There was once a young fisherman who lived alone on the shores of a rocky sea. The village was about an hour walk from where his old shack stood. He had lived there alone for two cold summers already since his mother and father died from a terrible cough that slowly withered them away.
He was young, almost like a boy. He had brown eyes and a wind burnt skin. His hair was the color of the flames of the sun. He a small scar on the left corner of his eye which he had gotten from when he was a young boy on a fishing trip with his father.
He was alone and lonely. He woke up early everyday to catch a bit of fish to sell in the village. He used the little money that he would get from the fish to buy potatoes, some greens and sometimes, when he is lucky, he could buy tea. He never really liked alcohol or tobacco. He just wanted to eat a little bit and if he was not too tired, he would walk around the village.
On most days, you will catch him sitting on the same bench in the town square. This bench was right across a bakery. They made delicious bread. And he would sit there smelling the bread. He could smell the meat pies. He had one time had a taste of one. But that was when his father was still alive. He could never really afford to eat meat pies any more.
He would often go home at dusk. His sandals were so worn off that he could feel the cobble stones with the soles of his feet. Most of the time, he’d get home so exhausted that he’d immediately fall asleep.
One night, he dreamt. He dreamt of a voice so sweet. He saw himself sitting down on his wooden bed. He saw the lamp lit and he picked up and walked towards the outside of his shack. The singing grew more intense. The song was soft and beautiful, much like the lapping of the waves on the stone shore. He could see a light coming from the big rock on the beach. He followed the voice.
And there he saw a figure of a woman. She had long hair. She was half naked. He could not really see her but could hear her singing. He slowly crept towards her, enchanted by her voice. But he suddenly stepped on a twig and it cracked. Immediately the woman jumped into the water, revealing a tail on the lower part of her body. And then he suddenly woke up. It was already mid-day.
He still had some boiled potatoes from the day before so he ate that. He tried going to the sea for a bit to catch some crabs from the shore. He was able to get a big crab. He was so happy.
And so he brought the crab to the bakery in the village. He pump baker woman took it and boiled it. She gave him a meat pie and some of the crab soup. He felt full and happy. But his thoughts kept coming back to the woman he saw on the beach in his dream.
That night, he fell asleep again and dreamt the same dream. But this time he was careful. He approached her. He got very near to her. But as he was about to touch her hair she jumped into the water. He shouted after her to wait. And so she surfaced back. She was half naked. Her upper body glistened wet with water. But her face, was not of a real maiden. It was hideous to see.
She had gills where the nose should have been. She had a beautiful mouth but when she opened it, she had long sharp silver like teeth. Her eyes were pools of blue with no white in them. They shifted color much like the sea does.
And then she spoke.
“Why do you seek me young man?” she said.
“Because of your beautiful voice.” He replied.
“But now you see my face.” she answered.
She dipped her self into the water and she showed him a human like face. She had smooth porcelain like skin. Her eyes remained blue but now it was of a human’s. Her teeth became white and straight.
“Is this the face you would have wanted to see?” she asked.
And he did not say anything. He went closer to her. He waded into the water. He walked further until his was waist deep into the dark sea.
“I have heard your song, and it made me feel peace.” he said.
“What do you seek?” she asked. “I can grant you a wish that your heart desires.”
And then he went closer to her and kissed her. She was surprised but she did kiss him back. They kissed and kissed. He felt alive again. He felt happy and he felt peace.
“I want you.” he whispered. “Not the beautiful maiden, but the real mermaid that I saw”
Then the kissed deepened and she turned back to her real mermaid face. She pulled him close until they went deeper and deeper into the depths of the water.
He forgot his sorrow. He forgot his pain. He found peace with his beloved mermaid, in the depths of the sea.
The villagers never saw him again. But during stormy nights, they would hear two voices singing. A man’s voice and an enchanted woman’s voice.
Some say the mermaid tricked him, some say he fell in love. But only the man knows. Only he knows how it’s like in the bottom of the ocean, swimming with his mermaid forever.
Mermaids are maiden like sea creatures that have haunted men for centuries. They say that the mermaid resembles a beautiful woman with a tail of a fish. But mermaids are of magic, and with magic they can change their faces. Their true faces are hidden only for their beloved to see.