Call of the Selkie


I call myself a word weaver, simply because I take words and weave them together to form stories and poems.  The woven words on this page are written by my hand and heart. There were written for oral telling, so bear this in mind while you cast your eyes over them. Please do not take them, for if you do you may face the wrath of a thousand island ancestors and my beloved seal people. 


At high tide, a lonely woman shed seven tears into the cold dark sea………

The first tear was formed of innocence, for a childhood love that was never requited.

The second tear for a tender heart had once been broken in two.

The third tear sung of sorrow for a shallow love that did not last.

The fourth tear was full of regrets for a marriage that should never have been.

The fifth tear was for a love built on lies and empty promises.

The sixth tear was the last that she would shed for mortal man.

The seventh tear that fell into the sea, was a wish for a selkie man, someone to have and to hold until she grew old.

It was the last tear the woman ever shed into the cold dark sea........


One day in June a lonely woman stood on an easterly shore and cried seven tears into the cold dark sea, for the cunning folk had said that this was the way to call out for a selkie lover and she was finished with mortal man and his cruel ways. 

The sea washed away all the sorrowful tears, except for the last one that had rolled down her wet cheek. This final tear contained the wish of love. It was so full of longing that the sea mither who ruled over the seas during the time of summer, took pity on the woman, turned the tear into a precious pearl and washed it ashore on the island of the woman’s ancestors. Where it was found by a quiet man who worked the wind-swept land of her long-time dead kin. He too had cried many salty tears, for pain had knocked at his door more than once. Over the years he had learned to swallow them back down, and all his hopes and dreams had drowned in the little loch that grew inside the place where his heart once was.

Than one ordinary day, he saw something shimmer in the shallow summer water, picked it up and held it gently in his rough hands. Instinctively he parted his lips and gently kissed the pearl. It was then that something very strange happened. The woman who had called out for a selkie lover felt his warm soft lips on hers even though they were divided by the gaping sea. The man took the pearl home and wrapped it in a bit of tweed that his grandmother had woven before her fingers became crooked with age. He placed it under his pillow for safe keeping but that night he dreamt of a woman who stood crying into the sea. To begin with he never saw her face, just her long silver hair blowing over it in the salty breeze. Each night before he slept, he unwrapped the pearl and kissed it tenderly before putting it back under his feather pillow. At the same time the woman who once wished for a seal coated lover, felt a tender kiss upon her lips. Her mouth was warm to the touch after this kiss from a formless lover. It was so real that she could taste his sweetness on her lips long afterwards.

Visions of the crying woman continued to fill his dreams. Each night he saw just a little bit more of her face. On the seventh night, the north wind blew away her long silver tresses to reveal her pale white skin and blue-green eyes that were full of sorrow. That night he dove into her eyes and swam in her scarred soul for what seemed like a lifetime. It was then that the man who was of little words, fell in love with the woman who appeared nightly in his dreams. He knew her pain, for if you remember he had a little loch inside him where his heart should have been. In fact, he was so deeply in love with her that he could not wait to lay his head on his pillow. The woman longed to feel his warm kiss on her lonely lips. This dreaming and longing went on for seven months until the summer had given way to the autumn and the autumn gave way to the winter and the earth was about to become a maiden once more. 

He could wait no longer, so it was then that the quiet man took the enchanted pearl that was wrapped in the woven cloth and set out in his boat of skins to search for the shore that the crying woman stood upon in his dreams. He knew that she must be real, and he could not ignore the calling in his soul. But the sea mither who warmed the oceans and calmed the storms that took the lives of many a fisherman no longer ruled over the waves. It was still the time of Teran, the spirit of the winter sea whose anger could be seen in the mountainous waves that crashed against the island’s coastline. As you might imagine, the coracle was no match for the cruel winter waves that coveted yet another life. The little boat soon overturned, and the body of the quiet man sunk to the bottom of the sea to the place where the selkies reside. Just before the last breath left his body the enchanted pearl rolled out his pocket onto the sea bed. A big bull seal swum over to investigate and gazed into the pearl. He saw the deep love that existed between the two humans, so the seal decided to grant the gift of life to the man from the island. But this gift came at a price, the cost was the death of his humanly body before his soul could be born again as a selkie. 

For seven long years the woman felt no tender kisses on her fleshy lips. She became lost in a lonely world that was emptier than before. Each morning she stood on the easterly shore and cried more tears into the salty cold water but was given no warm kisses in return. The vitality that once coursed through her veins was ebbing way with each tide that passed. Her face old but still hauntingly beautiful and each furrowed line upon her brow told a tale of hardship. Her tears began to dry up, she could no longer cry seven tears, some days she barely cried one despite the pain that lived inside her being. Her time in this world was coming to an end and she was at peace with that. The world had turned full cycle seven times since the first kiss one day in June. She sometimes believed it had all been a dream created by her longing to be loved and held. 

Despite her doubts, she summoned the strength to walk down to the shore outside her cottage. It was then that she saw a colony of grey seals bobbing about on the water. This sight brought joy to her sorrowful eyes. She run her fingers over her thinning lips and a memory of warmth and tenderness rippled over her ageing flesh. To her surprise seven tears rolled down her cheeks and fell once more into the cold sea. Then she closed her eyes and made a final wish, but not the same wish she had desired for such a long time. This time she wished for an end to her suffering, she wished the sea to take her body and grant her freedom from a tormented life. When she opened her eyes, she was floating gently down to the bottom of the sea bed. Her body cradled by a young grey seal with a shiny pearl around his muscular neck. The seal brushed against her lips. She felt a familiar warm tender kiss of love that had once given her hope of happiness. She gazed into his dark eyes and knew that what she saw back was soul of the man who kissed an enchanted pearl and loved her in his dreams.

Just as life had been given to the quiet man, the big bull selkie gave life to the mortal woman and she was reborn into the body of a female selkie. So it was, that the man who had a loch instead of a heart and the woman of seven tears, lived out the remainder of their time in their seal skins. For their love was like no other, it was a great love of ages that overcame even death itself, for true love is indeed both sacred and eternal.


“As soon as Rowan started talking, I was immediately pulled into her story of magic and mystery, flowing with each character full of suspense and joy. She is a truly gifted storyteller”. (Heather Craig)