Repeated investigations have gradually brought me to the conviction that the Finn or Seal stories contain a combination of the mermaid myth with a strong historical element—that the Finns are nothing else than a fabulous transmogrification of those Norse "sea-dogs," who from eld have penetrated into the islands round Scotland, into Scotland itself, as well as into Ireland. "Old sea-dog" is even now a favourite expression for a weather-beaten, storm-tossed skipper—a perfect seal among the wild waves.
The assertion of a "higher" origin of still living persons from Finns
... would thus explain itself as a wildly legendary remembrance of
the descent from the blood of Germanic conquerors. The "skin" wherewith
the Finns change themselves magically into sea-beings I hold to be
their armour, or coat of mail. Perhaps that coat itself was often made
of seal-skin, and then covered with metal rings, or scales, as we see it in
Norman pictures; for instance, on the Bayeux tapestry. The designation
of Norwegian and Danish conquerors, in Old Irish history, as "scaly
monsters," certainly fits in with this hypothesis.
I never addressed myself, in the language of decency and friendship, to a woman, whether civilized or savage, without receiving a decent an...
There is nothing strange in the perpetuation of ideas and modes of thought through many thousand years. Their origin is in the very organiza...
Among the various craft they passed, they were much amused by the little Finnish schooners, which went careering on before the breeze, laden...
All along the quay at which we landed I noticed hundreds of fishwives dealing in their finny wares. The fish were as various in size and k...