Friday, July 2, 2010

The History of The Mermaid

What is it about Mermaids that are so mesmerizing? They entrance you with there beauty and grace, and their unbelievable underwater life. A lot of little girls dream of being a mermaid, and a lot of sailors or researchers swear they've seen them. Some people are even obsessed with proving they are real. How did this all start?

Celtic Myth
- In a Celtic Myth called The Mermaid Wife mermaids wear seal skin robes to disguise themselves. A young man stumbles upon mer people dancing then darting off in seal skin robes. One robe is left behind and the young man snatches it up for himself. He later finds a beautiful maiden searching for her robe. The man convinces her that she is better off, and the mer people will just forget about her eventually. Understanding she has no other options she agrees to marry the man. They live together for several years, but she can be found many times conversing with a large seal in a foreign language. The man and mermaid have several children, and the mermaid loves them. One day while playing with the children one child knocks over some corn husks to find a hidden seal skin. He is happy with this discovery and runs to show his mother. She is elated but also torn because she doesn't want to leave her children. She debates for a while, but kisses her children telling them how much she loves them. Then she heads to the shore to return home. The husband returns home and the children explain what happened. He arrives in time to see his wife escaping with the large seal she talked to so many times. She turns around to tell her husband "Farewell and may all good fortune attend you, I loved you why I was with you, but I always loved my first husband better" Then the two seal skins swim away in the sunset.

Mulusina-A French Folktale
-The fairy Mulusina is forced to become a mermaid one day a week due to a curse. During this mermaid day she can not be seen by her husband. If she is seen by him they will have to be parted forever. Mulusina sets out to find a trusting husband. She finds one but can not explain to him why she must go away and not be seen. They live together for a while, but he can not shake his jealousy and curiosity. He must find out what she does on her special day. He spies on her to discover what she is up to, and of course Mulusina finds out about it, and now she must never see him again. There is a similar Finnish Folktale where a mermaid takes a mortal lover, and she must lock herself away in a room to not be seen. He can't help himself and spies on her and she sends him back home to Finland. Years have passed and he is an old man on land. He is found floating on the water probably trying to get back to her. The tales were more about trust than anything. No mermaid could find a man to simply trust her, and let her have secret day.

Mermaid Sightings
-The Medieval Mermaid-People cared for mermaids but it was during the time of Christians and Paganism, so the church decided to paint an evil picture of mermaids. They created them into lustful vengeful creatures.
-January 4, 1493 Christopher Columbus recalls seeing three mermaids splashing in the water. He claims they are not as beautiful as people paint them to be, but they do look like humans in the face.
-June 15, 1608 Henry Hudson man who discovered the Hudson River claims to have seen a mermaid near Russia. he recorded the latitude and longitude lines and wrote to everyone he knew. He called his crew over, and then later said it had the tail of a porpoise, and scales like a mackerel. It had long flowing black hair, pale skin, and a women's breasts.
-In 2004 after the Christmas Tsunami wile reports surface about photos of a mermaid in India, but it turns out the pictures had been circulating for years.


Comus: A Masque (Mermaid Poem)
By: John Milton
Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph that livst unseen
Within thy airy shell
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet imbroider'd vale
Where the love-lorn Nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad Song mourneth well.
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle Pair
That likest thy Narcissus are?
O if thou have
Hid them in som flowry Cave,
Tell me but where
Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphear,
So maist thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all Heavns Harmonies

Sabrina fair
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of Lillies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair,
Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,
Listen and save.
Listen and appear to us
In name of great Oceanus,
By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And Tethys grave majestick pace,
By hoary Nereus wrincled look,
And the Carpathian wisards hook,
By scaly Tritons winding shell,
And old sooth-saying Glaucus spell,
By Leucothea's lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands,
By Thetis tinsel-slipper'd feet,
And the Songs of Sirens sweet,
By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
And fair Ligea's golden comb,
Wherwith she sits on diamond rocks
Sleeking her soft alluring locks,
By all the Nymphs that nightly dance
Upon thy streams with wily glance,
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosie head
From thy coral-pav'n bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen and save.
Sabrina rises, attended by water-Nymphes, and sings.
By the rushy-fringed bank,
Where grows the Willow and the Osier dank,
My sliding Chariot stayes,
Thick set with Agat, and the azurn sheen
Of Turkis blew, and Emrauld green
That in the channell strayes,
Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet
O're the Cowslips Velvet head,
That bends not as I tread,
Gentle swain at thy request
I am here


-Had technical difficulties yesterday so its a day late

1 comment:

Steph said...

i like to look at subjects in this way too. I think it adds to our understanding of our reads -- or maybe I spent too long in college. I came by on the PJV Follow, and am following you -- stop by!Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
steph@fangswandsandfairydust.com