The Selkie is a shape shifting faery that lives in the cold waters off the coast of the Shetland and Orkney Islands in the United Kingdom.
The Selkie appears as a seal, but with distinctly human eyes. When it removes its skin, it appears as a beautiful woman, or a handsome man.
It is said that the Selkie men make good lovers, and they are happy to please any of the unsatisfied women on the islands. Though they can be a bit mean, and don’t actually make very good husbands. If a woman desires a Selkie lover, all she has to do is go to the sea and cry seven tears into the water.
On occasion, a mortal man may desire a Selkie woman for his wife, for to have the love of a faery wife is to have heaven on earth. To do so, he must carefully watch the beach for a Selkie woman to remove and hide her seal skin cloak. Then, while she is distracted with dancing, playing or sunning herself on a rock, he must steal her seal skin cloak and hide it where she can never find it. She is then obligated to be his wife, and will do so faithfully, if not happily.
There once was a man who managed to gain himself a Selkie wife. They had three children together, and were married for many years, and though she was a faithful wife, her heart was filled with longing to return home to the sea. One day her children were playing and they found an old trunk that was unknown to the Selkie woman. At the bottom of the trunk was a mysterious skin, and the children took it to their mother, asking her if she knew what it was. Recognizing her seal-skin cloak, she took it to the seashore and disappeared into the sea.
Some say her husband died of a broken heart, for having once loved a faery woman, the love of a mortal woman can never compare. Some say that the Selkie returned to her home on the land on occasion to teach her children faery healing.
The story of the Selkie reveals to us the power of our connection to our homeland, and the homeland of our ancestors. No matter how much the Selkie loved her mortal family, her heart constantly called her back to the Sea. Somewhere in our past, the land of our ancestors calls to us, and we too, know the feeling of longing for home.