Sea Girl (story by R.C. Peris)

I am the Sea Girl. The tribes have many names for me. I live in the frigid water with my lamp. All the sea animals love my lamp. They love the light that shines up through the darkness. Sometimes I open my lamp and let the animals swim in the warm light. I laugh and delight in their joy. The tribes do not like when I let the animals in my lamp. The tribes can’t hunt and feed off the animals in my lamp. They pray to me and stand at the icy water edge. I think they go hungry sometimes when I open my lamp. I do not mean to cause them harm. I am alone in the sea until I open lamp and then I have all the sea animals to keep me company.

I was once a member of a tribe. I was a small girl who wasn’t very pretty. The children teased and my parents would hit me. My mother would call me “ugly beast”. One time she burned me with a boiling pot. It was deep in winter and the air was filled with snow. I waited until everyone was asleep, filled the lamp with more whale fat and left my home. I went to the water’s edge. My tears were frozen. I dove under the water with my lamp. I thought I would die but I could breathe underwater. It was safe down there. No one would call me names or hurt me.

The tribes pray to me. It wouldn’t happen. Opening the lamp and making friends with the sea animals and causing famine. It wouldn’t happen if everyone had been nice to me.

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