This is a children's story that I wrote for a Children's Literature class that I took. It's based on Celtic fairy stories that were told to me by my Grandmother and Great Aunts as a child. My close friend and roommate made amazing illustrations for it. I hope to post them on my website soon.

We've always been movin'--at least, that's what Granmam always said. It's because we come from generations and generations of Tinkers--the Irish gypsies--and gypsies are never wanted, anywhere. They are forced to roam with the open road as their only home.

Or the sea.

You see, there's a deep, dark secret in my past, which I never could explain before, 'til now. My family weren't just ordinary tinkers. My family were magic folk; blessed by the faeries themselves. They hailed from the sea, as Selkie. The Selkie were the Celtic seal-people. My family also hailed from the Finfolk, like the Mermaids; and the Sirens, with their chilling, mesmerizing songs of doomed death. My oldest sea-dwelling ancestor, was Cordelia--the jeweled, Mermaid daughter of the Emperor of the Sea. And she fell in love with Morgan--a Selkie Warrior and son of the Chieftain of a Selkie Clan near the Orkney Islands. So she captured his sealskin and thus, became his bride.

"That's where the webbing comes from," my Granmam used to say, as she wiggled some loose skin from between her fingers at me, "from where the fins were."

"But Granmam," I'd complain, "Why cannot I dance upon the shore, as well as swim in the watery depths?"

"Oh, that…well, dear--not to worry," she'd explain to me, "the faeries just forgot to finish the job is all. They remembered your sea skills but, forgot your strength to walk upon the land with the humans. Don't fret now, darlin'. The faeries see perfection in what we could never fathom," she soothed.

And she was right, you see. For the faeries had given me a special gift to make up for my crippled, sea legs. For I-- I had the gift of sight. I would see the deaths of people in my dreams within a matter of days before the actual deed took place. I had bountiful visions of glory and awful premonitions of disaster.

And so, that's how it went…that's what I always believed in, right on up until my 16th birthday. But by the 16th celebration of my birth, my Granmam had been dead for six years already. And I was growing tired of childish games. I was depressed. I felt that I couldn't go on anymore--at least, not on the dry land. I felt out of place, like I didn't belong. I was angry. I was angry that the faeries had forgotten me. And right when I was thinking of all these things, the strangest thing happened.

An odd-looking, little, green sea sprite appeared before me. She had fiery little wings that were the color of sunbeams, icy-blue wisps of hair and teal eyes. She was so tiny that she could have sat in the palm of my hand.

"So," she began, "my little gifts are not good enough fer ya?"

"Oh, oh…well, milady," I stammered, for my Granmam had always taught me to show proper respect to the Faefolk—they being the powerful creatures that they are, "they're just fine gifts, but…I just feel so out of I don't belong. Oh, if only the world were made out of water…"

"Well now," she thought, "My frail, little sprite's frame can't handle all that. And just imagine the fine kettle of fish we'd all be in, if the world was flooded now."

She scratched her chin, thoughtfully.

"But I may be able to do ya one better," she grinned.

I began to feel a warm, tingling sensation, running up and down my legs. I looked down to stare at the strangest pair of boots I had ever seen. They came up to the knee and were covered in green scales, the color of sea-dragons; and silver shells, the color of moonbeams. Slowly but surely; surely but slowly, I began to stand. I practiced--slowly and carefully; carefully and slowly, placing one foot in front of the other. What a strange sensation it was! It felt so alien to me. After a few stumbles, I managed to keep my balance, and walk in a complete circle around the sprite. The sprite clapped her hands, doing little somersaults in the air and giggled with delight. She cackled, like the sound of bells tinkling.

"That should do for the time being," she purred, "Remember, if you should ever need anything…just call upon Ol' Devnet!"

And as suddenly as she had appeared, she was gone.

I had never felt so alive before in my life! The strange boots took me to places that I had only dreamed about. I could dance upon the moonlit beaches on Midsummer Eve with the Mermaids. I swam to the coral forests in the sapphire deep with the Selkie. I rode on the backs of whales, raced with dolphins, frolicked with seahorses and counted the starfish.

The minutes turned into hours. The hours turned into days. The days became weeks. The weeks stretched into months, and the months rolled on into years. I grew weary and tired of it all. I began to miss my family. Well, Devnet heard my cries and she appeared before me once again. She stared me down with her arms crossed, floating in mid-air. She looked quite frustrated with me.

"Well," she accused, "Well, well, well…I've done everything I could to please ye. I've changed your entire fate, I have! And it's still not enough," she humphed.

"Oh, please, milady Devnet," I pleaded, "It's all been so wonderful! It really has…but, you see, ma'am, I…I miss my family. It's been five, long years. I would fain to be as I was, so that they may recognize me."

Devnet's scowl melted into a sympathetic look of kindness. "Oh, dearie," she crooned, "I have not the power to change ye back. One twist of fate is all my spritely, little figure is allowed. But perhaps, Morwenna may help you. She's the old sea-witch, who now resides in the Cassiopeian Caves. She has the sight, too, ya know." Devnet winked at me. Then, she snapped her fingers and a shiny pair of silver scissors appeared in front of me.

"Oh, and take these," she whispered, "You never know when they may come in handy…until ye least expect it." I gave her a puzzled look and shrugged, but placed the scissors in my pocket. She winked at me and then in a flash, she was gone.

And so, I began my journey across many leagues to the Cassiopeian Caves. I was so frightened, for I had never met a sea-witch before. Granmam had told me that sea-witches were the spurned Mermaids who had not managed to find human husbands, so they grew old, wretched and gray.

When I reached the caves, flocks of seagulls floated on the wind currents. Their shrill cries called out to me as if warning me to stay away. Then, a little splash startled me. I looked down in the shallows to see a little, velvety-black catfish with long, tendril-like whiskers swimming about my ankles. Its tendriled whiskers darted about in the water as if they were worms luring in some unsuspecting fish. In an instant, the cat-fish jumped out of the water, spraying me with foam and why--as if it were second nature--the fish's fins began to shrivel up, its tail grew long and slender, it grew legs and ears…why this cat-fish wasn't a fish at all, but a cat!

The cat stared down at me, from his rocky perch, with his bright, golden sleepy-looking eyes. I reached up to pet him. His fur was as soft as a newborn seal pup. Grateful, he purred and rubbed against my hand. He yawned, stretched, jumped down and trotted into the cave. No longer feeling afraid, I followed him. "He must be the witch's familiar," I thought to myself.

The cave was dark and dank. The odor of the salty sea, freshly washed-up kelp and the muddy earth filled my nostrils. I began to hear a soft humming noise. It was a soft whirr, whirr…at first, and then--it became louder--whirr, whirr…WHIRR, WHIRR…

As I turned around a bend, my jaw dropped at what I saw. There in a corner, sitting in a rocker made of conch shells and driftwood was the oldest-looking woman I had ever seen. Her face was a tributary inlet of wrinkles and her hair, which was white as sea-foam, reached the floor. The humming noise came from a spinning wheel in which she was spinning thread. On the wall in front of her, the thread was being woven into a bright and moving tapestry. I blinked in disbelief as I watched the pictures in the tapestry change in front of my very eyes. There were people and creatures in these pictorial scenes. Some were waving and laughing. Others were crying, and others still were screaming.

I looked down at the thread and realized that it was strange and ethereal. It was so bright, ghostly and otherworldly that I could not stare at it for long periods of time, for it stung my eyes so. For this was not ordinary thread, no. It was the thread that was spun from hopes and fears, nightmares and dreams. It was the breath of souls and the voice of the fates.

The fish-cat jumped into the witch's lap, purring and kneading his paws.

"Ah, Morvin, my little Morvie, did you have a nice outing today?" she cooed. Morvin purred loudly in response.

"We missed you, my pet. Yes, we did. Didn't we?" she murmured. I thought it strange that she kept referring to "We," as I looked around and saw that there was no one else even lurking in the shadows.

"Yes, but I see you brought us a visitor today," she breathed, "Come closer, child, so that we may get a better look at ye."

I stepped forward with my head bent down, not daring to look up.

"Yes, yes," she agreed with herself, "We know what she wants, but sadly, we cannot give it to her. No, we cannot."

I opened my mouth to speak, but she held up one of her dry, wrinkled, parchment-like hands.

"However," she offered, "We can offer it employment, yes--a place to stay, a home for the time being. We know her secret, don't we? Yes—her visions—for we have foreseen her coming. She has the sight, too. It has been prophesized. Yes, an apprentice she shall be for us."

What else could I do? Perhaps, I thought, if I take up with this witch, I would discover the secret to change back my destiny. And so I became her apprentice and her slave. I cooked the simple meals of clam porridge and seaweed stew. I made sure Morvin was fed; that is, if he had had an unsuccessful catch that day. Every day, I made up her simple driftwood cot, while each night I slept on a hard, damp patch of kelp on the floor. But most importantly, I assisted her in her weaving. I watched her nimble fingers. Oh, how effortlessly they made it all seem! As she spun and wove; wove and spun.

A few more years had passed, and Morwenna seemed to be slowing down. She seemed more and more tired. And with each day, she seemed to need more and more of my help. Until one day, Morwenna bolted upright as if she were possessed and cried out, "Hurry, my child! It is time."

I rushed to her side and knelt by her, placing a hand on the arm of her rocker.

"Time for what, my mistress?" I asked, timidly.

