Episode 41: Water Fae: Water Nymphs
The folklore of Water Nymphs in a nutshell, how I reimagined them for my writing, and these fae translated into Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2022 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about Water Nymphs here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
This episode is brought to you by my book Once… Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie available in eBook, audiobook and paperback. Learn more at ronelthemythmaker.com/my-books.
We’re continuing our exploration of Water Fae.
Today’s Faery: Water Nymph
Folklore in a nutshell by Ronel
The naiads of Greek mythology were the nymphs of flowing water: springs, fountains, rivers, and lakes. These freshwater nymphs were seen as beautiful, light-hearted, and mostly benign. Like all nymphs, they lived for a very long time but weren’t truly immortal.
The rusalki, singular rusalka, of Slavic mythology were the restless spirits of children who died unbaptized and of virgins who were drowned. They were given different personalities, depending on region. Around the Danube River, they were beautiful girls dressed in robes of mist, singing songs, bewitching passers-by. In northern Russia, they were ugly, naked and wicked, eagerly waiting to ambush humans. All rusalki were out to entice men: whether to enchant or to torture them.
Lorelei is the German legend of a beautiful young woman who threw herself into the Rhine River over a faithless lover and was turned into a siren. She is associated with a large rock which stands on the bank of the Rhine River which gives off an echo. Lorelei is said to lure fishermen to destruction.
The nacken is a water spirit from Scandinavian folklore. He is a scantily clad male who plays the violin so beautifully, it attracts women and children to the water where they are drowned.
As none of these nymphs are mortal, they’ve never been constrained by the morality of humans and thus had the freedom to be sexually aggressive and promiscuous without consequence. But looking at their supposed origin stories, one could argue that they are also taking vengeance to a whole new level. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an origin of the fae: water nymph.
Water nymphs can be male or female. They are attractive to their prey: humans. But when in their natural habitat, they can appear in any way they wish. They live in all the freshwater of the earth. They can travel from one source of water to the next, using the special waterways that connects all water.
Inquisitive creatures, they enjoy to watch humans go about their daily lives. Like most water fay, though, they enjoy the taste of human flesh. They also take human lovers on occasion, just as Greek myths say.
Water nymphs are extraordinary musicians and are sought-after to perform at most fae gatherings.
Translation of water nymph into Afrikaans: water nimf.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
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