Morskaya Tsarevna #Friday Fictioneers

Old man’s been gone a long time, I think to myself as I climb the waveworn stairs.
I opened the door, poked my head in.  Chair, desk, table.  Lantern hanging on a a nail, stringers of rust dripping down.  But no bed.  Funny, that. Where’d he sleep?
Tide’s come up without my noticing and the waves are slapping at the open door.  A hand reaches from the water, grasps the threshold.  A girl’s head and shoulders emerge from the foam.
“Want to spend the night with me?” she asked, the seaweed entwined in her hair like ribbons.


I took exactly one linguistics class in my life.  The professor presented us with a fascinating story from Russia, using it to demonstrate…I don’t know what.  I took the story and, naturally, translated it into Angosey.  This photo reminded me of it.  Here’s the English translation:

Of-the-sea queen

Original Translation from Russian

In sea prince bathes steed

Hears prince look at me

Snorts steed and ears twitches

Sprays and splashes and farther swims

Hears prince I king’s daughter

Want to spend you with queen night

Lo appeared hand from water

Grabs by tassel silken bridle

Emerged young face then head

Into braid wasentwined of-the-sea grass

That last line is incredible, and though I do not do it justice in my story, that image has stuck with me ever since I first read it.  Anyway…Every Friday, writers from all around the world write 100 word (or thereabouts) flash fiction based on a photo posted that Wednesday on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

I welcome constructive criticism; without it I cannot grow as a writer.  The weekly photo that inspired this story is below:


About glossarch

The word "glossarch" doesn't exist. At least, not yet. But let's pretend it does for a second. The first part is "gloss," a word that comes to us from Ancient Greek via Latin and English. It means "language." The second part also comes from Ancient Greek and can mean "having power over." So "glossarch" means simply "language controller." So what am I doing making up words? Well, I made up an entire language once. It's called Angosey. So I'm the Glossarch of Angosey. I'm currently a doctorate student in volcano seismology (a branch of geophysics). I enjoy writing fiction and poetry, launching balloons, programming, and hanging out with my lovely wife! Follow me on Twitter! Writing and language creation: @glossarch Balloons and science: @bovineaerospace
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15 Responses to Morskaya Tsarevna #Friday Fictioneers

  1. Dear Danny,

    An intriguing tale. It was nice that you shared the poem that inspired you.



  2. I liked it, especially “wave worn” steps, the evocative empty nail and rusty lantern. I appreciated the neat answer to the question, alluding to not only the Russian story but also the sirens. Why not go further and use ribbon “entwined” in her hair? Don’t forget to use the possessive “my” with the gerund “noticed.”

    • glossarch says:

      Thanks for the grammar tip. I debated “entwined” last night and decided against it, but in light of your comment I figured I’d modify the story to include it after all.

  3. Yes, ‘wave worn’ is a wonderful description of those steps – and I really enjoyed the manner in which the question was answered!

  4. Actually, the Russian version was worthy of Saturday Night Live! I enjoyed your little tale though – of the pink house by the sea…

    • glossarch says:

      Yeah, the Russian story is great. I copied the translation from my notes, so that’s why it’s so choppy. The professor translated it about as literally as one can.

  5. Linda Vernon says:

    I like the way you told it! Well done.

  6. rgayer55 says:

    Wow, that mermaid was forward and straight to the point. They hadn’t even been introduced and she’s asking him to spend the night with her. I liked this take on the prompt, and thanks for sharing the Russian too. It gives the imagination plenty to chew on.

  7. Subroto says:

    Very nice and thanks for sharing the poem.

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