Tales Of Manfolk (F/E1/I1)

Once underneath the Mediterranean Sea,
There lived many people like you and me.
But they were also unlike us too,
These people who lived in the waters blue.
They were merfolk, with long fishy tails,
That had rainbow hues on their metallic scales,
And they danced as they swam, like ballerinas.
But this story is about one mermaid named Serena.

Serena was the youngest princess of The Sea King.
And all in the kingdom loved to hear her sing.
But she didn’t prefer shows in which she starred,
She preferred the stories of The Sea Bard.

Phineas The Sea Bard sat upon a rock,
And all the young merfolk to him did flock.
But Serena was led up to the front of the school,
And made to sit down on her coral stool.

Phineas: “Are we all ready?” Phineas chimed,
“For today’s story is most divine.
Serena? Are you ready to hear
About the Manfolk who live near to here?”

Serena leaped from her stool and twirled,
As did the mer-fingerlings, both boys and girls.

When they had calmed, Phineas began,
Lowering his tone and pointing to land.

Phineas: “Up there, there lives many a man.
The crowning achievement of Creator’s plan.
And perhaps when you’re old enough, You too will see,
What marvelous wonders live above the sea.
For manfolk live 100 years and are-
Taken up to heaven, to the shining stars,
While we live 300, and then turn to sea foam.
Merfolk have life, but Manfolk have a home.”

Then The Sea Bard told a fantastic tale
Of men who over the waters did sail.
How they battled sea monsters and won the fight,
But Serena waited for a question invite.

Phineas: “Are there any questions about our story today?”

Serena’s hand shot up,

Phineas: “Serena, what do you have to say?”

Serena: “Is it true that when we go up to the outside,
We should be very careful to hide,
For if they see us, we will cause them danger?
I do not want to harm a manfolk stranger!”

Phineas: “When manfolk see merfolk, it creates something bad
That is called a storm, it makes them go mad.
The fear that grips them exists,
because they could die,
If dragged into the sea, my little fry.”

Serena: “They can never come down and live with us?”

Phineas: “I fear not, young one. Not without great cost.
Manfolk cannot breathe underwater like we
Who swim out in the open sea.
If the go in too deep, or stay in too long,
They will drown just as surely, as the rising of the dawn.”

Serena: “I want to see them!”

Phineas: “And in time you will.
And I’m sure one day that’ll be quite a thrill.
But for now dear Serena, go out and play.
You will see manfolk on your 16th Birthday.”

Witnessing Manfolk (F/E1/I2)

When Serena turned 16,
She swam as fast as she could
Up to the surface to see the Manfolk,
That they might be understood.
And when her head broke through the surface
What do you think she saw?
A vessel floating on the surface,
As long as a sea monster was tall!

She marveled at its colored masts of purple and of gold.
And the little school of white things that floated around the vessel, bold.
They shrieked and called discordant songs
As they scavenged for a meal,
Serena then thought to herself: ‘How can this all be real?’

She swam a fair bit closer,
Keeping out of sight.
She didn’t want to stir up a storm,
Or cause the Manfolk fright.
And as she did she heard a voice,
Cutting through the waves,
It was the sound of a man-bard,
And he was heaping out praise.

Man-Bard: “Prince Silas drew closer to the burning building,
As it swayed and almost collapsed.
He heard the screams of the Little ones,
Trapped inside the black.
He pushed through the smoke,
The flame and the heat,
And braved it all despite,
Knowing he might die any moment,
Yet he didn’t lose the fight.

He saved five children.
All the ones who were trapped there in that house,
Selflessly braving the fire of Hephaestus,
And the danger all about.

And it is my pleasure to present to you,
Before you all have fits,
The heroic Prince of our country,
The Honorable Prince Silas!”

The people clapped and The Prince stepped out.
Serena was amazed.
Hearing stories of the Man’s bravery,
Made it hard to move her gaze.

The people sang a simple song,
And Serena joined right in.
She wished she hadn’t soon after,
As the air began to spin.
Water-spouts, whirlpools, maelstroms, rain, and more.
Lightning raged, thunder roared,
And the Manfolk were shook to the core.

They all scrambled fast to steady their ship,
Before they were overcome.
But Prince Silas was swept from the deck,
And Serena’s tail went numb.
She dove below the ship straight to
The Prince’s floating form,
And she held him just above the water
In the ever increasing storm.
Her tail screamed in pain and effort
As she pushed the extra weight,
But she had to save this one who’d saved lives,
No mind to the pain that was great.

She dragged and dragged with all her might,
Until she reached dry land.
Her skin and scales cried out on contact,
With the still hot sand.
She beached herself for a moment,
And stared down at his face.
His eyes began to stutter open,
And she left without a trace.

She swam back down to the sea below,
Wishing she could stay above.
She wondered at the feelings she felt.
Could this all be…

Captivated (F/E1/I3)

And so the days went on and on.
Every other, Serena surfaced.
Trying to catch a glimpse of Prince Silas.
Her curiosity she serviced.

She learned many things
About Manfolk and land.
And she praised Creator for-
The amazing work of his hands.
But after many days of this,
Her heart began to sink.
Imagining the riches inside their buildings,
Food, and the songs they must sing.
But above all these things,
She longed for but two.
The glory of Heaven,
And for Prince Silas too.

This longing slowly grew into captivation.
Yet, out did not stop there.
She had to do something to live with them all.
Her obsession became to breathe air.
And so she confided in the only one,
She believed would understand.
Phineas The Sea Bard,
Who told her of Manfolk,
And the treasures of the land.

She approached him at night,
Before he went to sleep,
Phineas opened his door,

Phineas: “Your highness,
What brings you this deep?”

