Our facebook group, the Merpod, is full of astounding creativity and talent! This month, we held a fairytale-writing giveaway challenge, and the submissions were so great, we had to share them for all to read.
So, please enjoy, in no particular order, these original Sea Witch fairy tales by members of the Merpod.
The Sea Witch lived off a rocky beach surrounded by the lovely dark blue ocean. Her cottage had been built using rocks from the beach, and it had a beautiful seashell roof. It was surrounded by verdant green cedar trees that made a colossal noise during windy winter storms, but provided her home with shade during the hot summer.
She kept a small flock of chickens, and was friends with many birds including the owls, blue herons, ravens, and crows. She was beloved by the local people for her concoctions of seaweed, the soaps, and potions she made using the goodness of the land and sea nearby. She was friends with the sasquatch and dryads in the woods who had taught her never to take more than what she needed.
She had a little garden where she grew kale, onions, pumpkins, and lavender, because those were the foods that made her happy. She composted her food scraps, and made luscious mushroom seaweed stews that her other witch friends looked forward to whenever they visited her. She was happy, but then on a bright early morning a raven landed on her willow branch fence and said, “The merpeople would like to have a word with you.”
She traveled down the rocky beach, shimmied around a rocky cliff edge, and went down to a cave known only to her. The merpeople lived subliminally hidden to most folks, but the Sea Witch knew of them, and could speak with them. The mermaid matriarch had a majestic crown made of sea stars, and was a beautiful dark large merlady with a purple scaly tail. Her partner had a grand thick beard embellished with little barnacles, and he held their merbabies as they needed, but sometimes they swam playfully in the water splashing each other.
The mermaid clan had assembled to talk with the Sea Witch. The mermaid matriarch said, “We have spoken with the orca whales. A pipeline is being built under the water, but it is leaking, and it is poisoning our home. Can you help us?”
The Sea Witch frowned. She had read in the local paper that people had talked about a crude oil pipeline under the Salish Sea, but didn’t know anyone had started construction on any such thing. The Sea Witch believed in doing what was right for the world, and she agreed to help them. They left the cave, and the Sea Witch got into her little dingy, spoke a magic spell under her breath to bewitch the boat to go fast in the direction they would travel, and off they went to assess the damage in the sea.
They traveled far deep out into the ocean, where it didn't take long for the Sea Witch to see rainbow slicks coating the water and dead salmon all around. The merpeople explained what they saw in the ocean's depths, what the Sea Witch could not see herself at the surface of the water. Sea Witch cried at the sight of it and went back to her cottage, determined to fix it. She wrote letters to her witch friends asking for their help, and sent a special letter to an infamous Troll who lived under a bridge in Seattle. Sea Witch knew to solve a problem this big would require teamwork and the knowledge of many.
She called to her bird friends, who flew off with the letters post haste. Witches arrived by broomstick. Meanwhile, the Troll put down his Volkswagen bug, bewitched the people into a deep sleep so they wouldn’t see him walking around, left from under his bridge, and stomped North. The witches congregated with the mermaids at the beach, and they discussed what to do. They waited and schemed for a day while Troll walked on and on before he finally arrived at rocky Birch Bay. Troll was grumpy and hungry from his long trip. The witches took turns cooking in the Sea Witch’s kitchen, using a cast iron skillet to make mushroom thyme omelettes which they ate by the ocean.
Troll, like the Sea Witch, believed in doing what is right for the world, and eventually after eating his fill he asked, “How can I help?” The witches gathered around Troll, and together they spoke a magic incantation, to impart Troll with the ability to breathe underwater. He walked out from the beach into the cold frigid water and beneath as the merpeople swam alongside him to show him where to go. When Troll saw the dark cloud of the oil bleeding out into the water, he boldly marched into the darkness, sat down on the pipeline, and clamped it shut.
