Yes. It’s a word, and a creature you should treat with respect.
That’s because a Ceasg is one of the Fin Folk. Humans have only encountered the female form, or perhaps they only live to tell the tale when the form they happen to meet is female. The cock is much more aggressive, especially during the spawning season in late autumn.
If you’re puzzled by the word, you can learn how to pronounce it properly here:
The Ceasg most often described looks more or less like this, although I suspect a bit of mammary augmentation, either on the part of the Fae or the male imagination.
She is not, properly speaking, a mermaid. It is more accurate to define the Ceasg as a supernatural hybrid, half woman and half grilse. For those who speak no Gaelic, grilse is another word for ‘salmon.’ She is also known as a maighdean na tuinne or “maid of the wave” and more rarely as a maighdean mhara or “maid of the sea.”
This is a fair depiction of the cock, who is likely to advertise the augmentation of a different body part during spawning season. And no, I do not mean the kype that reshapes his jawlines.
The Ceasg is an anadromous creature, like salmon. That means they are hatched out in fresh water, make their way to the sea, and then return to fresh water as adults to breed and bear their young. Thus one is apt to encounter them in rivers and lakes that connect to saltwater, as well as in the oceans.
This young male Ceasg has considerably more charm than his Da!
The traditional tales told of the Ceasg say that if a human captures one, she can be induced to grant him or her three wishes. However, doing so requires gaining control of her soul as well as her body, and this is difficult because her soul might be concealed in an object or even a feature of the landscape. Worse, “control” involves the destruction of her soul, a deed likely to evoke a vengeful mood in any Fae who learn of it.
The Ceasg among the Fallen, alas, have been mutated by the experience.
This one, landing in the Indian Ocean, has lost its salmonish aspects and instead taken on the traits of lion fish.
The Ceasg stranded along the west coast of North America have been less affected, but have begun adopting finnish traits more akin to those of Chinook and sockeye than the Atlantic salmon.
Many have attempted to maintain the lifestyles of old, or those they enjoyed in Faerie. They do not, however, like human gold miners who poison their spawning beds or use pumps and sluice boxes to roil the silt and sediment in any clean stream.
These gold miners in Oregon should do their best to avoid angry Ceasg!
Likewise the lumbermen who clear-cut this patch of forest and ruined its waterways.
On the other hand, the Ceasg have been helpful in the efforts being made to restore the Klamath River and others to their wild state by removing decrepit dams. Strangely enough, considering their own status as “aliens” in this world, they have also taken part in ongoing efforts to control or eradicate other invasive species affecting their new habitat.
This Chinese mitten crab is one such target of Ceasg ire. Why it wears gloves, I do not understand. Perhaps they too have been watching far too much TV and think it fashionable!
If you should meet a Ceasg, take my advice. Be polite. Keep your hands to yourself. Do not try to catch one. Do NOT confront a cock!