Friday, 24 August 2012
Scientist at Sea
A long time ago, during the last big war it seems there was a scientist who went to sea to explore the natural life. By which I mean of course, the fish and suchlike. He had a distinctly logical and rational mind that admitted no 'fanciful' notions. He had never believed in the Faeries as a child, so his grandmother had had to send him to the city to stay with his mother. This also meant sending his mother to the city but at least they were safe. His father was away fighting in the war - as men do. At least it was necessary to fight this time for one cannot allow nitwits to take over the world, especially when they are cruel nitwits.
The little boy had grown up with an intention to be utterly rational and logical for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. As such he had taken a liking to science and a dislike to art (beauty is irrational - fortunately) and love for that too was utterly illogical. He gathered a very logical interest in sea creatures that had nothing to do with his emotions - or so he said.
At any rate, he had, as I say gone to sea during the war, which may in itself show his sense of logic was slipping. The ship's crew left him alone mostly. They had enough to keep the ship going and avoiding the enemy who were likely to be extremely unsociable.
Now it should be said that seafaring men and women have a long tradition of lore, much of it strange and wonderful. So it was not too long before the scientist was upsetting the crew with his clear lack of knowledge of any sea-lore. He even went so far as to state quite unequivocally that mermaids were a form of wishful thinking.
The first mate, a woman of formidable nature and great strength bet him a hundred pounds that he was wrong and being a rational man he took the bet.
"It takes a man who is convinced of his intelligence to be a true fool," the first mate remarked.
The scientist maintained a dignified silence before running on deck to throw up over the side. For as a city man the pitch and roll of the ship had left him with a delicate constitution. As he straightened up he looked into the eyes of a mermaid. Her hair was dark green like fine seaweed, her eyes blue-green as the sea and her skin was pale with a silvery tint to it. She looked boldly into his eyes and laughed before flicking her tail and plunging beneath the waves.
Now it takes a rational and logical man to consider phenomenom and our scientist put this vision down to his unsteady constitution. Mermaids, he reminded himself do not exist though he could not understand why he should be wishfully thinking of one. After all, he disliked love for its irrational nature. At that point his stomach overcame his reason and he was violently sick again. Once more he groaned and cleaned himself up before staggering down to his cabin.
During that evening, the sea seemed to lose its temper. It whistled and raged and clawed at the sky. In its turn the sky also grew angry and growled thunderously, darkened its brows and hurled rain and hail at the sea. Caught between the two the ship was hurled upwards and prow first down into the wild lacy foam of the seaspray. The scientist who had during the afternoon brought his scientific equipment on deck (so as to be nearer the rail) was caught by surprise for the day had been fine with just enough breeze to be comfortable. His microscope among his other equipment and he too were flung up and over the side of the ship.
He felt the icy cold of the sea wrap around him and leave him breathless so that he could not even shout to the crew. His clothes became drenched with water until they were leaden on him. He sank, struggling to rise up to the stormy surface of the sea, his clothes choking off any movement.
He felt gently fingers about him then and heard soft singing that wove about him. When he turned his head he looked into the eyes of that mermaid with the blue-green eyes. Suddenly without warning, he found himself deeply in love. All his reason and logic could not save him for it was quite overwhelmed by the mermaid's wild beauty.
What happened to him is unknown, only that the crew never found him. Only his microscope was retrieved from the ocean and sent to a museum as a memory of the scientist. Those who loved him could only mourn him.
But the sailors do not mourn him, for they know that on certain days evenings when the sun is not quite gone from the sky a mermaid and her lover can be seen on dark lonely rocks fixed in each other's gaze, deep in love, an utterly irrational emotion.