Much of our planet is made up of vast oceans and seas, they stretch for miles and reach amazing depths. We know about the rich and varied marine life that swims through the water. We’ve seen colorful fish dance beneath the waves and watched eels slide their way through impossibly small crevices in the jagged rocks. Dolphins play together, huge whales breach the surface, sharks patrol their areas – keeping an eye out for a tasty morsel or two to devour. The sea is alive with a whole host of creatures, and many of us have been lucky enough to witness some of them up close and personal.
Whilst we know much about the marine-life that resides in the deep blue sea there are some creatures that are more mysterious. Creatures that may or may not even exist – one such mythical being is the mermaid. Half-human and half-fish (instead of legs and feet you can expect to find a fish like a tail), merfolk are the subject of many a fishermen’s tales. Stories of merfolk started many years ago and they are mentioned in Greek mythology. We hear about Triton (the god of the sea) and his messengers (who happen to be mermen). There are newer religions that also talk of mermaids, including Hinduism and Candomble (which celebrates a mermaid goddess).
Today, if ask adults and children about mermaids, they are likely to start talking about the popular Disney film “The Little Mermaid.” – a huge Disney hit. We followed the story of Ariel, a feisty young mermaid who decided that life under the sea was just not her cup of tea (or seawater as the case may be). We sang along as she informed us that she wanted “to walk, to run, to play all day in the sun,” and enjoyed meeting her friends, Sebastien the crab (a sensible sort who also acts as advisor to Ariel’s father – King Triton) and Flounder the fish (an adorable and loyal pal). We follow the trio as they make an ill-advised visit to the surface and look on as Prince Eric enjoys his birthday celebrations.
However, a storm whips up and Eric ends up out cold in the sea, it’s up to Ariel to save him, and we all know that this is the start of a true romance.
However, in true Disney style, the course of true love does not run smoothly and we see Ariel’s strict father try to intervene. Ariel also has to deal with the wicked ways of Ursula the Sea Witch – who offers to help, “Don’t listen to her,” we all scream – but it’s too late! This is an epic Disney movie that you can watch time and time again. The songs are catchy, the characters are amazing and there are laughs aplenty.
The movie itself was based upon a fairy tale written by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen back in 1837. You can own your very own version of the little mermaid – the Miss Mindy Ariel vinyl figurine from the Miss Mindy collectables range. This wonderful range of figurines is packed-full of your favorite Disney characters, take a look for yourself.
Despite our fondness of Ariel, the little mermaid featured in the Disney movie, not everyone shared the same attitude toward merfolk in the past. Folklore suggests that sailors believed mermaids were a symbol of bad luck and even death. It was believed that the sirens of the sea would lure mesmerized sailors away from their plotted course and legend would have us believe that many ships were ploughed onto rocks and sunk due to the mischievous ways of the mermaids.
Merman doesn’t have the best reputation either! They too were blamed for causing mayhem at sea, for brewing up huge storms, causing ships to sink to the depths of the ocean and for taking the life of many a sailor. There’s a Scottish legend that tells us of a terrifying posse of merman known as the Blue Men of Minch They apparently live just off the coast of Scotland and are not dissimilar to regular males. However, if you get closer you will see that their skin has a strange blue hue. Stories of old tell us that the Blue Men of Minch enjoy capturing a ship and then offering the captain the chance to save it – all they need to do is to beat the Blue Men in a rhyming contest. It’s no wonder merfolk of old had a bad reputation!