In Greek Mythology, the Old Man of the Sea is the term used for several water-gods, purported to have existed since the beginning of time. The water-gods most often referred to in terms of this expression are Nereus, the eldest son of Gaia and her son, Pontus, and Proteus, a prophetic water-god whom was referred to as “Old Man of the Sea” by Homer. Triton, a Greek god of the sea and the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite; Pontus, an ancient, pre-Olympian sea-god and the fatherless son of Gaia; Phorcys or Phorcus, a primedial sea god and the son of Pontus and Gaia, and Glaucus, a Greek prophetic sea-god born mortal and turned immortal as a result of eating a magical herb, are also referred to using this expression.
The Old Man of the Sea is the father of Thetis, a figure from Greek mythology who appears mainly as a sea nymph, a goddess of water or one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient sea god, Nereus.
Sinbad the Sailor
I learned about the Old Man of the Sea as a child when reading the book, The seven voyages of Sinbad the sailor. This book describes the seven voyages undertaken by a fictional mariner called Sinbad throughout the seas east of Africa and the south of Asia. During his voyages, Sinbad encounters magical lands, mythical creatures and sees many supernatural phenomena. The stories of Sinbad are Middle Eastern in origin.
Sinbad encounters the Old Man of the Sea in his fifth voyage when he is shipwrecked on an island inhabited by this evil old man. The Old Man of the Sea climbs onto Sinbad’s shoulders and twists his legs around his neck, riding him like a horse, day and night until Sinbad is ready to fall down dead.
Sinbad manages to make wine and trick the wicked creature into drinking some. He falls asleep and Sinbad kills him. He then manages to escape the island.
You can read my review of Quentin Blakes The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3156589899?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
This story and me
All the stories of Sinbad had a big impact on me as a child. I vividly remember the horror of the flesh-eating Cyclops with its one burning eye and the anxiety of Sinbad’s escaping the cannibals and the giant Roc with a sack full of diamonds.
Somehow, of all these frightening creatures and tales, the story of the Old Man of the Sea was the one that burned itself into my memory. When I read a story last year, about an old grandmother who had enslaved her granddaughter, making her work for her and do all the cooking and housework, the two stories linked together in my mind and the idea for my story, The Last of the Lavender, included in Whispers of the Past, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth, was born.
In this story, June is orphaned and goes to live with her overbearing and selfish grandmother. June is a shy and retiring personality and is completely browbeaten by her grandmother who forces her to do all the housework, achieve high marks at school and eventually, selects her high school subjects and chooses her career for her.
Due to her grandmother’s dominance, June cannot break free of her and gain her independence but is compelled to remain in her miserable servitude until her grandmother eventually dies at the ripe old age of ninety-six years old.
Now that grandmother is dead and has will her house and other worldly possessions to June, can she finally break free and lead the life she wants to? You’ll have to read the story to find out.
Whispers of the Past edited by Kaye Lynne Booth
A paranormal anthology with nine stories from six authors, including the winning story in the 2019 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest, A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known, by Jeff Bowles.
Kaye Lynne Booth, Roberta Eaton Cheadle – 2 stories,
Julie Goodwen, Laurel McHargue – 2 stories,
Stevie Turner, Jeff Bowles.
About the author
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).
All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
Find and follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Books by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Through the Nethergate
Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.
While the Bombs Fell
What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.
Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.
Robbie also writes as Robbie Cheadle
The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery
… a perfect recipe for sharing with children. Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.
You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:
or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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