Monday, October 10, 2016

Sarah Pilkinton - Goodman o' Wastness Environmental Fairy Tale

The Goodman o' Wastness

The Goodman o' Wastness is a version of an Orcadian selkie legend. Selkies are mythological creatures that are seals in the sea and humans upon land that are found in Irish and Scottish folklore.This particular version comes from Orkney, which is an archipelago off of the northeastern coast of Scotland. 

Summary: The Goodman o' Wastness is an attractive, solitary man who is desired by many of the young women in his town. He ignores them and makes it clear that he does not desire to take a wife. Most of them become bitter towards him and leave him alone. One day, the Goodman is walking along the shore and he sees a group of selkies in human form lying upon the beach. He runs toward them. Most of them grab their seal-skins and escape back into the sea, except for one. He grabs her seal-skin and walks off with it. She follows him, begging him for her seal-skin back. When he gets to his house, he turns to her and finds that he loves her. Instead of giving her the seal-skin back, he hides it from her and forces her into marrying him. They are married for several years, have several children, and appear to be happy. However, every day she searches the entire house for her seal-skin. One day, when her husband is out and the selkie-wife is looking for her skin, her youngest daughter asks what she is doing. She tells her daughter that she is looking for a soft skin to wrap her feet in. The daughter says that she has seen such a thing on her father's shelf. The selkie-wife grabs the skin and runs off to the sea. She hurriedly puts it on, and meets her selkie-husband, who is waiting for her in the waves. However in this version, when the selkie-wife meets her husband, she is shocked by the amount of plastic pollution in the sea, and she sees that he has a plastic six-pack ring stuck around his neck. 

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