"You are ready," she wheezed, "it has been foretold." She pointed to the moving tapestry on the wall in front of her. I stared in shock as I saw a horrifying image of Morwenna. She was a dry and brittle old skeleton, crumbling to ash and blowing away in the wind. I gasped and almost screamed in terror as I looked back at a decaying Morwenna, a mirror image right next to me in her rocker.

A gust of wind blew in and carried away her ashes, out with the tide. I stood up and watched them drift out of sight. I had never been so frightened before in my entire life. I did not think that I was ready. Slowly and carefully; carefully and slowly, I eased into the rocker, picked up the thread…and began to spin and weave…weave and spin.

And so I continued on, spinning and weaving; weaving and spinning. I watched as whole lives passed before me. I saw others' joy and sadness, happiness and sorrow. Chaos and destruction, rebirth and regeneration passed by my awestruck eyes like a quiet storm; like an endless blizzard of images, shapes and colors. The tapestry's magic took hold of me as well. My hair grew to the floor, gray as a mollusk, or the insides of a horseshoe crab and my skin began to shrivel up like an old sponge.

But one day, the images that I wove grew haunting and horrifyingly real. Before, it had seemed as if I were the painter and the tapestry was my canvas. But now, it was different. I felt like a helpless spectator in a mob of people, who could do nothing but stop and stare. I watched in terror as I wove horrible images of the sea catching on fire. I saw members of my family crying as images of whales and dolphins lying bottom up, bobbing on the top of the water like hopeless rafts passed before my distraught vision.

I saw entire reefs and forests of coral wither away. Their once bright colors gave way now to a ghostly white dungeon that was barren, desolate and bereft of life. The sea had become a putrid, gamboge yellow. In some areas, it had become a thick brown or even totally black. I saw my Selkie and Mermaid cousins being caught in fishnets and I wept as I witnessed the ghosts of my ancestors moaning and weeping in anguish.

"No…NO!" I shouted, "This cannot be! I will not allow it!"

I tried to tear the thread between my fingers, but it would not break. It was too strong. Then, I remembered…I remembered the scissors that Devnet had once given me, long ago. I reached in my pocket and pulled them out. They were as sparkling and silvery as the day that she gave them to me as if possessed by some sacred magic. Then, with all of the strength that I could summon, I began to hack away at the tapestry and the spinning wheel.

"I cannot bear it any longer!" I screamed, "GO! GO NOW! From now on, everyone will execute his or her own actions! You're free, FREE! I wish to see no more…NO MORE!"

Dizzy and fainting for lack of strength, I fell to the ground with a thousand shards of splintering wood and a thousand more tiny, strands of magic thread landing gently around me.

I drifted in and out of a shivering, feverish and hallucinating sleep. I could feel Morvin lying on my chest, trying to keep me warm from the damp darkness. I tried to move my legs, but could no longer feel them. I heard whispers and saw Devnet smiling, wiping my brow with a damp cloth, trying to bring my fever down. I saw her put colorful flowers in my hair whose sweet perfumes helped to calm my breathing and I drank their sweet honey-sap as she pressed them to my lips.

I was found by villagers from a local fishing village who were a kind of superstitious folk. My precious boots were gone and in their place were a pair of strange, scarred markings of tangled knot-work, running up and down the sides of my legs. The villagers were afeared of the marks as well as my awful and astonishing story. You see, whereas in my culture I had been taught to think of my crippled legs as a blessing from the Faefolk; in their culture, my lameness was considered a demonic curse, which could only be remedied by begging forgiveness and praying to their one God. They would be relieved to be well rid of me and as soon as I was able to sit up of my own free will, I went back to travel once again, with my people--the Tinkers.

I was no longer old and gray. I looked the same as the day I turned 16, forced to grow old all over again, while most of my family were dying or deceased. The strange tattoos on my legs served to recall me of that fantastical journey, which occurred so long ago. Morvin is still alive and well, for he can never die. He remains as my familiar now. And when I die, he will remain as the familiar to my children and my children's children.

I passed on the webbed fingers of the Selkie and Merfolk to my descendents as a reminder of our ancestry. I never spoke to Devnet again; but every once in a while, I can spot a little, green sea sprite, winking down at me from a tall tree. And I never again saw the pretty, mystical and mysterious boots. But that's all right, for I no longer needed them. I was thankful for my blessings and had everything that I needed within my family, for I had explored and seen enough of the world. I never had the feeling anymore like I didn't belong and I never again felt lonely or forgotten.

As for those visions of the tortured sea, which the tapestry had woven for me so long ago, I have yet to see them occur. I hope that I never do and that in some small way, I have changed the course of the future, for good. I have never had another premonition, since that fateful day and I will be forever grateful for it. For I no longer wished to see the future, ever again.

Thanks so much for reading! Please take the time to review. I'd love to know your thoughts!