Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Our Guesses for Tara's Party!
Picture #1 is a Conversation Fish!
Picture #2 In the View from inside a Nip Tin!
Jack: My Guess for Picture #1 is that it's the skin of a selkie! My OTW told me all about it!
Gather ‘round, everycat, for it is a tragic tale I have for to tell thee!
The selkies are a magical race, who dance and play in the waves as seals, but at times can shed their skins and dance as humans upon the sands. It is said, among those who know the hidden things, that when a seal-maiden, or seal-man sets aside their watery coat, they appear as a mortal wondrous in beauty and fair in form, and a human who spies upon them cannot be but smitten. When such a thing occurred, all too often the human loses all reason and compassion and steals one of the coats, and secrets it away in some deep, hidden place, to prevent the selkie from returning to their submarinal home. This tale is of one such creature.
On a far away rock of an inland in the deep salt sea, there lived a fisherman, lonely and worn from a harsh life, where few were willing to live. Being not a gregarious sort, it had been a long time past when what few women there were had found themselves a mate, and there was no one left for him to court. He went on his way to sea many a day, and longed for someone to be waiting for him when he returned, as other men had. Having no one to do so, he often fished far later than those who hurried home to the warmth of their hearths and families.
One day, as he was rowing toward a harbour that had long past seen the other fishermen return, he heard a strange music. Curious, he turned his boat in to see who would be out on such a cold night, and in such merriment. He pulled his boat onto the sand and crept up the rocks surrounding a cove near the mouth of the harbour. There upon the sands were a great number of the most beautiful people he had ever seen.
The fisherman was mesmerized. His longing for love grew so great, he feared to die from it. When one of the selkie glanced his way, he ducked back behind the rocks he hid in. As he did so, he caught sight of a pile of skins upon the shore nearby. Remembering the tales of his long dead grandmother, he realized he was looking upon the coats of the dancing selkies. A thought stole into his mind, as to how he could end his loneliness forever.
As quickly and as quietly as he had crept up on the gathering, he slipped out from behind his rock to the pile of skins. He snatched one up, and just as quietly, he crept back to his boat and went on his way home. Once there he placed the skin into a chest and buried it in his small garden patch, already turned for winter.
The next morning he rose early; earlier than all the other fishermen, as he did not want them to find his prize. He rowed back out to the cove, and scanned the sands for the selkie bride he had stolen for himself. There he found a young selkie girl with dark, liquid eyes and nut-brown hair. When she saw him, she begged his help to find the skin she had lost. But the fisherman was too lonely to forego the opportunity that presented itself. He gave the selkie-girl his coat and offered to her his protection and his help, and took her home to his small cottage. And there she stayed, for a day, for a week, for a year. Every night when the fisherman came home, she would be at the door of the cottage to ask him if he had found the sealskin she had lost. And every day when he left, she would wander the rocks and shore, searching.
As time went on the fisherman grew to care for the selkie-girl, for though a sense of guilt plagued him, he enjoyed her company. One day, he approached her and offered his hand in marriage, saying that two such lonely and lost souls might find peace in each other’s arms, and as she could not return to the waves, she needed a home and he a wife. Sadly gazing out to sea, she agreed.
Soon they were married in the church by the shore, and over time, she grew to love her new husband, who had so kindly taken her in when she was alone. Still, every night when the fisherman came home, she would be at the door of the cottage to ask him if he had found the sealskin she had lost. And every day when he left, she would wander the rocks and shore, searching.
Many a year they lived together as man and wife, and grew old and grey, until one day when the fisherman returned, he did not find his wife at the door to the cottage. A dreadful thought occurred to him then and he rushed into the garden, fearing his wife had found her skin at last. But the ground was not disturbed. Frantic, he ran through the village, calling his wife’s name, and through the rocks and hills above their home, and finally to the shores of the harbour. And it was there that he found her, floating in a tidal pool, where she had drowned when her foot slipped and she plunged into the waters she could not survive in without her sealskin.
The fisherman pulled her from the water, but it was far too late to save her. That night as she lay wrapped in an old sail at the church, the guilt-stricken fisherman dug up the chest, and pulled out the sealskin he had hidden from his selkie wife for so long. The next morning, he rowed the body of his wife to sea, and as he let her body slip into the waves, he cast the sealskin upon the waters, returning to her in death what he had kept from her in life. Realizing only now the value of the love she had given, and the life he stole, he rowed home, and lived his last days even lonelier than he had been before he stole himself a bride.
My Guess for Picture #2 is that it's the smoke-hole of Valhalla!