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April 2017

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Mermaid Clown Upside Down

Threshold Three: Selkie's Song

Hans Christian Andersen's mermaids (like early-season Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) have no souls.

Does this extend to all eldritch sea-creatures? What about selkies? What if selkies were sort of like prank-playing succubi?

Last night I was boiling water in Patty Templeton's microwave and singing nonsense syllables to myself. One was, "Ra-ta-ta-tin, won't you let a girl in?"

And suddenly, something shifted. And I had this idea for crueler sort of selkie story, wherein maybe the victim wasn't the seal-maid after all, but the hapless fellow she entraps. Well. It was worth a TRY!

Now I must FIND A MUSICIAN to set it! Guitar, a cappella, whatever. It's simple enough, just kind of twisted.

I know I'm doing it backward. I was supposed to write my reflection first. But I haven't had time to grab Ibsen's Lady from the Sea from the library, and I feel the need, after four or five years, to refresh myself on the particulars.

Without further ado...


ETA: Song Tweaked! And set to music! Thanks to SOOJ! Asterisks are her contribution!!! BUT WAIT TIL YOU HEAR THE DRUMS!!!


Won't you let a girl in?
Can't you open the door?
To your big human house?
And your short human life?

It's not every day I see
On the foam edge of the sea
Such a bonny strapping boy
Like a giddy golden toy
Here's a game we like to play
Every seal-maid in her day
How we call you with our song
How we make you dance along


It's as easy as a lie
Sweet as milk or stolen pie*
What I hide is what you seek
Search until your legs go weak
Something silver, something gray
It's as wet as grass in May
Selkie magic wild and free*
Clutch it close and so clutch me*


I will love you all the year
I will dry your every tear
I will cook your favorite dish
(I'm especially good at fish)
I will bear your children three
They will all take after me
With their eyes so black and wild
Watch your back when they get riled


In a year or even ten
I will find my skin again
Don't be sorry, don't be sad
lest you show yourself a cad*
After all, it's just a game
Every selkie plays the same
Did you think your love so true
It would bind me fast to you?


What I leave is what you keep
Bellyache and troubled sleep
Taste of salt upon your lips
Bladderwrack about your hips
Take the children, one-two-three
They will always love the sea
Kiss me quickly ere I'm gone
Barking gladly at the dawn

Won't you let a girl in?
Can't you open the door?
To your big human house?
And your short human life?

As a BONUS...

Poet and writer Allison Armstrong wrote this VERY MELANCHOLY selkie song in the comments section of a previous post, to a little refrain I'd scribbled:

My Refrain

He took my skin away
And then he looked at me
And where he goes
I follow

Allison Armstrong's Verses

Upon the shore I met him
The tide was coming in
Oh how could I have let him
Purloin my second skin

My mother always warned me
That men are like the tide
They come and go, they give and take:
He took me for his bride

Now where he goes, I’ll follow
No choice is left to me
My bitter tears I’ll swallow
Their taste is like the sea


I love yours! It's wonderfully malicious.
Thank you, thank you.

That's me, Claire Suzanne Malicious Elizabeth Et Cetera...
My. Hero.
Aw, shucks. SUCH a cuddlewump! WUMP!
You're making me want to write about crow-kids, now...
Okay! DO IT!

Is this just a Dare or is this a Double-Dog-Dare?
It's a double-dog dare with ELEPHANT EARS and sugar on top!

Okay, I'll do it. Sometime. Soon. *looks at the queue*

*notices that this is a lot more fun than some of the stuff in the queue*

Maybe sooner than that...
Tee hee.
Is yours a L'Engle icon? It's a cherubim?
Sank you, kind lady! (As the siren said to the pirate queen.)
HA!!! Love it!! I always thought the selkies were craftier than the lore. I mean, come on! They're from the SEA!!!
Tricksy minxes, the lot of 'em.
I love your Selkie song!
Merci mille fois!
Your song is **wonderful** I love the chorus, with the big human house and the short human life, and I love each verse in turn.

And I love Allison Armstrong's too--it's like an old folksong.
Thank you veddy much!

Yes, Allison's song feels very true to the ancient selkie story. You can almost smell the brine.
in ma haid:
-Swamp Selkie & the Muskrat Girls
partly thanks to all the selkie magick flying around between all of us and partly thanks to a story idea Ryan had in FB comments not long ago, about "a bunch of cajun muskrat girls tryin to tempt old Duchamp outta his pirot."
-similarly reverse-predatory Red Riding Hood songs
-selkie vs siren DEATH MATCH
- Want!
(There's something about the phrase "muskrat girls" that gives me TINGLES!

- YES!!! Something dreadfully Angela Carter-ish, perhaps. Heh heh heh.

- Oh, my, goodness, YES! Will think on that one myself. It'd be fun if you and Betsy (Edit: I think I meant BEKAH, actually. Too early!!!) could be the two different voices. A duet.

Edited at 2011-08-12 01:29 pm (UTC)


Heh heh heh heh HEH!

I have written ZE SMACKDOWN!

Or, uh, ONE of them, anyway.

Heh heh heh!!!
Does this extend to all eldritch sea-creatures?

Oh, no. Many of us do have souls, but they aren't human souls (well, some of us have those too, kept in seashells and chests from sunken ships), and we usually can't take them with us when we go up on land, for they shrivel in the dry air.
Guard it closely, there's a lass.
LOVE it!
Ooh, I like it very much, and she doesn't seem so much evil as just very fey. Excellent. And man, look at that: I had responded to the entry when you posted it originally--but my poor sad brain--it was new all over again for me just now. Ah well, all the better. Enjoy it twice.

Edited at 2013-08-23 01:44 am (UTC)