U is for Undines

Undine by John William Waterhouse, 1872.

Undine by John William Waterhouse, 1872. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, you read that right.  It is NOT supposed to say undies.  Although underwear was my first choice until someone suggested umbrella, and then this word came up and the rest is history.  Or soon to be.

Undines (from Latin Unda – a wave) are fairy-like water spirits.  In European folklore they are said to be able to gain a soul by marrying a man and bearing his child.  (Surely there must be an easier way.)  After that, if the husband is unfaithful an Undine can curse him so that if he ever falls asleep again he will cease to breathe and thus die.  This helps to explain why there are so many men out there who are afraid of marriage, and also terrified of turning the television off and coming to bed.

Next time I’m hanging around a forest pool or a waterfall I’ll keep my eyes open for one of them.  Although I’ll probably not mention that to whoever I’m with.  Undines are also supposed to have beautiful voices sometimes heard over the sound of the water.  So look and listen and carry your Iphone with you so you can immediately upload the video image to facebook.  You will probably get a lot of likes.

Français : Ondines

Français : Ondines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Henry Van Dyke
‘T was far away and long ago,
When I was but a dreaming boy,
This fairy tale of love and woe
Entranced my heart with tearful joy;
And while with white Undine I wept,
Your spirit, — ah, how strange it seems, —
Was cradled in some star, and slept,
Unconscious of her coming dreams.

There’s a movie called Ondine, but it’s not on Netflix yet so I haven’t seen it, but the review I read says she turns out to be an imposter and not a real Undine at all.  The alternate spelling should have been our first clue.  I don’t know why, but the name just makes me want to write a country song about it.  Something like….

My sweet Undine,

Why do you treat me so mean? 

Come on, get out of the pool,

And marry this love crazed fool! 

Huh.  I probably should copyright that.

Well there you go.  Who knew there was such a wealth of information to be googled and waded through on Wikkipedia about Undines.  I’ve only skimmed the surface.  I hope I have inspired you to research this fascinating topic further and maybe set my poetry to music.  At the very least I trust you’ve found it all to be slightly more interesting than underwear.