Friday, August 15, 2008

Mermen

Myths, folklore & symbolism
Mermen: Far rarer than mermaids in English tradition, but the Suffolk chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, about c.1210, tells how some fishermen netted a naked, bearded, hairy-chested "wild man" who looked human "in all his parts" - i.e., he had no tail. He could not speak; he ate most things, but liked raw fish best. He escaped into the sea once, but returned of his own accord; later he escaped again, this time for good. Ralph comments: "Whether he was a mortal man, or a kind of fish bearing a resemblance to humanity, or an evil spirit lurking in the body of a drowned man...it is difficult to decide." (Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore)

What kinds of merman traditions and legends do you know of?

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever been to Suffolk, UK?
    Ralph is simply describing the local Spenserian scryer.

    ReplyDelete