• Pridie Tiernan

STORY #9: THE SELKIE

Updated: May 25

“But unlike sirens, selkies don't mean any harm with their songs. They sing for the simple joy of it, and because of that, I imagine their songs are more beautiful than those of any siren.”- Betsy Cornwall, Tides

A story from Scotland...with a little bit of teaching about refrains!


FACEBOOK LIVE SESSIONS ON TUESDAY AND THURSDAY AT 10.15AM, THEN UPLOADED TO WEBSITE! Or, click here to watch now!


BACKGROUND-BITE: In Scottish mythology, selkies (meaning seal folk) are mythological beings that can shape-shift, changing from seal to humans by shedding their skin. The folk-tales are often about female selkies being tricked into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their sealskin.

Selkies are supposedly different to the 'merfolk' but scholars of folklore are still debating this!

Apparently, children with selkie parents can be born with a seal face, have greenish skin or have webbed fingers and toes!


ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN - EYFS / KEY STAGE 1 (0-7 years):


1. Learn about seals - https://www.dkfindout.com/us/animals-and-nature/seals-sea-lions-and-walruses/seals/

2. Do some seal research using San Diego Zoo - https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/sea-lion

3. Watch this video about seals - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApU03Ytgcdo

4. Grab some props - of the general household variety - and check out just how dramatic you can make your own re-working of our tale!

5. Try writing the story from the selkie's perspective - here's a funny little video to help remind you how to organise your story - www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWHZJZQDSE

6. Using story stones/dice (see my blog post about outdoor activities for kids) , devise your own adventure for our selkie!

7. Educational resources for writing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bIgvAH4T5A

8. Craft your own seal costume - https://www.instructables.com/id/Cardboard-Seal-Costume/

ACTIVITIES FOR OLDER CHILDREN - FOR KEY STAGE 2-4 (8-15 years):


1. Learn about seals - https://www.dkfindout.com/us/animals-and-nature/seals-sea-lions-and-walruses/seals/

2. Do some seal research using San Diego Zoo - https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/sea-lion

3. Watch this video about seals - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApU03Ytgcdo

4. Find out how lockdown is encouraging seals ashore - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cqly2enpv0xt/seals

5. Create an comic strip or animation of the story - https://www.imagineforest.com/blog/how-to-create-a-comic-strip/ , www.storyboardthat.com/storyboard-creator https://www.canva.com/create/comic-strips/

6. Sharpen your skills before you break out your story scribbling equipment. Check out https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z2m3gk7/revision/4

7. Write a persuasive speech that argues on behalf of the selkie returning to the sea - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zv7fqp3/articles/z4w96v4

8. Draw/design your own selkie shape-shifter!

FOR GROWNUPS:

(STORY-ORIENTATED ESCAPISM):

1. Find out whether selkies are as dangerous as mermaids or sirens - http://www.icysedgwick.com/selkies-folklore/

2. Have a read of this article that considers the selkie's side of the tale - https://cannotbecontained.com/2018/07/30/women-of-the-ocean-what-the-tale-of-the-selkie-tells-us-about-consent/

3. Listen to The Singing Bones' Podcast on The Little Mermaid in which Clare Testoni traces the history of The Little Mermaid, from ancient goddesses of love and fertility to folk stories of love and marriage, slavery and gender politics. This episode focuses on selkies, finfolk, and Sea Kings, with an interview with Finn O'Branagáin, talking about the power of these stories. http://singingbonespodcast.com/podcast/2016/3/9/the-little-mermaid

4. Then try Part 2 where she looks at the stories that inspired Hans Christian Andersen stories of sirens, of Undine, and Eastern European rusalka and the scary watermen known as Vodnik. 

We also talk to two real mermaids about what it is like to really be a mermaid! With Mermaid Jessica Pearl and Mermaid Amelia we look at modern mermaid culture and the pros and cons of Disney romanticism. - http://singingbonespodcast.com/podcast/2016/8/7/the-little-mermaid-part-2


Enjoy!

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