Mermaid - female     Merman - male


    The mermaid was (and sometimes still is) popularly believed to be a woman with the tall of a fish. When she, or the merman, left the water mortals were warned of their presence by the damp edges of their apron or coat.
Mermaids were able to lure into the water sailors or young men dwelling near the sea by their siren song, quite often drowning them. There are also sea shanties and local folk tales that tell of such encounters resulting in happy marriages where the man adapted to living under the waves.
Although she is ubiquitous throughout European folklore, such as the Lorelei of the Rhine who appear in Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other water sprites, sirens appear in some other ancient mythologies as gods or goddesses with human features.
The Babylonians believed that Oannes, the half fish, half human, deity brought civilisation to the world in the distant past.

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