"Down there, in the dark water, he saw her - the otherworldly nymph whose complexion, like dew drenched pearls, reflected the new moon light in the darkness of night. She looked just like in Levithan's horrifying, yet beautiful nightmares that haunted him when they sailed across these waters. Her face was as fair and resplendent as Aphrodite's, as if she were a statue brought to life and now found refuge in the sea. A wave of horror washed over Levithan when he met her eyes, the same eyes of amethysts that looked up at him, she had the same luscious lips and snow-white hair, but what Levithan felt was not enticement. It was fear."
- This is an excerpt from the chapter I'm currently writing. The myths and legends of mermaids have always allured me, so there was no doubt about adding them to my own story. Mythology always was my favourite subject and that's why my project is full of hidden elements of it.
There are many different ways to depict mermaids.
In some stories they are beautiful and innocent, in others they are foul creatures with no sense of compassion. But I guess the one feature they all have in common is the allurement - the bewitching attraction of the unknown that makes them so fearsome, yet loveable.
They're not much different out of my point of view or how I think of them. In my story they are beautiful, captivating and very dangerous, but they aren't evil. They are not malicious. They just don't understand that these fascinating creatures from above the surface can not survive underwater. Humans fascinate them just as much as we are fascinated by them. Therefore it's not just to speak of them as malevolent creatures. Curiousity is not a sin, even if it can be baneful for the naive.
Hans Christian Andersen had a very beautiful interpretation of mermaids. I want to quote what I think is the most beautiful part in his fairy tale, "The little Mermaid";
“If human beings are not drowned, asked the little mermaid, can they live forever? Do they never die as we do here in the sea? Yes, replied the old lady, they must also die, and their term of life is even shorter than ours. We sometimes live to three hundred years, but when we cease to exist here we only become the foam on the surface of the water, and we have not even a grave down here of those we love. We have not immortal souls, we shall never live again; but, like the green sea-weed, when once it has been cut off, we can never flourish more. Human beings, on the contrary, have a soul which lives forever, lives after the body has been turned to dust. It rises up through the clear, pure air beyond the glittering stars. As we rise out of the water, and behold all the land of the earth, so do they rise to unknown and glorious regions which we shall never see."
"The little Mermaid" was actually written as a love letter to a man, Edvard Collin. In this letter Andersen compared his love for Collin to the love between a mermaid and a human - something impossible that can not proceed.
This says a lot about the relation between mermaids and humans. The impossibilites. Maybe that's why we feel so allured to each other - the forbidden fruit, the utopian overall, has always been very tempting to pursue.