The grey seal (British spelling) or gray seal (American spelling), Halichoerus grypus, is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae or "true seals". The only species of the genus Halichoerus, it is also known as Atlantic seal and the horsehead seal.

British and Scandinavian folklore traditions are full of stories about merfolk who can change their forms between grey seal and human. In international popular culture, these creatures are best known by their Scottish name selchie or selkie.

Gray seal in "The Sea Mother's Gift"[]

In his dream, Dett stood helplessly by as the sea monster Klevey destroyed his village. As Dett attempted to charge into battle against Klevey, he found himself restrained by a gray seal[1] which had grabbed his tunic in its mouth. The seal stared at Dett with a look demonstrating high intelligence, and Dett realized it was no ordinary seal, but one of the Seafolk. Dett begged the Seaman to let him go fight Klevey, but the Seaman shook his head no. Dett angrily asked the Seaman if he was in league with Klevey, but the Seaman again gestured no, and wept. Dett asked the Seaman "Is there nothing we can do?" The Seaman released Dett abruptly, so that he lost his balance. When Dett stood up, he saw that the Seaman was gone. Dett ran through the destroyed village to find that Klevey had already fled, and then woke up from his dream.

See also[]

  • Merfolk, for mythical sentient ocean-dwelling beings in general.


  1. The spelling Laura Frankos uses.