The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

Side Note: There have been concerns about my using Wikipedia because it is not a reliable resource. I am well aware of wikipedia's unreliable nature--but that's exactly why I use it. Fantasy creatures are available to all, and everyone should have a chance to add their "discoveries." This website is supposed to be a fun collection of fantastical creature information with fun images to go with. I am not a reliable source--I'm just a collector. Though at this point, I am flattered that people are concerned with the validity of my site. :)

!!!!This is NOT a forum. Comments are to be informative and generally helpful. Clean humor is acceptable, but NOT if it detracts from the entry. This site is to help people find out more about fantastical creatures!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Selkie

Selkies (also known as silkies or selchies) are creatures of Faroese, Icelandic, Irish and scottish origins. They can transform themselves from seals to humans. The legend apparently originated on the Orkney Islands, where selch or selk(ie) is the Scots word for seal (from Old English seolh).


Description
Selkies are a very common sight across Orkney. Heads bobbing above the waves, they are often seen in by the shore, watching inquisitively with uncannily human eyes. To the onshore observer it is not hard to see how the legends surrounding the selkie-folk - the seal people - sprang into life. Unlike the Finfolk, who retained their malicious tendencies throughout the years, the selkie-folk have come to be regarded as gentle creatures, with the ability to transform from seals into beautiful, lithe humans. If this sealskin was lost, or stolen, the creature was doomed to remain in human form until it could be recovered. Because of this, if disturbed while on shore, the selkie-folk would hastily snatch up their skins before rushing back to the safety of the sea.


Male selkies are very handsome in their human form, and have great seduction powers over human women. They typically seek those who are dissatisfied with their romantic life. This includes married women waiting for their fishermen husbands. If a woman wishes to make contact with a selkie male, she has to go to a beach and shed seven tears into the sea.


If a man steals a female selkie's skin, she is in his power, to an extent, and she is forced to become his wife. Female selkies are said to make excellent wives, but because their true home is the sea, they will often be seen gazing longingly to the ocean. If her skin is found she will immediately return to her home — sometimes, her selkie husband — in the sea.


Sometimes, a selkie maiden is taken as a wife by a human man and she has several children by him. In these cases, it is often one of her children who discovers her sealskin (often unwitting of its significance) and she soon returns to the sea. The selkie woman usually avoids seeing her human husband again but is sometimes shown visiting her children and playing with them in the waves.


However, Selkies are not always faithless lovers. One tale tells of the fisherman Cagan who married a seal-woman. Against his wife's wishes he set sail dangerously late in the year, and was trapped battling a terrible storm, unable to return home. His wife shifted to her seal form and saved him, even though this meant she could never return to her human body and hence her happy home. Some stories from Shetland have selkies luring islanders into the sea at midsummer, the lovelorn humans never returning to dry land


In Stories
Stories concerning selkies are generally romantic tragedies. Sometimes the human will not know that their lover is a selkie, and wakes to find them gone. Other times the human will hide the selkie's skin, thus preventing them from returning to seal form. A selkie can only make contact with one particular human for a short amount of time before they must return to the sea. They are not able to make contact with that human again for seven years, unless the human is to steal their selkie's skin and hide it or burn it.


In "The Secret of Roan Inish", a fisherman steals the selkie's pelt while she is sunbathing. She then returns to his house and becomes his wife and bears him children. He stashes away her skin and years later, one of the children mentions it and asks what it is. The wife immediately drops what she's doing, retrieves the pelt and returns to her former life as a seal.


The selkie legend is also told in Wales, but in a slightly different form. The selkies are humans who have returned to the sea. Dylan (Dylan Eil Don) the firstborn of Arianrhod, was variously a merman or sea spirit, who in some versions of the story escapes to the sea immediately after birth.


In the Faroe Islands there are two versions of the story of the Selkie or Seal Wife. A young farmer from the town of Mikladalur on Kalsoy island goes to the beach to watch the selkies dance. He hides the skin of a beautiful selkie maid, so she can't go back to sea, and forces her to marry him. He keeps her skin in a chest, and keeps the key with him both day and night. One day when out fishing, he discovers that he has forgotten to bring his key. When he returns home, the selkie wife has escaped back to sea, leaving their children behind. Later, when the farmer on a hunt kills both her selkie husband and two selkie sons, she promises to take revenge upon the men of Mikladalur. Some shall be drowned, some shall fall from cliffs and slopes, and this shall continue, until as many have been lost, that they can link arms around the whole island of Kallsoy.


A special thanks to wikipedia!

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