GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure
Daphne’s a typical mermaid, and at least according to her, that’s a problem. She’s courageous and has a beautiful singing voice, but lacks the power of an elemental, the ability to command water with the sound of her voice. Jealous of her best friend, she makes a deal with a sea-witch, only to be betrayed, in place of her beautiful tail and flukes Daphne’s left beached with a pair of human legs. The spell keeping Daphne looking human will become permanent, unless Daphne can hunt down and bring the scheming Lorelei a unicorn horn before the next full moon.
Unable to reach her friends and family for help, Daphne doesn’t know how to walk, much less where to find a unicorn or how to catch one. Even if she’s successful, Daphne’s still not sure if she can trust Lorelei and her pint-sized kraken to keep their end of the bargain and let her return to the sea.
NOTE: The book is only $0.99.
“You’ll see lots as you travel from place to place,” Daphne told the small dolphin. “Come, your mother won’t forgive me if I let you roam from the pod.”
Why hurry? Echor asked as he swam, spinning around different plants and sponges that grew along the rocks, before focusing in on a vibrant snail. It was not a very old reef, though it was well inhabited by many vividly-colored, small fish. The young dolphin seemed to take pleasure in disturbing them and watching them scurry into their small hiding crevices and among the anemones. You’re so lucky that you get to stay in your town all the time. This part of the sea is so beautiful!
“I think it would be neat to see so much of the ocean,” Daphne said, thinking of her small town of Thranda. Unlike the dolphins, who often travelled long distances in a single day, most merfolk lived in towns unless they left their communities to hunt or travel to another community. She had known members of his family since she was a little mermaid, and only got to see them a few times a year when they passed through her home to feed in a nearby bay. She heard a series of warnings behind her—the other dolphins had detected something with their echolocation. Unless it was something exceptionally large, they should have been safe within the pod, but Echor was very young. “Echor, let’s return to your family.” The young dolphin had wandered off while Daphne had turned her head, chasing a seal that had left her bob, trying to swim away from Echor.
“Echor!” Daphne called, swimming after him. She caught up to him, then looked over her shoulder as she heard a familiar sound. An orca! Daphne suppressed a shudder. It was large, but far enough away for her to find a hiding space. Still, killer whales almost always travelled in groups. The killer whale dove when he spotted her. She knew the others would want to help, but they were no match for an orca. He swam quickly towards her and Echor. Daphne knew she would be hard pressed to out-swim the large creature.
Hide! the orca told her.
Daphne then saw the immense shadow and wooden keel of a ship following the orca. The killer whale dove deep, though the water was too clear and shallow to truly hide his massive form. A harpoon followed him, missed, and was quickly pulled back to the surface by a rope. Another harpoon plunged into the water, and then another. The rough waters churned green and grey in the ship’s wake, and Echor’s warning chatter only told her that there was another human vessel. It came from Daphne’s left, and it dragged a net behind it.
Ten Fearsome Water Monsters and Spirits
The sea has historically been a bountiful place for people to get food and eventually travel, but it also haunted sailors and was seen as a dangerous place even for experienced sailors. Tales of strange water monsters exist in almost every ancient sea-faring culture.
Not everything in this list is necessarily inherently malevolent, but here’s ten fearsome creatures that are associated with water from around the world. Some of them, such as the rusulka and kappa could also haunt freshwater, so technically this list isn’t exclusive to just sea-faring people and cultures.
Scottish – The Kelpie
This Scottish water horse was said to lure the unwary onto her back, and then either dunk or drown them. The Kelpie was also said to be a shapeshifter, so it could take on a humanoid form as well.
Very similar, the Irish Each-Uisge (Ech-ooshkya) or Aughisky (Agh-iski) if he smells sea water, will carry his victims into the water and devour them, leaving only the liver.
From the 25th Anniversary Edition of “Faeries” Described and Illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee
Learn More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelpie
Slavic – The Rusalka
Also known as the Mavka or the Vodyonitsu, these were said to be the restless spirits of maidens. Not always malevolent, they were often trying to lure men to their deaths via drowning. I picked Slavic because this seems to be their origin, but they had similar counterparts in parts of Europe, such as the French Museline and the Germanic Nixie.
Learn More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusalka
Greek – Sirens
Said to lure out sailors into the waves with their beautiful singing, often these women were given bird like attributes or resembled traditional mermaids.
In the 2003 Dreamworks film “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” they were depicted as spirits that took on female shape out of water.
Learn More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siren_(mythology)
Inuik – Qallupuit
A troll like creature who wear a coat of loon feathers, these creatures were said to drown children who went to the dangerous ice cracks of Hudson Bay without their parents.
Aztek – Ahuitzotl
Dog like creature who would try to drown the unwary.
Oceanic – Adaro
Malevolent mermen-like spirits found throughout the mythology of the Solomon islands.
Japanese – Kappa
A humanoid-like lizard creature said to be about the size of a child; often they were tricksters but they could assault and try to drown humans. They love cucumbers – and the term for a cucumber sushi is a Kappa Maki.
Learn More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kappa_(folklore)
Jewish – Leviathon
Said to be one of the primordial chaos beasts that was spawned at creation, Leviathon is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.
Learn More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leviathan
Greek – Kraken
A giant squid like creature from the mythology of Theseus, who saved Princess Andromeda by showing the head of Medusa and turning it to stone, the kraken has had a resurgence in popular culture, notably in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbeanfranchise. The largest real life squid found to date was measured at almost 13 meters long.
**Also, fun fact ancient animals used to be quite a bit bigger than their modern counterparts and descendents, here’s the ancient megalodon compared to a standard great white shark. You’re welcome.
Long monsters said to attack ships, I couldn’t attribute a possible origin because they were recorded by the Mesopotamians, Japanese, and Greeks. Some think creatures such as The Loch Ness Monster or Ogopogo are these elusive monsters that were said to attack ships.
I’m sorry if I didn’t mention a favourite of yours, mention in the comments below with some fun facts if you have them. I’ll talk more about the kelpies and another water horse, the hippocampus, as well as other mythical horses later on in the tour at another stop.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.
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