The Transformation Story Archive Mythical Beings


by Jim McCann

Glaucus left his small cottage that morning not knowing he would never return. Of course, that isn't something one would expect-- he was just going to his nets to reel in his catch. For the last few weeks his usual fishing places seemed to be producing smaller and smaller yields, so he moved his operation elsewhere, to beaches with which he was unfamiliar. He began to worry more about somebody tampering with his nets, and on occasion couldn't even find them-- but it always turned out he simply forgot exactly where they were and eventually came across them.

Nevertheless, he became increasingly unable to take this shock, for those nets were his only livelihood, and he would be a beggar before he could make new ones. The day before he found a new place which, though a very far walk from home, was easily locatable and surprisingly vacant. It was a wonderfully tiny bay surrounded by a grassy field perfect for drying the fish, all enclosed by a row of trees.

When Glaucus arrived that morning, he found the scene happily untouched-- he soon came to wonder if any human had ever laid eyes on it before. It was early, Glaucus began the laborious task of reeling in the nets and laying them on the grass to dry. It was well toward noon when he finished.

This was a wonderfully good catch; as Glaucus flattened piles of fish he realized that he never made a catch as good in his life. Only when he nearly finished this did he first hear a flap.

Startled, he looked around. There was nothing unusual to be seen. He resumed his duty when he heard it again. And again.

Suddenly all the dead fish in the field stirred and flapped on the ground. Even one in his hand began to move. Petrified, he dropped it and it sprang to life. Around Glaucus's feet the fish and its friends swam in the grass as if it were water, eventually converging toward the sea. Emboldened by curiosity, Glaucus tore a clump of this enchanted grass from the ground and tasted it.

His mind (and stomach) swirled and changed direction instantly. Suddenly the land and forest behind him grew cold, dark and frightening. The sea sparkled as a warm haven-- and appeared to fly ever more distant as he realized how far inland he was. Without another thought, he raced into the sea.

Glaucus met the churning ocean forcefully, and found that he couldn't breathe. Trying to regain his senses, he pushed for the top but found himself under the inflow of countless rivers and streams.

While Glaucus agonized under the pressure of all the world's streams, Poseidon, great god of the sea, distantly directed the transformation of Glaucus into a lesser god-- a merman.

All muscles in his legs contracted, and in the discomfort Glaucus lost his last bubble of air. Suddenly becoming aware of himself, he realized his simple clothing was gone. The size of his feet suddenly caught his attention, and reaching for them found they were flippers, like a frog's. He hardly noticed his ankles were no longer present, and the flippers were parallel with his legs, for he felt a pang, then a tightness, in his thighs. Turning his attention he saw that his legs now joined halfway down his thighs, hiding his genitals.

Refocusing his attention on his feet, he found that he could not longer reach them, his legs were now considerably longer. The feet themselves were not frog-like either anymore, the smallest, outward toes were now the longest, and stretched the membrane between them and the other toes further. While he watched, individual toes faded away, leaving only the webbing surrounded on the outer parts by flesh.

Trying to move, he noticed the joints of his knees were no longer definite, and bent in any direction he chose. The separation between his legs continued to close like a zipper and merge into a single column.

Hundreds of goose bumps bulged on the skin of his legs, flattened, and pressed together, forming rough ridges. The scales mostly retained the old skin color, though they were tinted slightly blue.

It then occurred to Glaucus that for several minutes now he had been breathing freely, although he was still underwater. Nevertheless, he swam for the surface, was relieved to find the torrents were gone, and once again gasped air. He cautiously opened his wet eyes and discovered he was all the time submerged in only five feet of water, in that little harbor surrounded by the field.

He dragged himself onto some sand to inspect his recent changes under the light of the sun. For the first time he saw his modified legs all at once. For the first time it shocked him to discover that they were a fish's tail.

After a quick inspection he found that the upper portion of his body was unchanged. Intuitively this led him to look at his midsection to discover exactly where man met fish. The transition was surprisingly difficult to find, it was gradiated between several inches. In fact, Glaucus couldn't view and recognize both sides at the same time, it was too much of a blur. What were scales on one side slowly became the goose bumps he saw earlier, then a few freckles on human skin.

His tail flopped flat, and he found it difficult to lay it straight on the little strip of sand, for his tail was nearly six feet long. In every motion, its heavy mass was revealed. Only in water could he move usefully.

He shivered, and although the forest didn't seem as awful as it did before, he was still repelled by it. Glaucus began to slide himself back to the water, and noticed the oddity of his reflection. He couldn't see clearly, for the surface was turbulent with ripples. He never realized whether he spoke or thought his command for the water to stop and straighten, but it obeyed. Only momentarily surprised with his power, he saw his bare chest as it blended into the tail. He seemed like a single unit, there was no longer any distinction in his eyes. The tail was a part of his torso and his torso was a part of his tail. Before he imagined he looked like a human trying to escape a column of rock like an unfinished sculpture, but now it was obvious he was one. With this he waved the image away and plunged into the water. For many months he remained there and learned to live in the realm that was partially his. That is, until he fell in love with a land-dwelling nymph named Scylla...

Glaucus copyright 1996 by Jim McCann.

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