Making the Green One Red

I was sitting on a large piece of driftwood when the kelpie came out of the sea. I call it a kelpie though it was not Scottish; I call it a kelpie, and there was nothing in the least horsey about it. I call it a kelpie because that was what it most resembled as it waited, there in the brackish water, watching me: a wide brown net of kelp. I have often seen such, floating upon the sea, or drying slimily upon the pebbly beaches, or being swung by enthusiastic young people, or popping underfoot.

I was quite alone on the beach. It was in a chilly March forenoon, and the sky was overcast. It was raining, away over the islands. Two people were scuba diving about a quarter of a mile away from me, and about two hundred yards out into the water, but even in the best of weather one does not have a quarter mile of visibility underwater. When it came out onto the beach it was as not as though something were pushing the kelp up from underneath; it was not the sea covering something; it was the sea, shaped and moving as a man does. It is a hard thing to describe. Think of a horse (and here you see I am back to that Scottish metaphor after all!). Now, think of two people in a horse costume. In just such a way, the kelpie was the thing itself and not a simulacrum; reality, and not illusion.