Shulamith Levey Oppenheim


new work
Illustration  from The Selchie Seed

The Selchie Seed

The Selchie Seed

1996, Harcourt Brace & Company

I had been reading Shetlandic Folklore and the folklore of the British Isles, in general, when suddenly, walking down the main street of my town, I had the vision of a white whale, the magnificent Beluga, looming before me. That vision and the legend of the Slechie, which had haunted me for many years, came together in this book.

The story goes that the Selchie is a seal that once lived on land (as perhaps all sea mammals had!) and can shed his/her fur to become again a human on land. This happens most often at the time of the full moon. There are many Selchie tales. This book is an original story that has its root in the concept of the Selchie. It is the tale of a young girl fledging, growing into womanhood, with it's accompanying pain and joy and how this affetcs her parents and brother.

The book was choreographed by a student of dance at Amherst College as her Honor's thesis. For me, it was fascinating to see my vision turn into her vision. Most successfully, I must say!