They moved on to the next part of the plan. Sasquatch are even harder to find than merpeople, but the witches knew to look for their silhouettes in the shadowy canopy of the forest. The Sea Witch knew the Sasquatch slept on mats made of their fur and super absorbent sphagnum moss. The witches asked if the sasquatches would give them some of the mats to soak up the oil spill. Sasquatch love the world and the ocean, and they agreed to help. The witches flew out to the ocean and used the fur-moss mats to sop up the oil loose in the waters, then they buried the mats deep deep underground, where the oil originally came from, and never should have left.
Sea Witch knew the problem was bigger than those who had rallied around her to help, but she couldn’t reveal the existence of more fantastical creatures to humans. Troll woke the people again. Sea Witch knew the best magic is in words. She explained to the humans that they couldn’t use the pipeline anymore, that it had been spilling into the water, but with hard work it wasn’t anymore. The people trusted her, and listened to her.
And so society changed, away from an extractive oil based economy and towards something better. Sea Witch knew it was all because her community had used their knowledge of the land, sea, and shared values to manifest big dreams.
A young woman walked aimlessly along the lakeshore as she often did to clear her mind. She had risen with the sun to listen to the waves as they sang her favorite song. This was her magic-hour - the time when treasures were left by the tide and veils could be lifted.
She knew it was near - she could sense it calling to her. She stopped. The gentle breeze caressed her face as her gaze dropped to her sandy feet. There it was - a hag stone. She knew the sea was generous, but there was a wicked side that wanted to hoard every gift - returning them back to the depths. She quickly scooped the stone into her hand before the next wave. This wasn't the first time she held a hag stone. No matter how many she found - it always felt new and exciting.
The young woman smiled, felt the cool stone in her hand, and recalled her Gran's favorite story.
Each year as Samhain began, she would sit by the fire while Gran's nimble fingers worked in perfect unison to bundle the latest collection of Birch twigs. Gran was a besom-crafter - and as she would say, "A damn good'un." In their little hamlet, Gran had always been sought for her brooms. Sturdy, dependable, long-lasting. That was Gran alright.
Gran's voice was etched in her memory - steady, unwavering, and unquestionable. When Gran spoke the listener was transported - they became part of the narrative.
Her tale always began the same way, "I wasn't always an old crone. I was once a little lamb without a care in the world. I skipped. I danced. I spoke of joyous things. I foraged while the crows reigned over the skies. I ran with the hare and learned to be swift like the wind. No matter my devotion to the forest, my soul always yearned for the sea. I have always been drawn to the water."
Gran would pause here for a moment, making sure the web she was weaving had a good hold on you. The young woman smiled at the memory.
"Do you know what a hag stone is, dear one? Of course you do - but I'll recite the tale again because it's my favorite. Our beloved Cailleach came to this land many moons ago - before our very existence. She shaped our jagged cliffs and raised the mountains while leaving secrets in her wake. No one knows for certain if she returned to the sea, but I believe that to be her final resting place. She was thought to be ruthless in the way she formed the terrain, but I think otherwise. How else can we explain all that we have received? We have found endless riches within her caverns and an abundance of growth always springs from her valleys. As she came to our region, so came the shores we walk today. The tide reminds us to seek out the gifts Cailleach has left behind."
"Hag stones are one of the many offerings Cailleach has willed us to pursue anytime we feel pulled to the water's edge. The right hag stone can lift the veil from our sight - revealing the realms that otherwise go unseen. This is why we must always check each stone carefully, for they do not all possess such an ability. Only Cailleach knows why the stones differ - if only we could ask her!"
The young woman sighed. If only Gran were here to check the stones with her. This one felt different.
