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A mermaid is a mythical aquatic creature described as having the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a fish. Mermaid folklore is found in many cultures. Mermaids are known to live underwater. From time to time, they come out to the surface and sit on the rocks.
See the fact file below for more information on the mermaid or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Mermaid worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The word mermaid comes from a combination of the Old English word “mere” which means “sea” and “maid” which means “girl.”
- In Greek mythology, sirens started out as half-woman half-bird, but later on it became half-woman half-fish.
- The earliest depictions of a half-fish siren had been found in Christian bestiaries.
- However, the Babylonian god Oannes came before Atargatis.
- Oannes had a body of a man and a body of a fish.
- Oannes is able to hide his human form beneath his fish form.
- Oannes was able to live both on land and in the sea.
- A theory on the origins of mermaids state that they have been derived from sightings of the manatee and the dugong.
- A manatee is an aquatic creature living in the tropical Atlantic.
- A dugong is a manatee with a forked tail.
- The first time mermaid stories were documented was in Assyria in 1000 BCE.
- The first legend tells about the goddess Atargatis who fell in love a shepherd but killed him accidentally.
- Atargatis became depressed and ended up jumping into a lake.
- Instead of turning into a fish, she turned into a mermaid because her beauty was not something to be hidden.
- Another legend was that the sister of Alexander the Great turned into a mermaid when she died.
- The sister would stop a ship and ask how her brother is doing, and if the answer was unacceptable, she would raise a storm in anger.
MERMAIDS IN VARIOUS CULTURES
- In Arabia, tales entitled “Sea People” are included in the book One Thousand and One Nights.
- The sea girls described in Arabian stories are unlike other mythologies.
- Sea girls are like humans but live underwater.
- In British folklore, mermaids were perceived as omens of misfortune and death.
- A sighting of a mermaid implies bad weather is imminent or a sailing ship is doomed to capsize.
- Mermaids were also described as giants in British folklore.
- In Western European folklore, a mermaid-like creature named Melusine had two fish tails.
- In 1566, Paracelsus, an alchemist, wrote Liber de Nymphis (Book of Nymphs) which introduced the concept that aquatic creatures could be immortal if they get married with a human.
- Paracelsus is the foundation for De la Motte Fouqué’s novella Undine, and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.
- The Little Mermaid is arguably the most famous literary work about mermaids.
- A statue of the Little Mermaid was built in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1913.
- The statue has now been replicated in 13 other locations.
- In Japanese culture, the mermaid equivalent is called ningyo which translates as “human-fish.”
- A famous ningyo legend is about a person named Yaobikuni who achieved long life after eating the flesh of a mermaid.
- In the Pacific Islands, legends emerged about mermaids and mermen being the ancestors of humans.
- Their fish tails dropped off somewhere down the line and gained the ability to walk on land.
- Vatea, the god, was first depicted as half-man half-fish.
- The widely known physical characteristics of mermaids are the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.
- The social characteristics differ from one culture to another.
- Mermaids are commonly found in the open ocean but they also swim to freshwater lakes and rivers.
- In British legends, mermaids are known as unlucky or mean characters.
- In other cultures, mermaids are described as pleasant and helpful.
- Mermaids are believed to teach humans how to cure diseases.
- Mermaids and mermen are collectively known as merfolk.
- Mermen are known to look more hideous than mermaids.
- Mermen are portrayed as not interested in humans.
- Superpowers, like telepathy, clairvoyance, and hypnosis, are often attributed to mermaids.
- Mermaids are often portrayed with a mirror and a comb, implying that they are very vain creatures.
- A rare disorder called sirenomelia or mermaid syndrome is characterized by a child being born with legs joined together.
- Aquamarine, the gemstone, is believed to have come from a mermaid’s tears.
- What is now known as the gemstone of the sea was once believed to have the power to protect sailors from being lured by mermaids and falling into the water.
- The center image of Starbucks logo is based on Melusine, a two-tailed mermaid, but the image modified.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the mermaid across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Mermaid worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about a mermaid which is a mythical aquatic creature described as having the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a fish. Mermaid folklore is found in many cultures. Mermaids are known to live underwater. From time to time, they come out to the surface and sit on the rocks.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Mermaid Facts
- Mermaid or Misleading
- Distinct Characteristics
- Mermaid Spotting
- Mermaids Across Cultures
- Mermaid Crossword Puzzle
- Underwater Search
- Supernatural Powers
- The Little Mermaid Comics
- My Own Mermaid Myth
- Message In A Bottle
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Link will appear as Mermaid Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 10, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.