It is getting towards the time of year when I am being asked for contributions to best of round ups and In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield is featuring prominently. My thanks to Abigail Nussbaum for pointing me in the direction of another wonderful mermaid story published by a British writer this year: ‘A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc’ by Helen Keeble. I actually prefer its subtitle, ‘A Lullaby’:
Hush my babes, hush; sleep soundly in your shells. Do not open your eyes, not yet. Sleep softly, dreaming of blood.
If you feel a swaying, surely it is but the gentle tumble of the waves. If you feel a current, surely it is but the ripple of my fins around you. If you see a shadow, surely it is but a passing darkness. I am here, sweet spawnlings, little eggs. I am here, your father, wrapping you in the soft tides of my song. I am here, Sunlight-Reaching-Deep is here, warming you like my namesake. I promise you, when you awaken, you will see the sun. You will see the sun, and laugh.
But not yet, not yet. Curl tightly; fold your fins over your eyes. It is not time to wake. Sleep, o my small loves, sleep fearlessly, and let my voice rock you in your dreams. Surely no harm will come to you while your father sings.