Serena tried her best to explain,
But she quickly began to weep.
Phineas guessed the rest of her tale,
With one logical leap.
He took her into his simple cave home,
And sat her on his couch.

Phineas: “That’s alright, Serena.
Get your tears all out.”

When Serena regained her composure,
Phineas stood and spoke.

Phineas: “I must know how serious you are.
This must not be a joke.”

Serena: “Creator calls me to the surface.
Of that I am convinced.”

Phineas’ voice grew grave and low.

Phineas: “I must not be involved.
I will tell you a way this all may happen,
Because I trust your longing eyes.
But no one may know I told you this way.
I must remain disguised.”

Serena solemnly nodded her head,
And swore to secrecy.
Then the sea-bard drew near to her ear,
And whispered: “Sorcery.”

The Sea Witch (F/E1/I4)

Phineas gave Serena good directions
To that lowly part of the sea.
The desolate seascape all around her
Made her want to hide or flea.
She’d never seen the sea so empty,
So dark, with so little life.
But she promised herself she would brave this.
And if necessary she’d fight.

But she was thankful she didn’t have to,
As finally approached the place,
Where she would hopefully, finally, become a woman,
And taste of Creator’s grace.

The sunken ship lay there,
Just as Phineas had said.
The silt-crusted vessel was massive in size.
And the bones of Manfolk lay dead,
All around and inside the ship,
It was very much a place of death.
Serena thought about turning back,
But then she thought of having breath.

She pushed onward into the ship,
And found the Sorceress in a small room.
The sorceress looked strange to Serena.
Petite, with depressed eyes from gloom.
She was an old hag with wrinkly skin,
And Serena could only guess what was within
The cloth covering over The Sea-Witch’s lower half,
Though she didn’t swim…

Sea-Witch: “What do you want, pathetic being?
My house is not open to you.”

Serena: “If you please, Sorceress, I’ve come to-”

Sea-Witch: “Get a Clue!
I know exactly why you came!
And my answer is: ‘Why should I?’
Just take your 300 years, little one. 300 years, then die!”

Serena almost left right there.
The Sea-Witch was so cruel.
But Phineas told her she’d have to insist.

Serena: “Do you take me for a fool?
I’ve made my decision.
I am not lost!
I will do this at whatever cost!”

The Sea-Witch grew agitated,
And slammed a fist on her table.

Sea-Witch: “What do you have to offer me?!
How are you able to pay your debt to me,
You poor miserable wretch?!”

Serena: “I can bring you riches from
My royal treasure chest.”

Sea-Witch: “Bah!” Said the witch.
“Riches are worth nothing!”

Serena: “Please, I’m not sure.
Can you help me think of something?”

The Sea-Witch exhaled
With an annoyed tone.
Not quite a sigh,
Not quite a groan.

Sea-Witch: “Do you have any talents?”

Serena: “Yes. I have a few.”

Sea-Witch: “Good. Now tell me.
Exactly what do you do?”

Serena: “I can sing.”

The Sea-Witch snapped.

Sea-Witch: “Show me!”

And Serena sang a sing of the sea.
But before she got far, the witch bid her to stop.

Sea-Witch: “It isn’t bad.
But it’s not worth a lot.”

Serena bowed her head
And the witch cocked hers.

Sea-Witch: “You swim gracefully.
Perhaps both can incur
The cost of this transaction?
With these will you part?
Your voice and your grace?”

Serena: “With all my heart.”

The witch snapped into action
Before Serena could have known it.
With one hand she grabbed Serena’s mouth,
With the other, Serena’s tongue, and pulled it.
She released her grip on the cheeks and then,
Brought a knife through the tongue with a swipe.
Pain tore through Serena’s body,
And she stumbled back in fright.

The old Sea-Witch laughed as blood colored the water.

Sea-Witch: “Here are the rules,
My little daughter!

1. You may never sing or speak again!
Obvious by what I just did.

2. Your grace will live on.
But invisible needles will dig,
Into the flesh and bones of your feet,
So to walk is beyond masochism.
These are both the price
For changing an organism.

3. And very last of all,
You will still turn to foam,
If you do not find true love,
Heaven will not be your home!
And if into true love, you do fall,
And your love rejects you,
Then that is all.
You will die shortly after,
And the foam of the sea,
Will have a few more bubbles to flow aimlessly.”

The witch twirled around, and Serena saw,
Legs of Manfolk,
Under the witch’s shawl.
Serena’s eyes went dark,
As terror gripped her heart,
Was this now the end?
Or just the very start?

Adrift (F/E1/I5)

In came the air into newly formed lungs.
Back it went out in a blast.
Serena opened her eyes and saw new legs,
She was absolutely aghast!
She felt them with her old hands
And found Smoothness like her skin.
No longer scales and fishy tails.
No longer rainbow fins.
She touched the bottom of her feet,
And then screamed out in pain.
The needle feeling the witch had told her of-
Had quite a powerful sting.

Then she heard a voice as clear as glass,
Calling out: “Miss! Miss!”
She looked and saw Prince Silas (and two guards) riding toward her,
And everything was bliss.

He dismounted immediately and came to her side.

Silas: “Miss, are you alright?”

She opened her mouth to speak to him,
But her mouth would not comply.

He looked in her mouth and saw the blood,
Coating the inside.

Silas: “She must have been attacked by pirates,
And left at sea to die.
God saw fit to save this one.
Whatever she needs, comply.”

The lifted her onto the Prince’s land-horse.
(Very different from horses at sea.)
And the rode her back to the Prince’s palace.
What joy Serena had to be free!