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Molly Childers : Multicultural Muses : Mermaids : Page 3

From Sirens to Selkies: Mermaids as Muses

continued from page 2

The Mermaid's Tale: In Defense of Our Use of Sex as a Deadly Weapon

Mermaids have long been accused of lewd and lascivious behavior designed to drive men out of their minds with lust. Of this, we are definitely guilty — but we view this as self-defense, even self-preservation rather than an attack of the innocent, with malice aforethought. I'll explain that in a minute. Furthermore, you claim that we have committed countless murders, drowning our helpless victims in hurricanes, or calling malicious curses down upon their heads. All of this is true. I admit to all these so-called "crimes," and a million more! But I maintain that they are acts of self-defense, rather than hostility.

Men sail to our islands from every port on the planet, each hoping to conquer our people, enslave us, and claim our homes for their own. They come like a ceaseless tide, breaking upon the rocks. Many have come…many have been broken. They come to rape us, steal our treasures, and claim our secrets for themselves.

They were armed with cannons and guns, knives and long spears… and what weapons did I have? Only this body, this spirit, this mind…and all flesh is weak. Just this…my cunning crimson lips, ripe with sweet song and rich with riddles…my raven curls, an indigo splash of night-time I ply with pearly comb and scallop-shell brush, then dress with hyssop and water-myrtle, and precious jewels and keys…my knowing eyes, dark and deep enough to drown in — and many men have, chappie, many men have…just my perfect breasts in a seashell bikini, my graceful hands and iridescent scaly tail, my golden wings…just this heart no man can tame — this fearless heart. so wild and free!

Selkie Story Starter: Write Now!

Selkies, or seal-women, are magical creatures which can appear as human females or seals. With the aid of magical sealskin cloaks, they make the transformation from one to the other whenever it suits them. Some mortals have attempted to entrap these gentle creatures by taking their cloaks from them to prevent them from returning to the watery realms below, always with disastrous results.

I'll give you the first scene of a short story about Selkies — you supply the rest! If you'd like to share your story with me, please send it to: or get in touch via snail mail at P.O. Box 4281, Durango, CO 81302-4281.

Once upon a time, but not so very long ago, a man was out walking by the river late at night with his dog. They came upon a strange scene- seven lovely women, dancing naked near the shore. The man was too shocked to speak or make a sound, but the dog began to bark. Quick as winking, the seven women dressed themselves in magical sealskin cloaks and were transformed into seals. They slipped into the water and swam away. The man could not believe his eyes, and vowed to return the next night, hoping to find the Selkies dancing beneath the moon…

What happened next? Let me know!

Inspirational Quotes and Notes

If you want to learn more about mermaids, please read Theodore Gachet's fabulous, "Mermaids: Nymphs of the Sea." It is a wonderful resource for all things mermish, as well as a feast for the eyes, with interesting photos, beautiful artwork, and whimsical, fun overlays.

Some of our most prominent and talented writers have been inspired by these fish-tailed beauties. Read on for some inspiring quotes…

"And if the earthly no longer knows your name whisper to the silent earth I'm flowing. To the flashing water say, I am."
— Rilke, The Sonnets to Orpheus

"Go, and catch a falling star
Get with child a mandrake root
Tell me, where all times past are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot,
Teach me to hear the mermaids singing."
— John Donne

"I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."
— T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" •

© 2007 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »