Selkie, a seal story

Selkie, a Seal StoryThe Selkie is a Scottish/Irish legend of a shapeshifting seal person. They shape shift using the skin of a seal, which the human wraps around himself to shift into his seal form.

What They Are

Selkies, usually, are associated with faeries, although they’re a kind of shapeshifter as well. The skin, as I said before, is actually super important. Unlike other shape shifters, selkies actually have to slip into and out of their seal skins to change shapes. Without the skin, no shifting. If threatened onshore, they’ll grab their sealskins and retreat to the sea.

Although stories mention both male and female selkies, but they tend to be romantic tragedies. Male selkies like to woe disgruntled wives, such as fisherman’s wives while their husbands are away. They’re actually supposed to be very handsome men. If a woman sheds seven tears into the sea, she can call a selkie to her side.

On the other hand, a man who finds the sealskin of a selkie woman can force her to be his wife by hiding her skin. She can’t return to the ocean, although she will stare at it with longing. Selkies are supposed to make good wives. In a lot of the stories, the child finds and returns the sealskin, and mother returns to the ocean. Although she avoids her human husband, sometimes she’ll come play with her children at the edge of the sea.

Where They Originate

“Selkie” really just means “seal” so some researchers have blames active imaginations while watching water animals. Others, of course, blame the faeries. Betcha could guess that a lot of those stories come from the old Irish and Cornish tales. Other historians blame intermarriage with the Finnish, because they wore sealskin clothing.

Writing A Selkie

I think a selkie story would be an interesting one, especially if you wove in factors such as seven tears at the ocean’s edge or a selkie lady playing with her children on the beach. Of course, most traditional selkie stories have sad endings.


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