The Green Man
The Sun and the Moon
Dragons and Serpents
Whales and Dolphins
The Knight's Templar
The native Inuit peoples of the Arctic, who have depended on hunting small numbers of sea mammals for generations, also attribute whales and dolphins with divine creation. Their legends tell of a young girl named Sedna, who refused to every marry a man and rejected all her lovers. She then fell in love with a dog and married him instead. Enraged, all of Sedna's rejected men took the girl aboard a boat and pushed her into the sea. Sedna grasped the edge of the boat in an effort to stop herself from falling into the freezing waters, but the cruel men chopped off all her fingers. Her severed fingers fell into the sea, and turned into the world's first whales, dolphins, seals and walruses. Sedna is now the reigning goddess of the sea, and if she becomes enraged, she will shut away all the sea-beasts so man is unable to hunt.
Whatever their origins, there is something undeniably special and unique about whales and dolphins. Most people find the appeal of these animals hard to put into words. Some say it is the beautiful appearance of whales and dolphins that attracts them - their graceful bodies, effortless movement, almost human eyes and, in many species, a permanent "smile" as cryptic as the expression of the Mona Lisa. For others, it is the apparent intelligence of dolphins that is so appealing; many claim that you need only look into a dolphin's eyes to recognise the spark of intellect.
The intelligence of dolphins is well-documented by science. Studies show that dolphins are able to mimic, understand sign language, solve puzzles and use objects in their environment as tools. It is also believed that dolphins possess a sophisticated language, and countless examples indicate that they can transmit information from one individual to individual. A recent experiment proved that dolphins can even recognise themselves in a mirror - something that very few animals can achieve. This demonstrates that dolphins are aware of their own individuality, thus showing intelligence on a level that may be very near our own.
Throughout history, right up to present day, there have been tales of whales and dolphins befriending humans. In ancient Greece and Rome, many tales were told of boys and dolphins who formed a very close friendship. In one moving account, a dolphin named Simo would routinely take a poor boy on his back across a stretch of water between the boy's home and his school. But tragically, the boy fell ill and died, and soon afterwards Simo was found dead on the beach, apparently having killed himself out of grief. This is just one of many tales of people and dolphins forging a close relationship in the ancient Greco-Roman world, and many Greek and Roman artefacts from coins to vases were decorated with the motif of a boy riding a dolphin.
More recent history also reports friendly dolphins and whales from all around the world, and, like those of Greek and Roman stories, many unfortunately met tragic deaths through the actions of humans whom they trusted so much. In 1814, a large male dolphin named Gabriel befriended adults and children, but was killed by someone who attempted to transport him to London in a farm wagon. In 1979, a young male bottlenose dolphin named Dobbie would interact with people in the waters of Israel, but after several months he was killed by gunshots. During the 1980s, two belugas, or white whales, interacted with people in Long Island, near New York. One, a female named BW who would push people inside inflatables, was found dead from gunshot wounds, while another named Bella disappeared after aquarium owners attempted to capture her.
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