Selkie. Selkies or Selkie folk meaning "Seal Folk" are mythological beings capable of therianthropy changing from seal to human form by shedding their skin.
Many of the folk-tales on selkie folk have been collected from the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland). The folk-tales frequently revolve around female selkies being coerced into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their sealskin.
A typical folk-tale is that of a man who steals a female selkie's skin finds her naked on the sea shore and compels her to become his wife. But the wife will spend her time in captivity longing for the sea her true home and will often be seen gazing longingly at the ocean. She may bear several children by her human husband but once she discovers her skin she will immediately return to the sea and abandon the children she loved. Sometimes one of her children discovers or knows the whereabouts of the skin. Although in some children's story versions the selkie revisits her family on land once a year in the typical folktale she is never seen again by them. Sometimes the human will not know that their lover is a selkie and wakes to find them returned to their seal form. In one version the selkie wife was never seen again (at least in human form) by the family but the children would witness a large seal approach them and "greet" them plaintively.
This piece was inspired by a poem titled Selkie by the amazingly talented Elizabeth Knight ( Instagram: @elizabethknight_ )
"She calls out over her shoulder
as she returns to the sea
"I will not spend my days a muse,
I am not silver to be shaped
nor clay to be reduced.
Sprout gills if you wish to hold me
or wander the shores and weep,
no part of me was yours to bury
and no part of me you'll keep."