, she sees the bundle wedged between the rafters.
She reaches out with trembling fingers and takes it, and a shock goes through
her, like a stroke of lightning. Suddenly, she is alive again, alive after years
upon years of feeling like a corpse made to walk and talk, living in her own
grave… The pelt is still soft and smooth after all these years, and it smells
of oil and fish. For a moment, all she can do is stand there, holding it to her
The children know that something has changed when she walks
down the stairs, holding the pelt to her like a baby. They stare at her with
wide, dark eyes, and she tries to smile for their sake, pitying them. “I must
go,” she says. “The ocean is calling me, and I must go home. You’ve felt it
too, haven’t you? The sea longing?”
They nod. The oldest, Ronan, says, “But we cannot live in
“No.” She clutches the pelt to her, a voice in head crying
that she must go now, now, now! “You cannot, for you are not of the seal folk.
What I have given you is… not an easy gift to bear. But the tides will obey
you, and your fishing nets will be full, and—if ever you need me—truly need me—you
may call out to the ocean, and I will come.”
They are looking at her with sad, wise eyes—seal eyes—and she
feels both regret and pride when she realizes that they understand, that they
will let her go. “Tell your father…” Her fists clench as she thinks of you, as
she thinks of what you’ve done. “Tell him that I was never his for the taking.
And I will never be his again. Tell him that the seals will remember the wrongs
done to us. He will pay.”
She almost chokes, mouth twisting, and spits, “He doesn’t
know the meaning of love.” She looks at the boys, Ronan, who is thirteen (he
soon will be a man, she thinks) and Breen, who is eight. “Boys,” she says,
seriously, “Promise me this: that if ever you love someone, you ask them to
love you of their own free will. And if they do not, you must leave them be.”
“We promise,” they tell her. Breen is crying, and Ciara,
eleven, is trying to hold back her tears.
She doesn’t want them to be unhappy, but she cannot stay
here, in this tomb, any longer. “I love you,” she says, and hugs them one last time,
and walks through the door.
The children follow her, silent, to the water’s edge, and
watch as she drapes the pelt around her shoulders, as she dives into the waves.
After a moment, a seal’s head breaks the water. She gives
them a final look, then swims away, rolling and playing in the waves, before
she dives and disappears.
You come home to a silent house, and the accusing stares of
your children. You don’t believe them when they tell you that she’s gone, until
they show you the space in the rafters where the pelt used to be. When you want
to cry and rage, they tell you it was your own fault. That you didn’t really love her.
It takes a long time for this to sink in.
You stop fishing, for your nets always come up empty and
broken, and storms become unpredictable, the winds dangerous. You begin to
believe that this is the seals’ revenge. They
will not forget. They will make you pay.
And so you pay.
You wait until the children are grown and gone, off to be
fishers and sailors far away. And on a moonless night, you take your boat (old
now, and leaky) down to the ocean, rowing out across the black waters, away
from the protection of the bay.
Long ago, you took a seal woman, because she was beautiful,
and you wanted her. You called it love.
Now, when it’s far too late, you think that perhaps you did
not know the meaning of love. You hope that you know it now.
The boat is found a few days later, washed up on a beach far
from your home. It is empty.
The seals remember the wrongs done to them. And now, you
↳ Abnoba is the Celtic goddess of rivers and forests. Though there is not great amount of documentation on her, it is also thought she is also the goddess of hunt, from inscriptions on roman baths referring to her as Dianae Abnobae.
1. How long have you been worshiping?
2. Do you have a deity that is particularly close to you?
3. Whats your favorite tale about your Gods?
4. Do you keep an altar?
5. Do you consider yourself an Oracle?
6. What brought you to your current path?
7. Do you believe in past lives?
8. Do you think plants, animals or stones have spirits?
9. What do you think your afterlife will look like?
10.Who’s your favorite divine power couple?
11. Do you listen to devotional music?
12. What are your views on virginity? Is it worth anything spiritually?
13. What deity do you turn to most in times of trouble?
14. What are your views on dreams? Have they anything to do with divinity or the future?
15. Do you prefer to party and celebrate or quietly observe holidays?
16. Which deity do you find has the biggest sense of humor?
17. What made you choose your religion over any others?
18. Do you have any food or drink that is spiritually important?
19. Do you have any numbers that are spiritually important?
20. Do you believe in fairies, nymphs or nature spirits?
Áine is an Irish goddess of summer, wealth and sovereignty. She is the daughter of Egobail, the sister of Aillen and/or Fennen, and is claimed as an ancestor by multiple Irish families. As the goddess of love and fertility, she had command over crops and animals and is also associated with agriculture.