The Selkie: The Seal Folk.
The Selkie is a being found mostly in the seas around the Orkney Islands just off the north-east coast of Scotland. The word Selkie is the Orcadian word for Seal. The Selkie are said to take the form of seals while in the water but are able to shed their Seal skin and take on a human form allowing them to come ashore.
Sources don't agree on the exact conditions the Selkie needed to shed their seal skin. Some say they could make the transformation every twelve days, some say once a year on Mid Summer's Eve and some think they could make the transformation at will with as much regularity as they desired.
However if their seal skin was damaged or stolen they would be forced to live out the rest of their lives as humans, forever separated from the ocean. If a mortal man were to steal the seal skin of a female Selkie she would be under his control and must marry the man. Selkie women are said to make wonderful wives but the matrimonial bliss is usually short lived as she begins to long for the sea and so she steals back her skin and returns to the ocean. Sometimes she would take her children to the sea with her or sometimes she would abandon them completely.
Male Selkies are thought to be incredibly beautiful in their human guise. Their beauty could easily mesmerize human females and possibly even human males. In the folklore they would usually come to women who longed for the physical comfort of a man, perhaps their husbands were on a long voyage at sea or perhaps their husbands were cruel to them. All the woman had to do was to shed several tears into the ocean and this would attract a Selkie mate. Unlike the male members of their race the female Selkie was no more beautiful than any other mortal woman.