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ermaid characteristics date back from times of great antiquity and have remained unchanged almost to present day.
Mermaids are like beautiful maidens from the waist upwards, but they have the tail of a fish. They carry a comb and mirror and are often seen combing their long and beautiful hair and singing with irristible sweetness on
some rock beside the sea. The distribution of her legends have captured the imagination of man and often blinded him to her true nature. For the mermaid is the femme fatale of the sea. She allures men to their death
and their appearance coincides with storms and disasters. Mermaids are not only oninous of misfortunes, but actually provoke them. They are avid for human lives,
either drowning men or devouring them.
Mermaids had a great knowledge of herbs as well as prophetic powers. Some where also skilled in medicine.
Some mermaids were courted by human lovers and became unwilling wives,
bequeathing webbed hands and feet to their children. They were often caught and held to ransom for the wishes they could grant or the knowledge they could import. They always owned up to the bargains they made.
ermen were generally wilder and less attractive then Mermaids. They had less interest in mankind. They did not come ashore to court mortal women
and father their children, nor were they friendly. They were rough husbands and were capable of eating their own children if left hungry. They personified the stormy sea and it is they who raised storms and wrecked ships if
a mermaid is wounded.
he seal people have long been regarded as the gentlest of sea spirits and the seal maidens are among the more recent of
the traditions of the Fairy Brides. Occasional families have a hereditary horny growth between their fingers, an inheritance from a seal ancestress.
In Orkney and Shetland the seal people are known as selkies. In the
Highlands and Islands, they are called the roane.
It was said that seals were the souls of the drowned, who were allowed once a month to resume their human shape and dance on the shore at night. Seal folk remove their
sealskins and resume their human shape at certain times and seasons. In the Hebrides on the three moons of the year. In the Faroe Islands on Candlemas Night
when the seals, as humans, danced from sunset until dawn. At this time, fishermen would creep up on them unobserved and carry off a skin and hide it. Startled by the sight of the man,
the maidens would pull on their skins, and plunge into the sea. Only one would be left behind to desparately search for her skin. She would beg for it in vain. Eventually the maiden would be persuaded to marry the fisherman,
though she would always long for the sea. The maiden makes a good and domesticated wife until she finds the hidden seal skin. Then she would hurry down to the sea and return to her first husband, sometimes returning to bestow
medical or prophetic knowledge upon her children.
he Siren is not a mermaid; She is a birdwoman similiar in form only, to a harpy. She has the head and bust of a woman and the body and claws of a bird.
She has a glorious voice and is also a femme fatale of the oceans.
The Siren's song casted a spell on mariners who heard it. It would drive men insane, filling their hearts with a longing to listen, causing them to be
lured to the voices where they would crash their ships on the rocks where the Siren sat and drown in the sea, to be devoured by the Siren.
ea Nymphs are entirely human and feminine. They are divided
into two classes:Nereids and Oceanides
Nereids dwelt in the Inner Sea. The nereid was an attractive race living in the Mediterrean and Aegean Seas. These nymphs had musical voices. They were slim and lovely and graceful as they breasted
the waves on the back of dolphins. They did not entertain sinister ways upon mariners as their kin did. Although they had the power to disturb as well as calm the waves, they were known to be so friendly that the sailors about to set sail
appealed to them for protection. Altars were created in their honour along the coast and offerings were made to them. Yet the nereids could be vengeful if the occasion arose.
The nereid's sphere and domain has extended beyond her native
sea. They reside in the woodland streams and rivers as well.
The oceanides were similiar in disposition to the nereids. Like them, they were recipients of offerings and prayers for safe keeping amid the perils of the sea. Mariners were
reguarded as charges not potential victims.
ixes are water sprites who live in lakes and rivers. The male is called the Nix, the female: Nixe. The nixe shares some of the same the qualities of the mermaid. She
loves to sit in the sun and comb her long hair. Sometimes, but not always, they have the tail of a fish and when they leave the water to take part in Village Festivities, the nixe dresses like the daughters of men and is indistinguishible from them except
that the hem of her skirt or her apron is always damp.
The nixe has a beautiful voice, by means of which she lures youths to herself and into the water. The nix has green teeth, but apart from that, he could pass for an ordinary man, whenever he leaves
his watery home to mingle with villagers. He is strongly drawn to mortal women , whom he will entice away from the merry making and force to live with him beneath the water.
The nix demanded a yearly human victim. He would confine the souls of the drowned beneath pots under the water. Nixes dwelled in wonderful underwater palaces. Sometimes they abducted humans to serve them there. Like the mermaid sightings of nixes usually fortold of
death by drowning.
Guardian of the Sea
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