The veil is rather thin
A feather wisp so delicate
Which allows people in
Imagine if you can
One hundred billion souls wander in
To roam the lands
Searching for a home that is never more
Their bones devoured
You would be outnumbered
The dead a sea
That stretches beyond every horizon
Every breath taken
Full of soul fire
In every moment
There would be no solitude
But it is their day after all
The only day they get
To see the product of their humanity
See the love of lost ones
Those that carry on the blood legacy
Good or evil
There would be sadness
The pain of many taken before their time
Before their prime
Children would frolic like moths
Fluttering in the wind
Leaving dust of their joy
Like dew that doesn’t glisten
Unencumbered by their perilous fate
That took them so early
Those that waited until the very end
To let the air leave their lungs
They would be wraiths
Filled with glee
Ushering the young and confused
To see the sunrise again
Feel its warmth on their soul
Unfettered by flesh
They would know its true essence
Would you believe it
A cacophony of voices
Whispers around every corner
Oh the stories
They wish to tell
But be careful to whom you listen
Lest you be wrested
From your vessel
Best to hide the entrance
Beneath a façade
Feast on their and your history
And heed the wisdom
They give so freely
Ask only questions they could know
And as the night wriggles free
Gather the living and dead
Specter and flesh
For the final call
For those that wish
To follow them across the veil
Ready to leave the physical realm
It is time for the silence to return
The heady air will be still
And dissipate to chill us
As the sun rises
Trying to warm you
You are yet hindered
By the flesh
The crisp cool salty breeze twirled and tumbled around. It tossed itself in the trees golden orange leaves. It swirled around with the sea, playfully tossing the water. Autumn had finally graced Stonington.
The Sea Witch was sitting near the shoreline upon a blanket. A ring of sea salt surrounding her. She closed her eyes and breathed in deep, slowly, allowing the salty breeze to flow in and around her. She settled herself. Magic swirled lazily through her rings. Magic hummed gently from the sea glass and sea shells that laid on the blanket. The tarot cards rustled lightly.
Suddenly the Sea Witch stirred, a slight shiver trickled down her spine. Something just ever so slightly off in the breeze. An almost electric tinge to the air. She settled herself again and refocused. A premonition hit but was fleeting. As much as she willed the premonition come forth it would not surface.
She opened her eyes and stared out into the sea. Hoping that the sea would show her what that premonition was. Nothing. Just as serene as could be. But still... something just ever so slightly off. She picked up her cards and shuffled.
Two cards fell into her lap, the tower and the hanged man. "Well then..." she whispered. "What else do I need to know?" But the cards remained silent, refusing to give more. Sighing she shook off the premonition and the odd feeling. It annoyed her when the spirits toyed around like that. "A cup of mint tea is what I need," she said.
The Sea Witch stood, picked up a few of the shells and made her offering and thanks to the sea and spirits. Gathering the rest of her items she headed home. When she had made it up the hill she turned to take one last look at the sea, to soak up it's beauty and harmony.
"No," she whispered. "It couldn't be." But she knew she saw it, plain as could be, in the waters. She swore she saw the shadow of a trident in the waves.
"No," she said shaking her head. "He hasn't been seen or heard from in centuries. The myths all say he is no longer around. The coven needs to hear about this."
Unease settled in her as she turned her back on the sea and hurriedly continued home.
“Ah, what a beautiful morning it is indeed. Today is not like any ordinary day. In fact, today is my 16th birthday!” Squealed the young Sea Witch.
Twirling and dancing around her bare room, the young Sea Witch was filled with much excitement. She glided out of her room to look for Ma. Their cottage was small, leaving not many places to search. Ma was no where to be found.
Alas, a note by the freshly baked bread was found.
“See you in the Enchanted Forest. Ma”
“Oh my!” Thought the young Sea Witch. Without missing a beat, she took off. Bare foot, she ran out the door and through the fields. The tall damp wheat grass didn’t stand a chance in slowing her down.
There, on the other side of the field, she saw the lake get closer and closer. The young Sea Witch was so excited and the ground was so damp from the morning dew, that she lost footing and rolled her way down to the lake!
Full of laughter, the young Sea Witch said, “that was one way to get here quicker”. She stood up and readjusted her dress. The lake was sparkling in the morning sunrise.
Ma’s little rickety boat was still perched on the rocks. “I wonder how Ma got to the Enchanted Forest if her boat is still here?” Without another thought, the young Sea Witch dipped her naked toes into the cool water.
Carefully, she pushed the boat off the smooth rocks and hopped inside. On the other side, the tall Evergreen trees stood. The young Sea Witch never had to paddle to the other side by herself before. Nor has she ever ventured into the Enchanted Forest by herself. Full of faith and trust, she knew her Ma wouldn’t send for her there if it was dangerous.
