by Felix Sagittarius
©2007 Felix Sagittarius
The seal poked his nose over the edge of the floe, and looked around to see what was making all the noises hed heard. Seeing a man on the ice, it instinctively dived again.
Then after a moments thought it came back for a second look.
The man was nakedstripped of his furs and left to die by his people for some crime, and slowly freezing to death.
The seal grinned to himself, then slid up onto the ice.
The man turned at the noise, then gaped in shock as the seal began to change, becoming a man wearing a sealskin cloak.
The selkie smiled at him and said, Well, lad; I dont do this for everyone, but youre dying, and Im curious why. What terrible crime did you commit to earn a fate like this?
N-n-nothing, the man forced between chattering teeth. I swear it! I discovered a new hunting technique. I thought I could use it to help feed the tribe but when I showed them, they all screamed and ran away!
He moaned and hugged himself, shuddering.
After a moment, he continued, The men came back with spears, and bound me! The Elders sat in judgment, and ordered me banished, saying I was dangerous to the tribe. I swear I wasnt! I told them that, but they wouldnt listen! They brought me here, took my furs, then pushed the floe out to sea and left me.
He shivered, his lips, fingertips, and toes blue with the cold.
Thats hard, lad, commiserated the selkie. What did you do, violate a taboo?
No, I did nothing, the dying man said, haltingly. Oh So cold So hungry.
Sorry, the selkie laughed. Cant help you. Against our ways, you see.
The selkie bent closer, watching the man slowly die.
I swore Id never do it again, I swore the man gasped. But
He moaned, then he screamed as he changed.
White fur spread over his body, and he suddenly grew massive. Where a frail human had just sat freezing, suddenly there was now an enormous polar bear.
The selkie froze in horror as the bear loomed over him. He grabbed his cloak and fell to seal to escapetoo late! He shrieked as the bear grabbed him. A blow from one huge paw, and the noise ended abruptly.
Well, thought the skinchanger, at least Im warm now, and not hungry any more!
The huge bear turned. At a shambling walk, he crossed the rocking floe to the sea and slid in. Hed found he liked the taste of seal and selkie.