Recently I was reading Dragonshadow and The Wicked King at the same time, and, coincidentally, both books mentioned Selkies. In one book Selkies played a fairly important role, while in the other they were only mentioned briefly. I knew Selkies were water creatures but I had assumed that they were like the Mermaids from Harry Potter (ugly and creepy looking, but still mermaids) Turns out I wasn’t even close.
So what are Selkies? Here is what Wikipedia says:
Selkies (also spelled silkies, sylkies, selchies) or Selkie folk (Scots: selkie fowk) meaning “Seal Folk“[a] are mythological beings capable of therianthropy, changing from seal to human form by shedding their skin.
Basically Selkies are Human/Seal shapeshifters who have a unique way of shifting. They literally shed their seal skin when they become Humans. Then when they want to become seals again they put back on their seal skin.
If the seal skin is stolen then they are stuck in their human form, and cannot return to the sea until it is recovered. A lot of Selkie folklore are stories of human men stealing the seal skin of female Selkies and forcing them to become their wives. As far as I can tell, the Selkie woman are not unhappy as wives, but they always pine for the sea and return to it the moment they get their skin back.
In the book where Selkies played a prominent role, the seal skin shrunk to just a cap when it was removed making it easier to manage. Then, when the Selkie put it back on, it grew into a cape and then encircled their body turning them back into a seal. I don’t think that fits in with the traditional mythology, but I liked that imagery a lot!
I read the Wikipedia and Ancient Origin articles on Selkies, so all of my information comes from those two articles and the two books I mentioned earlier. I would highly recommend reading the Ancient Origin article! (And the books but neither one will help you understand anything about Selkies)
Here are some really great pictures I found!
On a freaky side note. Not only was it coincidental that both books I was reading happened to mention Selkies, but three days later, J.W. Martin @ Storeys of Stories wrote a post about crazy coincidences between books you are reading. So that is two huge coincidences surrounding all of this! Its mind blowing!
(Yes I stole your gif … deal with it 😉 )
What are some crazy coincidences that occurred between books you were reading? Did you know what Selkies were before this? What is your favorite mythical creature? Lets talk!