While the title of today's story sounds as if it's about a mermaid, it's actually about a selkie, a creature the Scots tell us are able to turn from seal into human by removing their seal skin. Many believe the mermaid legend came from viewing seals at a distance. There are many forms of today's story, but Sir George Douglas gives it probably with just the essentials. Some editions of his book, Scottish Folk & Fairy Tales, have illustrations, but none for this story. I've found a pair online that seem to match the story well.
There are three earlier stories given here for Sir George Douglas and the July 28th, 2015 has the companion story Seal-Catcher's Adventure. Both are stories I plan to be telling at this year's 174th St. Andrew's Highland Games. (For that reason this week's blog appears a wee bit early in the hope of seeing you there this Saturday when my blog is normally published.)
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain." The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated. I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century. My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them. I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.
At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience. Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week. This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here. (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.) Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection. I have long recommended it and continue to do so. He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories. There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.
Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"