Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mermaids - Siren's of the Sea

The Mermaid - Painting
by John W. Waterhouse, 1900
I have lived near the ocean all of my life and spent many summer days by the sea. Mermaids have always fascinated me and I will be sharing a Massachusetts mermaid tale at the Fairy Tale Story Slam MassMouth this month. I have been doing some additional research on various stories about these fascinating sirens of the sea. I hope to add a few more to my storytelling repertoire and thought I would share some with you.

The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria in 1000 BCE. They are referenced throughout world mythology, variously known as sirens, water fairies, water nymphs and selkies.

The sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes portrayed in later folklore as mermaid-like; in fact, some languages use the same word for both bird and fish creatures, such as the Maltese word 'sirena'. Other related types of mythical or legendary creatures are water fairies (e.g., various water nymphs) and selkies, animals that can transform themselves from seals to humans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaid

The Mermaid's Song
by Anne Hunter

Now the dancing sunbeams play
On the green and glassy sea,
Come, and I will lead the way
Where the pearly treasures be.

Come with me, and we will go
Where the rocks of coral grow.
Follow, follow, follow me.

Come, behold what treasures lie
Far below the rolling waves,
Riches, hid from human eye,
Dimly shine in ocean's caves.
Ebbing tides bear no delay,
Stormy winds are far away.

Come with me, and we will go
Where the rocks of coral grow.
Follow, follow, follow me.

The Mermaid and the Boy

by Andrew Lang found in The Brown Fairy Book

Long, long ago, there lived a king who ruled over a country by the sea. When he had been married about a year, some of his subjects, inhabiting a distant group of islands, revolted against his laws, and it became needful for him to leave his wife and go in person to settle their disputes. The queen feared that some ill would come of it, and implored him to stay at home, but he told her that nobody could do his work for him, and the next morning the sails were spread, and the king started on his voyage.

The vessel had not gone very far when she ran upon a rock, and stuck so fast in a cleft that the strength of the whole crew could not get her off again. To make matters worse, the wind was rising too, and it was quite plain that in a few hours the ship would be dashed to pieces and everybody would be drowned, when suddenly the form of a mermaid was seen dancing on the waves which threatened every moment to overwhelm them.

'There is only one way to free yourselves,' she said to the king, bobbing up and down in the water as she spoke, 'and that is to give me your solemn word that you will deliver to me the first child that is born to you.'

The king hesitated at this proposal. He hoped that some day he might have children in his home, and the thought that he must yield up the heir to his crown was very bitter to him; but just then a huge wave broke with great force on the ship's side, and his men fell on their knees and entreated him to save them.

So he promised, and this time a wave lifted the vessel clean off the rocks, and she was in the open sea once more...Continue the story by clicking the link.

The Golden Mermaid
by Andrew Lang from the Green Fairy Book

A powerful king had, among many other treasures, a wonderful tree in his garden, which bore every year beautiful golden apples. But the King was never able to enjoy his treasure, for he might watch and guard them as he liked, as soon as they began to get ripe they were always stolen. At last, in despair, he sent for his three sons, and said to the two eldest, 'Get yourselves ready for a journey. Take gold and silver with you, and a large retinue of servants, as beseems two noble princes, and go through the world till you find out who it is that steals my golden apples, and, if possible, bring the thief to me that I may punish him as he deserves.' His sons were delighted at this proposal, for they had long wished to see something of the world, so they got ready for their journey with all haste, bade their father farewell, and left the town.

The youngest Prince was much disappointed that he too was not sent out on his travels; but his father wouldn't hear of his going, for he had always been looked upon as the stupid one of the family, and the King was afraid of something happening to him. But the Prince begged and implored so long, that at last his father consented to let him go, and furnished him with gold and silver as he had done his brothers. But he gave him the most wretched horse in his stable, because the foolish youth hadn't asked for a better. So he too set out on his journey to secure the thief, amid the jeers and laughter of the whole court and town...For the rest of the story click here.

The Fisherman and His Soul
by Oscar Wilde

Every evening the young Fisherman went out upon the sea, and threw his nets into the water. When the wind blew from the land he caught nothing, or but little at best, for it was a bitter and black-winged wind, and rough waves rose up to meet it. But when the wind blew to the shore, the fish came in from the deep, and swam into the meshes of his nets, and he took them to the market-place and sold them.

Every evening he went out upon the sea, and one evening the net was so heavy that hardly could he draw it into the boat. And he laughed, and said to himself 'Surely I have caught all the fish that swim, or snared some dull monster that will be a marvel to men, or some thing of horror that the great Queen will desire,' and putting forth all his strength, he tugged at the coarse ropes till, like lines of blue enamel round a vase of bronze, the long veins rose up on his arms. He tugged at the thin ropes, and nearer and nearer came the circle of flat corks, and the net rose at last to the top of the water.

But no fish at all was in it, nor any monster or thing of horror, but only a little Mermaid lying fast asleep...For the rest of the story click here.

Mermaids on the Web
Listen to their call; this site offers you more than 1,720 resources about mermaids, selkies and sirens.
http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/mermaids/index.html

Fun for the children.
Making Friends - Under the Sea Crafts
http://www.makingfriends.com/summer/sea_life_crafts.htm


Karen Chace 2010 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at storybug@aol.com. Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.

5 comments:

Sue said...

thanks, Karen. always good stuff!!

Karen Chace said...

Thanks Sue, always good to read your comments as well. You know I value your opinion!

Cathryn said...

Wonderful blog, Karen. I've been off storytell for over a year, traveling and shifting direction. So thanks for the note on the list re the mermaid stories. Gave me a chance to nose around on your excellent site.

Cathryn

Karen Chace said...

Hi Cathryn,

So good to hear your cyber voice. You have been missed! I read a post you sent the other day and was so pleased. Thanks for stopping by my blog; I hope you find something useful.

I also author a newsletter now, since
2008. You can subscribe (it's bi-monthly and free) at http://storybugnewsletter.blogspot.com/ All the back issues are there as well. So glad you are back! Fill me in on your "change of direction please when you have a moment.

導暑紀時 said...

朝著既定的目標走,就不會迷失。 ..................................................