Legends surround the seal in the British Isles. Like mermaids (See Mystical WWW Mystic’s Menagerie : Mermaid) seals were thought to shed their skin once a year or at will, and able to take on human form.
In western Scotland it was once believed that seals had tremendous abilities, being able to come ashore at night. Before sunrise came up they would sing and dance, enjoying the opportunity to be in human form. It was said that if a man wanted to have one of the seal-maidens stay in human form, he must take the discarded skin and hide it, but if she were to get it back, she would leave him. The ‘Offspring of the Seal’ is a name given to people from the MacCodum Clan from the Outer Hebrides off mainland Scotland (UK). It was said that that an ancestor married a seal-maiden after he spied her dancing, hiding her skin for many years whilst she bore him several children. Some believed that seals were fallen angels whilst some thought seals to be the children of kings that had been unfortunate enough to fall prey to enchantments. In Lent, the Christian time for fasting, seal meat was considered to be similar to fish and therefore could be consumed.