The sea is beautiful and alluring, but it is also dangerous and deadly. Above all, it is unknowable and untamable. Storytelling offered our ancestors a means to understand and interact with the natural world, and in time these stories coalesced into the mythological systems of the world. And the ocean features in every mythological system in history.
To reflect and explore this phenomenon, Gerry Smyth gathers together myths and folktales from cultures around the world: Native American, Caribbean, Polynesian, Persian, Indian, Scandinavian, and European. Just as these stories have been passed down through generations, he brings his own narrative interpretation with additional discussion on their meaning. Stories are divided into seven sections―Origin Stories; Gods and Humans; Voyages; Lost Places, Imagined Spaces; Weather and Nature; Down to the Sea in Ships; and Fabulous Beasts―and embellished with artworks, paintings, medieval illuminations, maps, and sailor sketches drawn from the wide-ranging collections of the British Library.