This week we have something different, evocative and romantic…
They have to read a short Scottish fairy tale about the famous seal folk, or selkies. Selkies are an important part of Scottish and Irisk folklore. I’ve always liked these legends about creatures who are part seal, part human, ever since I visited Scotland and had the chance to go on a boat trip to visit a colony of seals living at Loch Scavaig, off the shore near Dunvegan Castle, on the Isle of Skye.
It was the first and last time I’ve seen such beatiful animals living in the wild… The way they look at you reminded me of humans, in a way, so I can understand the legends!
There is also a beautiful film based on this legend. It was directed by John Sayles and called The Secret on Roan Inish. It tells the story of a young girl who moves to a small island in Ireland to discover that years earlier her baby brother was taken away in a cradle by the sea folk… Highly recommended!
After reading The Seal Woman, my students have to log in and answer the following questions:
1. Give a summary of the story, in about 50 words.
2. Do you believe in the existence of these creatures?
3. Why do you think the woman left her husband and children?
4. Do you think the man chose a good hiding place? Why?
5. Find out the origin of the word “selkies”
If you are interested in these legends, there is a tale in Scotland concerning people of the clan MacCodrum, who were seals in the daytime, but men and woman at night. No man of the MacCodrums, it is said, would ever kill a seal. I think the story we read in class is based on this clan.
You can read more about this here: