I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
(Oberon - A Midsummer Night's Dream)
The babe on the rock, with the fins and
scales?...you know the one. She sits on a rock in a harbor, swims across
art, lives forever in marble and has remarkable adventures in fiction.
She's the Mermaid. A quintessential image of woman and the sea. Forget
about the "fish" part. That's representative.
The legend (or perhaps not...) of mermaids is one
of the seduction of the sea. The creatures, the depth, the
sexuality....of the sea. For nearly as long as humans have walked the
earth, we have been sailing, fishing and swimming. Faced with creatures
so vastly different than ourselves has created a fascination with a
human-like fish. The same can be said of horses (centaurs), goats,
eagles and other creatures of the planet. Why not fish.
Merfolk, in many cultures, represented a god or
goddess. Some had more influence than others. Neptune,
Posiden, fish-wives, mermaids, water-willows, water kings, oceanides,
lorelie and so many other creatures of legend are seen in ancient
writing. Merfolk have long fascinated humans.
Is it the desire to swim freely through the deep
ocean? Is it the power to lure? What is it that keeps the legend
alive? ...to a romantic / tragic / fairytale (or is that
"tail") ending, etc. We've taken the legend a long long
way, complete with children's movies and stories.
Don't mistake a Siren for a Mermaid. The two are
very different creatures of the deep.
A siren is -
|- a sea nymph (part woman and
part bird) supposed to lure sailors to destruction on the rocks
where the nymphs lived; "Odysseus ordered his crew to plug
their ears so they would not hear the Siren's fatal song"
- enchantress: a woman who is
considered to be dangerously seductive
- a warning signal that is a
loud wailing sound
- an acoustic device producing
a loud often wailing sound as a signal or warning
- eel-like aquatic North
American salamander with small forelimbs and no hind limbs; have
permanent external gills
A mermaid is -
|- half woman and half fish; lives
in the sea
- A mermaid is a legendary
creature with a female human head and torso (if it's male, it's
called a merman) and the tail of a fish, which inhabits the
water. Some sailors claim to have seen mermaids; what they
actually saw are probably manatees. A freshwater mermaid-like
creature having two tails is a melusine, or a Nixie.
As you can see, they are vastly different, but
most of the time, writers will intertwine the traits of each.
Often a mermaid will be seen lounging on a rock, singing. Not that
some might not sing well (although most legend says they can't speak at
Call me crazy, but I have this weird images of
their voices being similar to dolphins. The Fran Drescher of the
About the breast issue - most legend sees them
as part woman. Yes, yes, families were a groovy part of general
type merlegend, but mostly it was the chicks. Hot babes in scales
and coconut bosom cups.
Wait, that's the Rated G version.
Cleaned up for Family viewing. Mermaids in coconut bra cups.
Good thing scales aren't transparent...or are they...
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