|Yellow (Mature) Pussy Willows|
I was a very polite little girl….
Silkies are one of the shapeshifting sea-folk; when they’re in the ocean, they look like seals, but when they come out on land, they can take off their pelts and look like beautiful humans as they dance in the moonlight.
For the last 23 years at the Ligonier Highland Games, I’ve traditionally begun my set of Scottish tales with a new silkie tale, because I love them so much. My granny told me several, and I’ve collected others over the years; I have about 38 in my repertoire. Besides, it’s fun to use my harp seal puppy puppet, Saltie! People always want to pet her afterwards.
I love silkie songs too, from the old ballads like “The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry,” “The Fisherman’s Song for Attracting the Seals,” and “The Seal-Woman’s Croon,” a Hebridean lullaby that’s among my very early memories. Absolutely, one of my favorite albums is Christina Tourin’s The Harp Seal Lullaby CD, which has several seal songs on it.
It’s said that if you put a willow twig under your pillow, you may have magical dreams—perhaps of the silkies!