Slowly paddling across, she sees the Hunters Moon lingering up in the sky. “Hello Moon,” she says with awe.
Midway through the lake, the young Sea Witch notices something swimming underneath her boat. “Are those fins to a fish? No. No. Not a fish,” she wonders. Suddenly the face of a large dragon pops out. It’s eyes were as orange as the moon yet so full of kindness, were staring right at her!
“Why hello there,” said the young Sea Witch.
“Greetings,” said the large dragon.
“Can I help you? You see, I’m trying to get to the other side. My Ma is waiting for me and you seemed to have interrupted.”
“Do I need help? It is perhaps you who needs help,” replied the large dragon. Looking around, the young Sea Witch realized she hadn’t made it half way through the lake after all! She was only a few feet away from where she started.
Laughing at herself, “Oh my, I did not realize that I made no real progress on my adventure.”
Touched by the child’s innocence, the large dragon offered to take the young Sea Witch to the other side. They glided quickly through the water. The young Sea Witch enjoyed watching the water ripple out from beneath them. The evergreen trees got closer and closer. Soon they made it to the other side.
“Thank you! I am most appreciative of your generosity,” said the young Sea Witch.
“I leave you with a message,” said the large dragon. “I have a name. Although, it is widely known, I wish not to speak it, for I have been hunted for centuries. Man has long forgotten how to cohabitate peacefully. They allow the greed and fear within the hearts to win. You need not ever be afraid of me, for my love is beautiful and I welcome you with an open pure heart.”
Quicker then the words were spoken, the large dragon vanished. Not even leaving a trace of a single ripple in the water.
“I have a name….although, it is widely known..I wish not to speak it…” repeated the young Sea Witch trying to bring understanding to the message. “I’ll have to ponder it later. I must get going. Ma is waiting for me!”
Running between the evergreens, the forest got thicker and thicker. Soon the air turned brisk as if it was winter. The young Sea Witch could soon see the heat of her breath as she ran through the forest. She made it to the sacred place Ma always takes her to. It’s a beautiful circular clearing and when you look up, you can see the blue and orange sherbet sky looking back down at you. She walked up to the small rock cave. At the entrance, she felt a vibration upon her forehead.
Remembering her moms teachings, “when we feel the vibrations here,” Ma pointing to her forehead, “we must breathe. Breathe gently. Breathe calmly. For it’s not just these two eyes that can see.”
Relaxing herself and flattening out her dress with her sweaty hands, the young Sea Witch started to breathe more deeply. In and out. In and out. With every breath, the young Sea Witch felt calmer and calmer. In and out. In and out. With every breath, the young Sea Witch went deeper and deeper. In and out. In and out. With the last breath, she gently opened her eyes.
At the front of the cave, a door now appeared. Going down into her heart, there she remembered to use discernment. “Does this door feel safe? Do I feel love emanating from this door?” In and out, she continues to breathe and feel. Her heart felt love and peace.
Gently, she grabbed onto the wooden knob and turned it. The door opened welcomingly to her. A bright light shined through the passageway, engulfing her entire being.
With faith and trust, the young Sea Witch stepped inside. She looked around her surroundings and was in amazement. There, in the distance was her home! Except it didn’t look as bleak and bare as it normally did. Instead, it was surrounded by beautiful colorful flowers and had ivy growing along the walls of the cottage. Behind the cottage, she could see the colors of the deep blue ocean.
Balls of golden light, bounced and flew everywhere. They surrounded her and tickled her nose to make her giggle. The young Sea Witch never felt so much love before.
“Soma!” She heard her Ma called. Looking around, the young Sea Witch saw her Ma coming out of the cottage waving at her.
“Ma!” Cried the young Sea Witch. Holding up her dress, she went running through the field of flowers up to the cottage. “Ma, where are we?”
“We’re where our hearts belong. We’re home,” said Ma while lovingly hugging her daughter Soma, the young Sea Witch.