On this enchanting summer evening, the setting sun cast a golden glow over the coastal haven known as the Lizard. Lutey, the weathered old man, stood on the shore near his quaint farm nestled on the cliff above. This serene retreat was his haven and home. Where he balanced his days between farming, fishing, and the occasional rendezvous with the world of smuggling. The day's labour concluded early, and as he waited for supper, he strolled along the sandy shores, hoping for any signs of the elusive wreckage that had long evaded him.
The evening began with a sense of quiet disappointment until a haunting cry pierced the air, carried by the sea breeze. It was a keening of sorts, distinct from the mournful calls of seagulls—a cry of distress from a woman or child. Intrigued and concerned, Lutey turned toward the sound, yet the beach revealed no living soul except himself. The cry persisted, compelling him to explore its source further.
Guided by the haunting sound, Lutey approached a cluster of rocks rising from the sands. There, partially concealed by seaweed, lay the captivating vision of a woman—her skin resembling delicate seashells, her eyes sparkling like sunlit waves, and her hair cascading in golden ripples. Attempting to offer assistance, Lutey did not wish to alarm the mermaid. Despite his gentle approach, the mermaid, startled by his presence, shrieked in terror and swiftly disappeared into a deep pool at the base of the rock.
Undeterred, Lutey spoke soothingly, assuring the mermaid that he meant no harm and was eager to help. The mermaid, slowly emerging from the water, perched herself on the rock, with a voice resembling a gentle murmuring stream, the mermaid, named Morwenna, began recounting her recent escapade. She described an idyllic day spent with her family in the caverns of Kynance, highlighting the allure of the scent of flowers from the human world. Driven by curiosity, she swam to the shore, only to find herself unable to reach the captivating flowers atop the cliffs. Then to her dismay she found herself to be stranded as the tide had retreated, Morwenna faced the dilemma of returning to her family before her merman husband awakened, fearing both his anger and the potential consequences for their offspring.
Sympathising with her plight, Lutey reassured Morwenna and offered practical solutions. As she gradually gained confidence in the man before her, Morwenna expressed gratitude and shared her ability to understand all languages, a skill acquired through encounters with the diverse tribes visiting the sea.
In gratitude for his assistance, Morwenna gifted Lutey a pearl comb and pledged to fulfil three of his wishes. Immersed in the captivating presence of the mermaid, Lutey divulged his desires—not for wealth but for the power to dispel witches' spells, command spirits, and heal diseases. Morwenna, impressed by his selflessness, granted his wishes and promised perpetual prosperity for his family.
Overwhelmed by the encounter, Lutey carried Morwenna back to the sea, enchanted by her tales of underwater wonders and riches. She extended an invitation to join her in the mermaid's realm, a realm of diamond-covered roofs, amber walls, and floors crafted from mother-of-pearl. However, Lutey, grounded in his earthly desires for wines, brandy, laces, and silks of the lost in shipwrecks, declined the tempting offer.
As they waded into the sea, Morwenna pleaded with Lutey to aid her in reaching her family quickly, offering further rewards. Bound by his commitment, Lutey, still enchanted by her beauty, carried her into the waves. Did he realise the peril that lurked beneath the surface? Or was he distracted by her mermaid magnetism?
Just before it was too late the sound of his loyal dog barking from the shore broke the enchantment. Reality returned, and Lutey, remembering his home, his supper, and the dangers that might await him, abruptly he snapped out of Morwenna's allure. Frightened by the potential consequences of abandoning his life, he demanded to be released, pulling a clasp-knife from his pocket as a last resort. Morwenna, yielding to his threat, swam away, leaving behind a haunting melody promising her return in nine years.
Returning to shore, Lutey felt an overwhelming need to sleep, oblivious to the frenzy his tale would spark in the local community. With the pearl comb safely in his pocket there was no doubt that this would become a tangible testament to his encounter. Soon, Lutey's reputation as a healer and wielder of supernatural powers spread far and wide. His wish had remained granted.
The consequences of his fateful encounter, however, unfolded nine years later. On a tranquil moonlit night, Lutey, forgetting Morwenna's warning, ventured out to sea for fishing. Suddenly, an inexplicable wave engulfed his boat, revealing Morwenna's triumphant return. Silent but resolute, Lutey, under a mysterious spell, willingly left the boat and joined the mermaid in the depths of the sea, disappearing without a trace.
The misfortune did not end with Lutey's disappearance, as every ninth year thereafter, one of his descendants succumbed to the sea's claim. The once-humble smuggler, now immortalised in mermaid folklore, paid a steep price for his wishes, and the tale of Lutey and the Mermaid echoed through the generations. A cautionary narrative about the allure of the otherworldly? Maybe an enduring tale for those who tempt fate?
As the tale concludes, we cannot help but look for the hidden meanings woven into the fabric of this mermaid encounter. Beyond the mystical allure of the underwater realm and the exchange of wishes and the fleeting nature of earthly desires, Morwenna's promise of returning in nine years serves as a reminder that every decision carries a consequences. Perhaps the mermaid's tale encourages us to appreciate the beauty of the present, as a tale of an ungrounded man, who was not satisfied in the present, thus his excessive yearning eventually drowned him?
In the end, does Lutey's story become a poignant metaphor for the delicate balance between our earthly pursuits and the timeless forces that shape our destinies? Could it be reminding us that some treasures are best left untouched to preserve the sanctity of our lives and the legacy we leave behind? I believe that for now it is for each of us to interpret.
Oceans of Love
Charlie Edwards - Light Code Weaver - Land Healer - Wisht Witch