Emanuele Camerini

Personal / The Twelfth Night

It is believed that once a year, on the Twelfth Night after Christmas, something special happens in Kalsoy, one of the Faroe Islands.

On that night, seals come ashore, shed off their animal skins and transform into beautiful human beings, who gather on the beach to dance the night away. Before the sun rises, they have to put their seal skins back on to be able to return to the sea and rejoin their families.

A popular legend says that one night, a farmer came across the seal women dancing and fell immediately in love with one of them; he stole her seal skin so she could not return to the sea, and brought her to his home. He locked the skin in a chest and would always carry the key at a chain around his neck. They had children and led the life of a married couple; but one day, while out fishing, the man realized he had forgotten the chain and the key. When he went back home, the seal woman was gone.

After that day, no one has seen her anymore but her presence still echoes.

The people of the Faroe Islands still believe that the ones born with webbed toes are descendants of the Seal Woman’s family.

The Seal Woman legend is a story about love and fear; about being allowed to create a new identity away from the native land and longing to return home.

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