The Mysterious Mermaid

mysterious mermaidA mermaid is a mysterious mythical creature that takes a half human and half aquatic creature form. Most images of mermaids show them as having a human upper body and with fish like tail or fin as its lower half. Different cultures from all over the world tell of similar creatures that make up their legends and folklore.

Popular Origins

The most popular and earliest references to mermaids came from ancient Greek mythology. They were then known as sirens, sea nymphs having actually human bodies but live under the sea. They were said to be the daughters of the sea god Phorcys.

The sirens were known to have such enchanting and sweet voices that humans who hear them at sea became enchanted and usually lured into the rocks where the sirens usually sang. This usually caused ships to run aground. It is for this reason why sailors began to associate mermaids to bad omens at sea.

Characteristics

From their appearance, mermaids are considered as beautiful creatures. In various tales about them, mermaids are usually depicted as a creature with a lovely and beautiful human figure with a fish tail and usually seen combing her hair.

They are supposed to be desirable creatures that can catch a spell on humans. There are also other cultures that depict the mermaid in somewhat less than ideal features. But the fair haired and lovely version seem to prevail in the imagination of most people.

Mermaids in Art and Literature

Various accounts of mermaids have found themselves as subjects for art works as well as literature. One of the most influential of images depicting the mermaid was made by John William Waterhouse sometime between 1895 to 1905. In literature, the most famous mermaid was perhaps the one created by Hans Christian Andersen in his famous fairytale,

"The Little Mermaid" in 1836. The fairy tale became popular that it was later translated into several languages and eventually was immortalized with the famous bronze sculpture found in Copenhagen harbor, the birthplace of Andersen.

Mistaken Identity

There are stories of ancient sailors sighting mermaids which led for the folklore of half human creatures inhabiting the sea. But scientists have considered this as a case of mistaken identity.

There are several creatures such as the dugong and the manatee that may have been sighted by sailors from afar and have mistaken as mermaids. Nevertheless, the mystery and the charm of the mermaids have caught the attention of human imagination that still continue up to this day.

 
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