75 thoughts on “The Magical Realm

  1. Very Very Good.

    Oh, the legends have both male and female selkies and a few of the stories have human women with male selkie lovers.

    But yes, most of the stories are about selkie wives of human men.

    1. The songs are more about male selkies, and the stories are more about female ones.

      But yes, otters are shapeshifters too, like foxes and some others. Any of the animals that have a “respectful” and euphemistic Gaelic name are particularly magical. Otters are “madra uisce” (water dog) and “dobharchu” (river hound). Foxes are “maidrin ruadh” (little red dog). And so on. A lot of them do have explicit names that are pretty much never used, except maybe in the names of other animals or people!

  2. When you love. Set the love free. It will come back to you. Mixed with Silkie tales & magic.

    Wonderful. Thank you.

    1. Oooh! Ooh! Have you discovered Kamelot yet???? (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you post about Floor, so I know you’ve discovered Nightwish 😀 )

      1. Haven’t seen Kamelot. Heard some Nightwish… nothing particularly grabbed yet.

        Been listening to a lot of Within Temptation. This one in particular over and over and over [repeat N times]:

        1. Within Temptation is excellent. As to Nightwish…they’re really their own beast these days. Floor Jansen becoming upped their game greatly, but even so it wasn’t until I caught a few reactions to Ghost Love Score at Wacken 2013 that I realized just HOW much. I’ve come to appreciate them a ton the last few months–but the truth is, they’re not fully metal any more than they’re full symphonic.

          Kamelot is awesome. Their last TWO (previous and current) lead singers are amazing, as well as their various guest singers. I saw them in concert in 2017, and they were fantastic 🙂

          (Also, their regular guest singers–Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz–are some amazing professionals. They stepped up–with less than an hour’s notice–to fill in for Nightwish back in 2012 in Denver when Nightwish’s (previous) singer went to the hospital with the flu. The fans voted for them to give it a try, so that the concert didn’t have to be canceled, and they gamely did so, came out on stage with the lyrics printed on pieces of paper…basically, they are awesome and pretty dang brave–and talented!–to do that.)

          This video is their current singer, from their second-most-recent album:

          This one is their previous (equally awesome) singer:

      2. re: “Floor”

        That was probably someone else. I came across a couple sym-met pieces here and there on this blog, but the genre didn’t quite click until a couple weeks ago; randomly came across this one and then spread from there.

        1. Very likely it was. In which case…You absolutely MUST see one of their live performances (well. Live 7 years ago.)

          Turns out Nightwish is one of those very rare bands that sounds more amazing live than they do in the studio…(and they sound pretty damn amazing in the studio).:

          Haven’t heard of Semblant, I’ll have to check them out.

          Another good Symphonic metal group is Serenity. They are as big a bunch of history nerds as Sabaton is.

          And if you’re in the mood for HILARIOUS–but done with an absolutely straight face and very high production values, check out Windrose’s take on what is–I am told–a Minecraft Youtuber classic. I don’t play Minecraft, let alone follow the Youtubers on it, but when this song came across my Pandora feed…I was still utterly delighted with it’s silliness:

          (For ultimate silliness, there’s always Norweigian Reggaeton. That’s the name of the song. The group is Manowar. It’s…I cant’ even describe the awesome ridiculousness a good metal band can bring to the table when they decide to do something just for fun.)

          1. And if you’re in the mood for HILARIOUS–but done with an absolutely straight face and very high production values, check out Windrose’s take on what is–I am told–a Minecraft Youtuber classic. I don’t play Minecraft, let alone follow the Youtubers on it, but when this song came across my Pandora feed…I was still utterly delighted with it’s silliness:

            That was AMAZING! I wasn’t familiar with the song, but the intersection of games and “serious” music is usually good.

            1. Yeah, that was the song that converted my father from giving my mother and eye the stinkeye when we’d start turning on the metal on family trips the last few years to liking it. (He now also likes Nightwish)

      1. Niiiice. I think the term I’ve seen flying about for “modern pop/rock/metal songs done in the medieval style” is “bardcore,” lol.

        I quite enjoyed the version of Bad Romance I listened to a while back. (And mind you, though I don’t like a lot of Gaga’s stuff–although it is catchy as hell and great for cleaning house to–I do rather like the original version of Bad Romance 😀 )

  3. ::sniffles:: Damn onion-cutting ninjas…

    Loved it. Loved the ending. Thank you for NOT doing the expected. (I especially like the touch of her not getting involved with him until AFTER he’d been mortal for a bit, and so it *was* his choice.)

