This mer-fish creature is one of the predecessors of the Mermaid, and a relative of the Siren.
Background on these sly creatures who lured sailors to the deep...... The word is a compound of mere, the Old English word for "sea", and maid, a woman. Much like sirens, mermaids sometimes sing to sailors and enchant them, distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or run their ships aground. Other stories depict them squeezing the life out of drowning men while attempting to rescue them. They are also said to carry humans down to their underwater kingdoms. In Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, it is said that they forget that humans cannot breathe underwater, while others say they drown men out of spite.
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