In the Folklore
of Ireland and other maritime countries, there is a profusion of stories concerning
seals. Possibly due to the fact that they come ashore and that their head, when
seen at a distance above water, bears a resemblance to a human head, it was
said that they were human beings under a spell.
The Court of The King Seal
When time was young, a Celtic fisherman from a remote island sailed out daily, followed by seals, to harvest fish. One tragic day an elderly grey seal cow became fouled and panicked in his net, threatening his craft. In desperation he flung his knife into her side. The struggle ended and she fell loose of the net, sinking below the waves trailing blood.
Before realising the impact of his action or the depth of his remorse and guilt there came out of a calm day the most violent wind, raising waves above his boat and blocking the sun. As he raced for his island home the mast snapped and swept him overboard. Down deep after the seal he sank, losing consciousness as he descended.
He awoke and found himself in a huge cavern facing the wounded seal resting on a ledge and surrounded by ministering sea creatures of known and unknown forms. His blade landed, echoing, on the floor of the cavern before him, followed by silence. Then came a booming angry voice full of the wisdom of ages, demanding explanation for his injurious action to his subject and Aunt of the King seal.
Turning to face the voice of his accuser he beheld the largest bull seal he had ever seen reclining across a throne of seaweed, his angry challenge made even more frightening by witness of his scarred visage. Swearing remorse and pledging allegiance to the King seal and his dominion over all seas around Ireland, England, `Scotland, Isle of Man, Wales and Cornwall and to upholding order therein and abroad into the North Atlantic, this unnamed fisherman was released of his fear and returned to his own kind, unconscious again.
A week after the search had ceased and burial rites read, he was found on the beach of his Island home and carried back to his croft where the welcome and revelry continued into the night. He told his story many times and to this day, whether you believe or not, the seal is held in sacred regard by these Islanders and this momentous event honoured annually by a feast day. Some day you may visit that Island and also believe.................
The Island in question is believed to be Lambay Island, off the coast of Dublin.
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