Wee Folk and Their Friends


Selkies, the seal people of the Orkney and Shetland Islands, wish to live harmoniously with those humans who love the sea as much as they do. They have sometimes been confused with the sirens of Greek lore that have no interest in creating anything but death and chaos for seafarers. The selkies can shape-shift and appear in human form, resuming their true forms only when they wish to travel through the sea.

The selkies are among a small number of gentle and supernatural beings. They often take human spouses and produce children who occasionally have webbed hands and feet and who are always born with a love for the sea. But one day the selkie's desire for the sea will overwhelm her, and she will reclaim her discarded seal skin and return to the ocean, where she will keep in touch with her human family only by her song and an occasional appearance near the shore. John Sayles wrote and directed an enchanting film about the selkies in The Secret of Roan Inish (1994), adapted from Rosalie Frye's novella The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry.

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