the tale of the sea mink

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
fairy tale style story...the trapping of a woman

Submitted: August 14, 2010

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Submitted: August 14, 2010



Once upon a time, when the world was a much larger place to live in and there was still many things left to discover, there was a young man named Mark who was in love with the sea. As a child he spent his time playing on the beaches and as a man he spent his time in much the same way. He could consume hours on end simply watching the waves and inhaling the brine air. This was a wonderful trait for him to possess because he was a fisherman; just as his father and his father’s father before him had been. Mark would exhaust his days casting his nets and drawing them back up again. On most days, he would barely bring in enough of a haul to feed himself, let alone enough fish to sell in the town market. Needless to say, he was very poor indeed; but he was very happy.

One afternoon, when the day was drifting away particularly lazily, an unexpected current took control of Mark's small boat, bringing him to an unfamiliar part of the sea. Mark braced himself as the surge bounced and bobbed the boat like it was a child's toy. Off in the distance he noticed a beautiful sound echoing off of the waves. It sounded sweet and clear and happy. It was a resonating melody that can best be described as being similar to a wet finger rubbing the lip of a crystal glass. It stirred something deep inside of him that he had never felt before. It was a strange and new feeling; a longing deep in his soul. Mark felt as though a magnet was drawing him to the sonance. He had sailed much farther from shore than he ever had prior to this occasion and it made him a little bit nervous. But regardless, Mark felt compelled to follow the sound to try and figure out what it could possibly be.

After much careful searching he found nothing of particular interest in the seemingly vacant waters, and since the melody had ceased, he decided to try his luck with the fish in this new area of the sea, then pack up and head for home to call it a day. Mark cast his net out on the choppy waters, not counting on

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getting much of anything at all. After a little while, he began to draw up his net just as he had done hundreds of times before. Mark was surprised by the weight of it. Sweat began pouring off of him as his muscles strained to bring the load of fish up and onto his boat. Visions of heaps upon heaps of fish began flashing in his mind. Oh, the things he would buy!

"I can finally barter with Joseph Shared for a new boat!" Mark exclaimed to himself.

He pulled the net onto his little fishing rig and opened it up and into the special segment on his boat that was reserved for containing his catch. It was quite the cargo! This was more fish than Mark had ever obtained in one afternoon. It was a huge, sprawling, glinting pile of fish and Mark couldn't help but smile as he looked at it.

Mark assessed his location by watching the distant horizon and waiting for some familiar landmark to pop into view. When he saw the customary shoreline, he quickly got his bearings and navigated himself to his favorite area of the beach. Safely upon his shores, he began sorting through the mass of fish he had collected. But, something didn't seem quite right: the pile of fish looked a little bloated. Mark began to wonder if there was something hidden among the pounds of fish. Mark started sorting through the slimy pile tentatively when he felt something that definitely was not a fish. It felt smooth and slick like fur. Mark heard the beautiful melody that had drawn him to that unknown part of the ocean again, but it was different somehow. This time it was painful to hear; It sounded scared. There was a high frantic pitch to it that made Mark instinctively draw back. Suddenly an animal lifted its head from within the pile of fish and looked with its sad blue eyes directly into his own; seemingly begging for mercy.

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When he saw the red color of the pelt Mark knew that he had caught a sea mink. As a child his father had told him a myriad of strange and mysterious stories about these creatures that were rumored to have been hunted to extinction many years before. He had always thought that these stories were simply that: stories. After all, Mark had never spotted a creature such as this before. But after a lifetime working on the sea Mark had come to realize that there are many unexplainable things just below the surface. These fables said that the sea mink was a magical creature but the stories were vague at best. It was told that just seeing one would bring a fisherman good luck for years to come and Mark knew that the pelt would bring him a handsome sum. The creature continued to moan in an excruciating pitch. Mark winced as he quickly hit it over the head hard enough to kill any animal.

Mark began mentally adding up the money yet to line his pockets. He took his long knife and began peeling back the beautiful coat practically drooling over it. As he pulled the coat from the creature he did not see what he should have seen: blood and exposed muscle. He saw flesh. First a lily colored calve then stomach, breast, then face. As he peeled away the pelt he saw a beautiful red-haired woman within. Had this woman been shipwrecked? Where did she get this pelt? Mark was positive that he had seen an animal only seconds before, but now he wasn't so sure.

