Thursday 19 May 2011

Seal Maiden

The two images you can see here are actually something I was working on almost two years ago(!), on my first svisit to Ireland.
I lived in the deep south of Ireland for six month, in a lovely place called Killarney, in County Kerry and there, while minding two little rascals as au-pair, I fell in love with some traditional fairy-tales I have never heard about before.
For example, everybody is familiar with mermaids, but silkies and seals are not common in Italy, so we don’t have stories about them.

Among the others I had the chance to listen to this musical version of the story, half told half sung, by the beautiful voice of Karan Casey. I really love it, it’s smooth but strong at the same time, it gives atmosphere to the whole story, and in particular to the main protagonist’s songs.

The little seal disobeys her mother and lay on the beach when the thigh turns and so she looses her skin and becomes a seal maiden, trapped in a human body.
A fisherman finds her and helps her to get used to the new odd world. So the year passes and she grows lovely and gets the attention of the boys of the village for her beauty and her fine voice.
She eventually falls in love with one of them, Red Brian, and becomes his wife. The following spring the seal maiden gives birth to a boy, lightly wrapped in a seal skin which she soon hide before anybody can see it.
The baby grows to a fine seven years boy, but one day he accidentally finds his own seal skin, he try it on and for the first time, looking at the image in the mirror, recognises himself. After that he obeys his own nature and run for the waves. When the seal maiden realizes what happened it’s too late.
Red Brian thinks the boy is lost even after the seal maiden has explained to him about the seal skin.
One night the boy miraculously come back to his mother with her own skin and together they run back into the sea, where the seal maiden can finally rejoin her mother and allowing the boy to go back and forward to live with his father when he wants to.

I loved the idea behind the story and, for once, the happy ending is fair, not perfect, but “believable”.
My first idea was to make more images, a project for an eventual book which never saw the light.
As I told you before, I’m a lazy person and my concentration is not very strong either, so after a while I just drift off to something else and left the whole thing on its own.
But the love for the story remains and I’m actually quite satisfied with what came out of it…you never know what the future brings.