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Fairytale Friday: Things To Know About Mermaids

January 4th, 2013

Mermaid Lamnidae by David Gallet

Beautiful and seductive water faeries, singing songs no man can resist… Here’s Things to Know About Mermaids:

~ Mermaids appear in fairy tales and myths all over the world. The first known mermaid story is from Assyria, ca. 1000 BC and tells the tale of a beautiful Queen Mother who fell in love with a mortal shepherd which she unintentionally killed, ashamed of her deed she jumped into the river and became a creature half-human, half-fish.

~ In the 15th century the Chinese told a story about a mermaid who wept pearls for tears.

~ The Hindus have a story about Suvannamaccha, a golden mermaid princess who falls in love with the Monkey God Hanuman.

 ~ The earliest picture of a mermaid on the British Isles is found in The Norman Chapel in Durham Castle, built around 1078 by Saxon stonemasons.

~ In 1493 Christopher Colombus saw three mermaids off the coast of Hispanola. He reported they were not as pretty as the stories would have it.

~The pirate Blackbeard (1680 – 1718) and his crew regularly saw merfolk on their journeys and would avoid certain “enchanted” waters.

~ Mermaids are often called sirens, though the original Greek sirens from Homer’s Odyssey were not maidens from the sea, but birds with women’s heads living on an island. Here they sang hypnotic songs that caused ships to wreck on their shores.

~ The hero Odysseus survived the seductive bird attack by stopping his crew’s ears with wax and letting himself be tied to the mast:

Ulysses and The Sirens by John William Waterhouse.

~ These days “Siren” is a gold coated Kate Moss at British Museum:

Siren by Marc Quinn

~ Mermaids of old were generally scary (though beautiful) creatures that lured sailors to their deaths. Their affairs with humans never had a happy ending. Why exactly they did this luring is not known, but they became quite rich from sunken treasures.

~ In February 2012 work on a water reservoir in Zimbabwe had to shut down because the workers were being harassed by mermaids. Statement made by the country’s Water Resources Minister.

~ Here are more real mermaid sightings.

~ The mermaid with the twin-tail, known to most as the Starbucks logo, is actually an old alchemical symbol representing the joining of the elements earth and water (body and soul) – coffee in a nutshell!

~ Dead mermaids have been a popular curiosity in various exhibitions through the centuries. Most famous is the Fiji mermaid, made from a juvenile monkey and parts of a fish.

~ Despite having no apparent genitalias compatible with humans’, the mermaid has a reputation of sluttiness, probably due to her (female) seductive ways. In Tudor times she was used as a symbol of harlots and infidels. Here’s a drawing of Mary, Queen of Scots from 1567, pictured as a mermaid due to her scandalous marriage to Lord Bothwell:

…we’re not quite sure what the goat has to do with anything, but it could of course be her murdered second husband (with the swords and all).

~ Melusine was a popular fresh water mermaid, who frequently turned up in European literature, music and art in the 14th and 15th century.

~ Here’s something to ponder: Does mermaids lay eggs?

~ La Sirene is a popular Voodoo goddess on Haiti and in New Orleans. Her origins can be found in the African Sea Goddess Yemaya and in French myths and fairytales. La Sirene is pictured as a pale skinned mermaid, married to the Sea God: Agwe. She is very rich and can be petitioned in matters of love, money, beauty and magic. She is also a patron of the arts – especially music. She is known to abduct swimmers who catches her fancy, and keep them with her for seven human years, when they reappear their often much paler than before, due to lack of sun light under the sea.

Yemaya by Denise Alvarado

~ Another African mermaid is the water spirit Mami Wata. She is a shape-shifting trickster and master seducer, whose favors always carries a price. She is often associated with water snakes.

~ Here’s a mermaid from the land of tentacle porn:

Mermaid with Octopus by Hiroshi Hirakawa

…Must be love! <3

This article explores secret Mary Magdalene codes in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

~ And this is a book is exploring the possibility that we all were mermaids once. Animal Planet even made a faux documentary on the topic.

~ A Delicate Ladylike Blog for Mermaids and the Humans That Love Them, featuring (among other things) several articles about artists performing as mermaids.

~ A list of places to buy your new mermaid tail.

~ Lastly: A classic mermaid sans tail, doing what the mermaid does best:

 Fisherman and The Siren by Knut Ekwall

 

Sources/links:

The Mermaid by Heinz Insu Fenkl
Mermaids on Wikipedia

 

Camilla Bruce 2013

One Response to “Fairytale Friday: Things To Know About Mermaids”

  1. Clare says:

    mermaids are real

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