"Miss? Miss, are you all right?" The woman had a nasty cut on her head exactly where Mark had struck the beast. The maiden opened her mouth as if to speak but instead she issued a horrible cacophony. The sound made Mark's ears ring in a painful way. She looked at him with the same sad imploring eyes that the creature had. Mark wrapped the woman in a wool blanket that he had nearby and carried her into his little ramshackle home. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and he knew that this was no ordinary maiden. The sea mink and she were one and the same. He also knew from every

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fire side story he had ever heard that the power of such a magical creature lay in the pelt. As Mark looked in her eyes, eyes that were ever shifting like the sea, he knew that he could not be without her again.

The sea maiden awoke within Mark's little home in a frenzy frantically trying to get back to her underwater home. She moved like a wild animal. As she jerked about and repeatedly toppled over, eventually resorting to crawling clumsily, it became apparent to Mark that this creature had never walked on human legs before. After much struggling Mark managed to put manacles around her ankles. Mark was sure that this was a gift to reward his many years of faithfulness to the sea. He knew that if she ever found her pelt she would leave him and return to her home. So he buried it alongside his ancestors on a hill in the small country cemetery and visited daily. What to ordinary observers would appear to be a mourner was actually nothing more that the ritual of an incredibly selfish man ensuring that his treasure was not uncovered. Even though he could have sold the pelt for a handsome sum he did not. He simply left it buried; ensuring that his maiden could not ever leave him.

Mark had very good luck from then on. He never came to shore empty-handed, which made him able to live fairly comfortably. Mark was able to make his little shack into a home fit for a lady. He purchased many things that he thought would aid his maiden in her domestication and leisure but she never showed any interest in much of anything. He decided to name the maiden Marina. As the months passed, Mark began to lose hope of taming the girl, who had slowly learned to speak while he was attempting to civilize her. That is, until she began to grow large with child. As the days passed the ebb and flow of the sea in her eyes slowly began to fade. She became much less combatant and settled into her duties as any good woman does.

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Marina gave birth on an eerily silent day. Not even a rustle of wind was said to have budged a single hair on that day. It was as if the whole world was holding its breath in anticipation. When the baby finally came it was more perfect than was ordinary. The child possessed not the wrinkled squished up face of an old man but white porcelain skin, red hair, and alert eyes. She was a perfect child and Marina loved her unconditionally. Mark named the girl child Rosemary, which means ‘dew of the sea’. This was a very fitting name for the child.

With the birth of her daughter, Marina lost all of her will to fight, so she was left to come and go as she pleased. One day Marina followed Mark to the cemetery and overheard his private mumblings.

“Father, watch over my family; I entrust to you that which is the greatest of treasures to me.” Marina knew that which was his greatest treasure had also been hers. She could have taken the pelt on her shoulders and returned to the sea but she felt the changes that had taken place within her. So she set about her work.

As Rosemary grew to a stout toddler Marina ventured closer to the waters with her child. Marina began teaching Rosemary the beautiful melody that had attracted her father. She taught her the ways of the sea, about currents and the various sea creatures, and many mystical stories that have never been uttered to a mere mortal before or since. Soon, as the child grew older the sea could be seen reflected within her eyes.

When Rosemary reached her womanhood as all young girls eventually do, her mother brought her to the seashore with a packet in her dirty hands.
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"My dear, today you are a woman. Today I give you something that was never afforded me. I give you the gift of choice" Her mother handed over the beautiful pelt that once was her own and offered it to her daughter.

"Mother cant you come with me?" Rosemary pleaded.

"I cannot; the sea has died within me and it is still strong within you."

As the two silently paused, twin pools reflected one another and a tear slid down Marina's face. She wrapped the beautiful fur around her shoulders. She wriggled her body a bit and the air grew thinner somehow as the shimmering waves began to emanate a light mist. All sound ceased to exist except a faint chorus that sounded like a wet finger rubbing the lip of a crystal glass that seemed to be calling to Rosemary. A transformation occurred and she was no longer a beautiful young maiden but rather an enchanted sea mink just as her mother before her was.

"Thank you Mother." Rosemary slipped below the waves then gracefully reappeared.

"We will always have each other as long as we have the sea." She said.

From that day on, Marina was always seen by the sea shore singing into the wind. And, if you listen hard enough on a quite enough day, you can still hear the sound of her daughter's reply.

The End

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