Asia's History, Europe's History, Myths

Melusine – The Serpent of Woe

Myths are not stories that are untrue… Rather, they are tales that don’t fit neatly into the historical record, which serve as a foundation to a culture.

a French king stands atop a hill, overlooking his army before him, weapons, and armor glint in the sunlight archers stand at the ready, the battle is about to begin. But, suddenly in the distance, he hears a horrible wailing cry. No, it can t be, but it is his heart sinks as he realizes the day will surely be lost, for he has just heard the cries of Melusine.

Long ago, in the time of the crusades, Elinus, king of Alba was hunting in a deep dark forest, the birds sang in the trees, the horses made their way through the dense wood, and the hounds barked with excitement for each quarry. After, few hours the party made its way to a clearing near a pristine sparkling stream, and sitting alongside of it was a woman singing a haunting melody. Her hair was black, as the darkest night, her eyes shone like gemstones, she wore a dress of the finest silk, and her hands were long, and delicate she was in a word breathtaking.

But, as you can guess she was no ordinary woman, she was a fae. A powerful magical creature, with otherworldly abilities, and a penchant for trickery, but king Elinus didn’t know that, all he knew was that he was now deeply in love. He begged the woman to tell him her name, and with a slight smile, and nod of her noble head she replied: Priscine Oh boy that smile, it was enough to make the king swoon, and his heart ache even more, so he asked her on the spot if she would marry him. Offering in return the finest clothes, and jewels in all of the land, but Pristine refused, that offer you see wasn’t enough.

So, he tried again, this time offering her fertile farmland as far as the eye could see, and peasants to work those fields for her. But again, she refused still it was not enough, then the king made his third and final offer, everything that he had promised already plus, enough gold to last 10 lifetimes and to this Pristine agreed. Only on one more condition, because as you may know fae do love getting in the contractual weeds, with mortals, she would marry him only if he promised never to set eyes on her or any of her future children while they bathed.

He agreed and he was okay slightly odd request, but yeah sure he could totally do that. Anything for his new queen, so with this deal struck. Priscine left the forest, and moved into the palace with her new nightly husband, and a big old pile of riches, and after a few short years of wedded bliss, Christine gave birth to triplets. Unfortunately, as soon as Elinus heard his children were born, and were being bathed, the king’s human curiosity got the better of him; he simply had to see his new children this was a joyous special occasion after all. Surely Pristine wouldn’t mind just this once. But, that s not really how deals with the fae work, and so even though she had grown to love king Elinus his promise was broken, and Pristine packed up the kids along with Oliver loot, and moved away to the magical isle of Avalon.

Avalon there the triplets grew up, and all was magical Faye bliss. that is until their 18th birthday for on that day the eldest girl, Melusine asked her mother why they had been taken away from the land of their birth, not a fae to hide the truth from her children Pristine told them the whole story, the magical meeting in the woods the proposal the promise, and the breaking of that promise when Melisene heard that her father had broken, his word she was furious and so without telling her mother she escalated the situation fairly quickly and convinced her sisters to sneak off the island, and help her take revenge. They captured Elinus, and imprisoned him inside a mountain, feeling pretty satisfied with herself Melisene strutted back home and told her mother what they had done.

But, she didn’t get the reaction she was hoping for. Pristine was livid, alliance had broken their deal sure but she had still loved him and he was still her father. So, in a very specific punishment Pristine condemned Melisine to take the form of a sea serpent from the waist down every Saturday, and warned her that if any man ever saw this she would transform into a beast permanently. So, Melisene went on to live her life this way, a normal girl most of the time and a mermaid for half the weekends.

then one day, as she was guarding a sacred fountain in the woods, a young nobleman named Raymond came across her, much in the same way Elinus and Pracine had met all those years ago, and wouldn’t you know it also much in the same way Raymond was instantly enraptured.
The two of them stayed up all night talking together, and by the time dawn broke. They were betrothed. Though, taking a fae play out of mom’s book Melisine only agreed to this of course on one condition, that Raymond never lay his eyes on her on a Saturday.

He agreed to her request, in the years that followed their wedding, Melusine brought great prosperity and wealth to the land. She built fortresses, and castles, churches, and towns. And, they all went up so quickly, it was almost like magic, and over their many happy years together they had 10 children each of which strange in some way, the eldest had one red eye, and one blue. Another had one ear three times larger than their other, one had a lion’s paw on a foot, and one only had one enormous tooth. But, even with all of these oddities the children were healthy, talented, and beloved by all. Yet, despite all of this happiness, and bliss, Raymond began to grow suspicious just what was his wife doing every Saturday? So, letting his human curiosity get the better of him, he sought her out, and peeked through the crack in the door to her room.

She was just in the bath, silly of him to even wonder it… WAIT! WHAT IS THAT??
unable to believe his own eyes, Raymond confronted her about what he had seen, which then revealed that he had broken his promise, just as her father had before, as a rage took over Melisine she began turning into a massive sea serpent, rose into the sky circled the castle three times, and then flew, away and after that day, every night, she would return to visit her family, to watch over them, and cry out to alert them of any danger, before vanishing once again into the darkness.

Melisine would continue this tradition for centuries, watching over her children. Her children’s, children, and her children’s, children’s, children. Thus, many kings claiming to be descendants of Melusine have said to have heard her mournful cries, and seen her serpentine form flying over their castles to further prove their lineage. In fact, many real-world royals from Cyprus, Armenia, and perhaps most famously Luxembourg, have all claimed to be related.
So, if you happen to see a giant screeching serpent in the sky, good news: your royalty. Bad news: you’re in danger.