Monday, 14 July 2014

Folk Tales of the Sea People

I may have mentioned a little while ago that I have a project to share 'soon'.
This project is now complete, and encompasses two goals from the list!
046. Write 10 original stories of 1000+ words
055. Create 52 paintings in 1 year
This project is called Folk Tales of the Sea People. It's a collection of 'fairy stories' that take a little inspiration from Grimm's fairytales in places. The twist is, these stories are presented as folk tales from people of the sea (hence the title), collected by the fictitious explorer, Cadogan Browne.

Now and again, I'll be posting 10 of these, plus accompanying paintings.
For the time being, here is the 'Preface and Introduction'. Soon I'll be posting the actual stories, too...though I suppose this counts as a story too, as it's entirely fictional...

Folk Tales of the Sea People (cover), June 2014


These are the collected Folk Tales of the Sea People, allegedly gathered across many years by Cadogan Browne, seafarer, explorer and scholar. A marine biologist by trade, Browne claimed to have befriended the peoples of the sea during his deep water expeditions.
It was during his thirty-fifth year that Browne disappeared on what should have been a straightforward voyage. Expecting him to return that autumn, his family waited in vain. Browne eventually turned up ten years later, remarkably fit, tidy and healthy for one who had been a decade lost at sea. He claimed to have been welcomed into a Siren colony, where he spent a great deal of time studying their habits and learning of their stories and language. Many assumed him to have gone mad during his extended journey across the sea, and only his son Julian – thirteen years old upon Browne’s return - believed him.

Previous editions have omitted several of Browne’s collected tales, as he notes himself within his introduction. However a recent find within a Sussex cellar brought to light new stories, penned by Browne, which would indeed have caused more uproar amongst the people of his day than his initial work did.

In these modern times, science has disproved the existence of sea people, or mermaids as they are most commonly known, but Browne swore with his last breath that they are real. It is evident from his extensive writings that, whatever Browne experienced on his long journey across the seas, he became infatuated with what he believed himself to have experienced.

Fact or myth? Read Browne’s collected folk tales and decide for yourself.

Maris Fitzgerald PhD.
Edinburgh, 2014


The Sea People have often been considered a thing of legend, only found within children’s fairy stories. But over thirty years of exploration and research, I have come to discover the existence of Sea People to be as real as you or I.
Known to the human race as Mer-people, Selkies, Siren, Nereids and more, the Sea People have a history as rich as our own, languages beyond human imagination and a culture of which man could barely dream. Whilst man prides himself on his scientific advances, the people of the sea far outshine us with their views on equality and righteousness. Read these tales, and you shall learn of this.

Few believe my having met with these wonderful, colourful, enlightened creatures, and many would say that these stories were works of my own mind. However, I claim the utmost sanity as I pen this work. I am of a scientific mind and hence completely unable to think up such stories. Were you to ask my school tutors, you would learn that I was never a particularly imaginative child.
My imagination, as it is, sometimes struggles to accept that I encountered the enchanting Siren and the peace-loving Nereids, that I swam with Selkies and picked pearls with young Mer-girls as though they were daisies. Yet despite what others would have you believe, my dear reader, I am strong of heart and sound of mind, and both heart and mind confirm that these events were real.

I spent a decade living with what our species thinks of as Siren, an amphibious species with a tone-based language akin to music. Through these wonderful people I learnt a great many things about theirs and other cultures and belief systems.
And yet it was the folk tales, handed down through the generations and told to their youngsters just as we tell fairy stories to our children, which captivated me the most. Some were so similar to the tales of my childhood, yet others were initially so far beyond my ken that I needed them repeated to me many times. Some I omitted from this anthology entirely, for fear that they would too much befuddle the casual reader, or disturb young children.

Whilst the Sea People, in their vast array of species, races and cultures, have their own words for themselves and the mythical beings in their own languages, I have endeavoured to edit these stories in such a way that they can be understood by my fellow ‘land-dwellers’.

Enjoy these tales from the sea, dear reader, and I beg of you: Believe.

Cadogan Browne
Lewes, 1899

Alright, so people tend to skip the prefaces and introductions when there's fiction to be read. The stories are coming soon!


  1. I love what you've started here (well you've finished of course lol). What a creative idea. I can't wait to read the installments.

  2. This is a wonderful concept for a collection of tales! It will be great reading/looking at the ten you post. Also, the cover of the book looks lovely ^^