From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Selkie selfie: Swimming with the seals

Selkie  (Illustration by Carolyn Emerick) 
When people visit the zoo, they usually stay on their side of the enclosures.  Not so a bikini-clad woman who snuck into the Berlin Zoo’s seal pool for a quick dip, complete with photographs…

The woman accomplished this by waiting until after hours.  Berlin Reuters reports that zoo staff failed to catch her, “but
would have called the police if they had.”

Zoo manager Ragnar Kuehne explained that she “could have been seriously injured if the seals had bitten her.”  Nevertheless,
one Reuters reader defended her actions with this comment:  She went swimming with the seals looking for her selkie… 

Wikipedia explains that selkies (aka “silkies” or “selchies”) are “mythological creatures found in Scottish, Irish, and Faroese folklore.”  Although they live as seals in the water, they “shed their skin to become human on land.”

Some believe that these shape-shifting beliefs stem from the intermarriage of early Scottish settlers with Finnish and Saami women “who were misidentified as selkies because of their sealskin kayaks and clothing.”  Other settlers thought that selkies were “supernaturally formed from the souls of drowned people.”


Copyright August 7, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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