      1. No, but you never know. 🙂 It might BE the unexpected thing to end it in the expected fashion.

        What I love about Sarah, though, is her twists are not usually something I see coming. (And I’m really, really good at smelling plot twists a mile off, even “unexpected” ones.)

  4. If you love something, you let it be what it is.

    That is why, of all the versions of “Beauty and the Beast” , the one I love most is ROSE DAUGHTER, because Beauty is given a choice, and keeps the Beast she fell in love with.

    (I know there are other versions where this happens, but that was the first one I encountered)

    1. While I love both of Robin McKinley’s versions of Beauty and the Beast, “Rose Daughter” was 100% my favorite. Both for that reason, and for how she fleshed out the sisters. (She’d fleshed them out in Beauty as well, but the ones in Rose Daughter were just more interesting.)

  5. Very very nice.

    Your characters are always so vibrant and alive. I think I can just picture every one I’ve ever read in my head, even years after I last read about them.

  6. Perhaps a quarter century ago, when my kids were young, there was a great dinner, at the table, and music was playing. Camille Saint-Saëns, Le Cigne. And I told the story of the Children of Lir, to the rhythm and melody of the music. They were transfixed. I brought the story to a close as the music finished, and my younger son asked a question that even now lingers in my heart. “Dad? Can we eat now?”

  7. On Selkies, I had this story idea.

    Selkies aren’t any sort of “merefolks”.

    They are magic users who are born human and part of their coming of age ceremony is that they magically create the skins that allow them to take the form of seals (or otters in Sarah’s story).

    Normally they live in villages along the sea shore but often do live in the ocean.

    Oh, the stories about selkie-wives?

    Selkies always know where their magic skins are.

    If the selkie-wives wanted to leave their human husbands, their husbands could not hide the magic skins from them.

    Oh, even if their skins were destroyed, it is not hard for the selkies to recreate them. 😆

  8. Beautiful Sarah! Dan’s a lucky man. And I can certainly relate as my wife and I grow older. I’ve told her many times I always see her as the beautiful, vivacious 20-year old I fell in love with when I first saw her and thought, “She’s cute, but we’ll never get along.” As I tell her often, I still haven’t changed my mind. Never fails to bring a smile.

  9. I gotta admit, though, I’m a tiny bit sad we DIDN’T get the road trip from California with an otter in the car… 😀 (Though I suppose it’s now implied as a happier kind of road trip.)

  10. Very nice and helped lift my spirits (was out during day, just got home and found out that Eddie Van Halen had died; part of my youth gone-saw Van Halen at Madison Square Garden before David Lee Roth left the band for the first time. They were great and Eddie Van Halen was simply incredible. He had a unique style-you always knew it was him when you heard him play.

  11. Was not expecting a story. But it was beautiful, and beautifully told, and something I needed. Thank you. And yes, my room too is very dusty tonight.

  12. You so totally rock. In The Last Battle, C. S. Lewis could take “then everybody died” and turn it into a happy ending. In The Great Divorce he said something to the effect that ghosts can walk thru walls because the walls are insubstantial and the spiritual is solid. This is the sort of “inside out” perspective your story exploited for a delightful ending. Kudos.

  13. By the way, “Lir” is a great name for a man from the Ocean.

    Lir is a name for a Celtic god of the sea. 😉

      1. And I’m acknowledging your research. 😉

        I do wonder how many here recognized the name (more perhaps than the general public). 😀

        1. I did!

          Of course, it was from remembering Roger Zelanzny’s ‘The Horses Of Lir’.

  14. I’m late to the party, since I didn’t see this until I saw your post on Instapundit. Beautiful story. It reminded me that I’d written alternate lyrics about a selkie to the song, “The Walls Have Ears,” by Bill Steele. Rather more light-hearted, though, and I have received grief for the final line:

    The Selkie Lover

    I saw her when I went to view the sea,
    And I knew what she was immediately.
    Her hair was glossy, thick, and dark,
    And she was sitting in the park.

    Oh, the selkie gave up the ocean life
    For love of a man; to become his wife.
    She waited for him patiently,
    And she gave delight to me.

    She was young, very young she seemed to me,
    And I found a place to watch surreptitiously.
    I smelled salt on the evening breeze,
    And her dress blew ’round her knees.


    I thought I’d go over and say hello,
    But her lover came and she rose to go.
    They walked off in the gath’ring gloom,
    And I hurried to my lonely room.


    I go to the park quite regularly,
    The sweet young selkie again to see.
    I love young selkies, don’t think me vile,
    I’m a pinnipedophile.

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