Mermaids And Mermen

It is said that these fabulous beings frequented the sea-coasts of Wales

to the great danger of the inhabitants. The description of the Welsh

mermaid was just as it is all over the world; she is depicted as being

above the waist a most lovely young woman, whilst below she is like a

fish with fins and spreading tail. Both mermen and mermaids were fond,

it is said, of combing their long hair, and the siren-like song of the

latter was thought to be so seductive as to entice men to destruction.

It was believed that beautiful mermaids fell in love with comely young

men and even induced them to enter their abodes in the depth of the sea.

I heard the following tale, I believe in Carnarvonshire, but I have no

notes of it, and write from memory.

A man captured a mermaid, and took her home to his house, but she did

nothing but beg and beg to be allowed to return to the sea, but

notwithstanding her entreaties her captor kept her safe enough in a room,

and fastened the door so that she could not escape. She lingered several

days, pitifully beseeching the man to release her, and then she died.

But ever after that event a curse seemed to rest upon the man, for he

went from bad to worse, and died miserably poor.

It was always considered most unlucky to do anything unkind to these

beings. Fear acted as a powerful incentive, in days of old, to generous

conduct. For it was formerly believed that vengeance ever overtook the


An Isle of Man legend, related by Waldron, in his account of the Isle of

Man, and reproduced by Croker, vol. i., p. 56, states, that some persons

captured a mermaid, and carried her to a house and treated her tenderly,

but she refused meat and drink, neither would she speak, when addressed,

though they knew these creatures could speak. Seeing that she began to

look ill, and fearing some great calamity would befall the island if she

died, they opened the door, after three days, and she glided swiftly to

the sea side. Her keeper followed at a distance and saw her plunge into

the sea, where she was met by a great number of her own species, one of

whom asked her what she had seen among those on land, to which she

answered, Nothing, but that they are so ignorant as to throw away the

very water they boil their eggs in.

Merionethshire Version Of The Fairy Mother And Human Midwife Micah Rood Apples facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail