Once there was a married couple who lived on the mainland of the Orkney Islands, in Northern Scotland. Their home was a small cottage near a small beach. Cliffs and trees surrounded the little beach and it was rocky with small patches of sand and grass.
Maden had eyes that were as green as the Scottish countryside, and hair that was as fiery as his love for his wife. His wife’s name was Aibfinnia, in Gaelic meant ‘Beautiful’, which was hardly an understatement. She was the prettiest woman in all of Scotland. Her skin was a milky color, with hair as white as sea foam, and her eyes were as blue as the sea. They were married for many years, Maden loved her, and she loved the sea. She would often play at the beach in the shallows and dive deep underwater despite how bone chilling the water was.
One day when she was out standing on a rock inhaling the salty sea-breeze, she slipped. Falling underwater to the dark depths, she drowned. Maden had just come home to find his wife gone; “She must be at the sea” he said to himself and thought nothing of it. After packing a small basket with Aibfinnia’s favorite foods he walked to the shore hoping to have a romantic picnic with his love. The Polis were scattered about and a small, chubby man scurried up to him and told him what had happened. Maden was devastated.
Every day for three years he would sit on the shore and mourn the loss of his beautiful wife. On the third anniversary of her death Maden had brought a picnic. Eating a small Scotch Pie he gazed off into the distant sunset, something caught his attention. It was beautiful singing, he searched about and when he came around a big rock he saw her. It was Aibfinnia, shedding a seal skin on a secluded section of the beach, singing a sweet tune that sounded faintly like dolphins.
She left her seal hide on a small boulder and started dancing. While she was distracted a thought rushed over Maden’s mind. ‘My wife, she’s become a Selkie! If only I could get that pelt’ he thought. Sneaking around the rocks he grabbed the pelt and ran home. Once he locked away the pelt in a dusty trunk downstairs he ran back to the shore. Aibfinnia was still there, dancing as gracefully as a seal in the ocean. He waited, and when she was done she searched for her pelt all over but alas, it was nowhere to be found. Walking out from behind the rock Maden spoke, “I have hidden your pelt, beautiful Selkie. Now you must be my wife.” Aibfinnia obliged to this.
Soon they were married, and on the third year of being married Aibfinnia bore him a son named Ronan. Since he was human and Selkie, he had webbed fingers and toes. He was pale and kind of weak, but he took after his mother for he was the most beautiful baby in Northern Scotland. When Ronan was around five she would often tell him stories of the sea and the creatures in it, and even though he would question every time, she never told her son what she was. They were a happy family for years, but Maden often caught Aibfinnia gazing out the window at the sea. He could tell she longed for the moody water. Even though she loved playing with her son in the shallows, it was nothing compared to swimming in the depths of the open ocean.
Everyday Maden felt worse and worse about taking the pelt and forcing his wife to stay. Even though he loved her so much, he knew she didn’t belong on land anymore. Glancing out the window, he saw Aibfinnia and Ronan coming back home. Before they reached the porch Maden hid a small key under Aibfinnia’s pillow.
That night after they had eaten dinner, and after Ronan’s bedtime story and kiss Goodnight, Maden and Aibfinnia retired to bed. “Aibfinnia,” Maden said as a tear fell from his lash, “I just want you to know that I love you more than anything but I’d give you whatever you wanted if it took away your sorrow.” She stared at him, her mind muddled with thoughts of the ocean. When she came back to reality she said “I love you too Maden. Please don’t cry.” She gently wiped away his tears and kissed him for the last time. Late in the night Aibfinnia awoke with her pillow on the floor, and the little rusty key in front of her on the bed. She took it in her hand and kissed her husband on the forehead, “I love you… And, Thank you.” she said after she kissed him and scurried to find the pelt.
When she got to the basement she found the trunk and upon unlocking it, took the pelt and hopped out the front door. When she got to the shore she pulled on her pelt and returned to the sea forever. When they awoke in the morning Aibfinnia was gone, and Maden was glad he made her happy even though it filled him with grief. Seven years later Maden was sitting on the beach while Ronan was playing. When he looked up he saw a seal playing with his son in the water. He smiled to himself for he knew that it was Aibfinnia checking up on him and Ronan. A tear shed from the Seal’s eye when it saw Maden, and it nodded to him to show that she was grateful for what he had done for her.
Ronan: Little Seal