Mythical Monday: The Finfolk of the Orkney Islands by Mae Clair

Deep below the ocean in the area surrounding the Orkney Islands of Northern Scotland, lays a kingdom known as Finfolkaheem, the winter home of the Finfolk. A brooding race gifted with sorcerous magic, the Finfolk spend the cold months of the year dwelling in a massive underwater castle of soaring chambers and crystal hallways. During the summer, they inhabit Hildaland, a magical vanishing island.

Pretty blonde mermaid with green and blue fish scales peering through the seaweed in an underwater scene, 3d digitally rendered illustrationSkilled boatmen and shapeshifters who hold dominion over the sea and storms, Finfolk dislike marrying among themselves, prizing human captives for their spouses. To that end, they frequently venture onto land, altering their shape to ensnare an unsuspecting mortal. Finmen often appear as fisherman in a boat, while Finwives like to assume the guise of a young maiden with long flowing hair and ivory skin. There is nothing romantic in their overtures or quest, and they have no qualms about abducting their potential mate. The unsuspecting human will then find themselves forced into a life of servitude to their Fin partner.

Finwives especially despise marrying Finmen. To do so means they will lose their beauty and mystical gifts, aging seven years for every year a Finwife is married to a Finman. Eventually, as the Finwife’s bewitching beauty is corrupted over time, she will become a Finhag. With this outcome in mind, it’s no wonder Finfolk search for a spouse among humans.

The only trinket prized more highly than a human spouse is silver. Like many enchanted beings, Finfolk like shiny things, particularly silver jewelry or coins. A human’s best chance of escaping abduction is to toss the Finfolk a few silver coins and flee in the opposite direction.

Isn’t it amazing, the power of silver in myth?