Mermaid Legends of Asia

Do mermaids really exist? Or did many different cultures develop similar stories of these half-human creatures of the sea? One of the legends of mermaids comes from Japan. The word Ningyo means "human fish" and is often translated as mermaid. In ancient history this creature was described as having the face of a monkey and the body of a fish. The voice was described as like a skylark or a flute. It was supposed to be bad luck to catch a ningyo as it would cause storms and misfortunes ironically however, anyone who ate the flesh of the fish would have eternal youth.

In Indonesia there is a legend of Nayai Roro Kidul, the Queen of the Southern Sea. This goddess had the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish. She could take the soul of anyone she wished for. She is said to take the lives of fishermen and those who bathed on the beach and she preferred handsome young men. Who could blame her?


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