Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Sea Nymph

One night a number of fishermen quartered themselves in a hut by a fishing village on the northwest shores of an island. After they had gone to bed, and while they were yet awake, they saw a white, dew-besprinkled woman's hand reaching in through the door. They well understood that their visitor was a sea nymph, who sought their destruction, and feigned unconsciousness of her presence.

The following day their number was added to by the coming of a young, courageous and newly married man from Kinnar, in Lummelund. When they related to him their adventure of the night before, he made fun of their being afraid to take a beautiful woman by the hand, and boasted that if he had been present he would not have neglected to grasp the proffered hand.

That evening when they laid themselves down in the same room, the late arrival with them, the door opened again, and a plump, white woman's arm, with a most beautiful hand, reached in over the sleepers.

The young man arose from his bed, approached the door and seized the outstretched hand, impelled, perhaps, more by the fear of his comrades scoffing at his boasted bravery, than by any desire for a closer acquaintance with the strange visitor.

Immediately his comrades witnessed him drawn noiselessly out through the door, which closed softly after him. They thought he would return soon, but when morning approached and he did not appear, they set out in search of him. Far and near the search was pursued, but without success. His disappearance was complete.

Three years passed and nothing had been heard of the missing man. His young wife, who had mourned him all this time as dead, was finally persuaded to marry another. On the evening of the wedding day, while the mirth was at its highest, a stranger entered the cottage. Upon closer observation some of the guests thought they recognized the bride's former husband.

The utmost surprise and commotion followed.

In answer to the inquiries of those present as to where he came from and where he had been, he related that it was a sea nymph whose hand he had taken that night when he left the fisherman's hut; and that he was dragged by her down into the sea. In her pearly halls he forgot his wife, parents, and all that was loved by him until the morning of that day, when the sea nymph exclaimed, "There will be a dusting out in Kinnar this evening."

Then his senses immediately returned, and, with anxiety, he asked, "Then it is my wife who is to be the bride?"

The sea nymph replied in the affirmative.

At his urgent request, she allowed him to come up to see his wife as a bride, stipulating that when he arrived at the house he should not enter. When he came and saw her adorned with garland and crown he could, nevertheless, not resist the desire to enter. Then came a tempest and took away half the roof of the house, whereupon the man fell sick and three days later died.

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