Once upon a time on a rocky isle in the Hebrides lived a young woman with skin of pearl and hair as red as a sea star. It was said her voice was so sweet, so angelic, she could calm the restless sea with a lullaby.
One night, a terrible Nor’easter roared in, stirring the ocean to angry froth and slamming waves. As the lighthouse flashed, she stood on the cliff and sang, her dulcet aria taming the waves into a path, leading the village boats home.
and she sang,
and she sang
until all but one of the hundred and eight vessels were accounted for, safe in the harbor. She fell exhausted to the sea grass, needing a moment to rest before singing again, but sleep took her and when she awoke, the sea lay smooth and dark and quiet as a kitten.
And the last boat?
She scrambled to the edge. Below her, wood and pitch were strewn upon the rocks and surf, and one splintered board bore her name, painted in sea star red – Lillandra.
Her sorrow flew from her throat in a dirge so poignant and bittersweet the rocks themselves wept to hear it. The sea churned, gray and dismal, at her despair. Wind billowed her skirts like a sail and, with a final mournful cry,
into the regretful sea.
Fear not for her, for the sea loved her and her haunting lullabies and trilling madrigals. And when she fell, it caught her in its frigid embrace, depositing her unharmed on a fine sand beach, waves gently lapping at her heels with salty kisses.
Her eyes opened to a stout young fisherman, all calloused hands and briny eyes, washed up beside her. Her gift from the sea.