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Testimonials: Inspired by Sirens – Yoon Ha Lee

During Sirens, we invited all attendees to write: a testimonial, a love letter, a tale inspired by Sirens. As we work on our new website, arriving November 1, 2015, we will feature the stories shared by the Sirens community.

 
Yoon Ha Lee (@motomaratai)
Sirens Story Wot Needs a Title

In a tower by the sea, there lived a woman who sang to the gulls every morning. Hers was not a beautiful voice, but she knew the storm-words and the rain-words and the tide-words, and with it she enticed the boys and girls and alts of the village. They would listen to her weather-prophecies before going to sea, and their nets brought back not only fish and kelp and shrimp but shattered chains, bent coins, silks rotted partway through: the treasures of ancient pirates and tribute ships.

One evening, as the woman gazed out the window, she sang again, and this time not to the village children but to the sea’s denizens. From the depths of the moon-blurred sea came sirens, their eyes dark as pearls, their skin like deepest night, their hair tangled with the broken-off bits of coral and driftwood. They sang back to the woman, saying: Why do you stay in the tower where you cannot swim? And she said, Why do you sing when you do not fish? They conceded the point, but from then on they sang to each other every morning and evening. As for the villagers, they kept this their secret, and so it went for generations.

 

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