11 Stories of Sea Songs, Tragic Romances, and Selkies

We’ve always been suckers for good stories of the sea, and selkies are pretty much the best. Ethereal creatures who take the form of seals in the ocean, but then transform into supernaturally beautiful humans while on land: they’ve inspired tales for centuries. Selkies stories tend to be romantic tragedies: female selkies are trapped on land and slowly waste away when men hide their sealskins; fishermen wake to find their beloved wives gone back to the sea; selkie children spirited away to an aquatic life.

But lately people have been tweaking the selkie stories to give them, if not happy endings, at least slightly more hopeful ones. We’ve gathered up a few of our favorite modern selkies below—let us know those we missed in the comments!


The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

This one combines every element of the classic selkie story. Wistful Irish kid? Check. People living on ...