What did Regency Mermaids Get Up To?

Ww c14 The Hours of Yolande of Flanders

C14 Book of Hours The comb and mirror are symbols of Venus

Joanna here, asking: What did Regency mermaids get up to?

You have doubtless spent a lot of time wondering about this.

They differed significantly from modern mermaids. Disney’s singing amphibians were not a gleam on the horizon. Even the source story of that movie – Hans  Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, (Danish title Den Lille Havfrue) – wasn’t written till 1837 and not translated till 1845.

You ever notice how we don’t know the name of the mermaid in Andersen’s story? She’s like the heroine of Rebecca. This business of Fairy Tale protagonists having only a nickname or profession … Is this Fraught With Significance?

So. What kinda mermaids were floating around n 1800?

–  You could pay your pence and go see an ugly, shriveled-up specimen on exhibition or

Ww fake mermaid

Does not look so much like yer traditional mermaid

spot one displayed as a curiosity in a coffee house or tavern. The tradition of fake mermaids dated to at least the Sixteenth Century.

And, frankly, the mermaids were probably just as convincing as the duckbilled platypus in the next case.

 

They had accounts of sightings from reliable sources.

 

A traditional mermaid

A more ordinarty mermaid

 

Nor yet is the figure generally attributed to the nereids at all a fiction; only in them, the portion of the body that resembles the human figure is still rough all over with scales. For one of these creatures was seen upon the same shores, and as it died, its plaintive murmurs were heard even by the inhabitants at a distance.

The legatus of Gaul, too, wrote word to the late Emperor Augustus that a considerable number of nereids had been found dead upon the sea-shore.

     Pliny the Elder, The Natural History

and

On the previous day [8 Jan 1493], when the Admiral went to the Rio del Oro [on Haiti], he said he quite distinctly saw three mermaids, which rose well out of the sea; but they are not so beautiful as they are said to be, for their faces had some masculine traits. The Admiral says that he had seen some, at other times, on the coast of Guinea, where you find manequeta.
     Dominican Bartolomé de la Casas quoting Christopher Columbus’, Journal of the First Voyage

and

"All day and night cleere sunshine. The wind at east. The latitude at noone 75 degrees 7 minutes. We held westward by our account 13 leagues. In the afternoon, the sea was asswaged, and the wind being at east we set sayle, and stood south and by east, and south southeast as we could. This morning one of our companie looking over boord saw a mermaid, and calling up some of the companie to see her, one more came up and by that time shee was come close to the ships side, looking earnestly on the men. A little after a sea came and overturned her. From the navill upward her backe and breasts were like a womans, as they say that saw her, but her body as big as one of us. Her skin very white, and long haire hanging downe behinde of colour blacke. In her going downe they saw her tayle, which was like the tayle of a porposse, and speckled like a macrell. Their names that saw her were Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayner."
    Henry Hudson, Logbook, Second Voyage,  June 15, 1608

There continued to be a robust Regency sea folklore with sailors' eyewitness accounts. And rather more sailors repeating somebody else’s account

Wiki manatee

Here's a manatee.
You be the judge.

Many spoilsports suggested these were tall tales. Others posited drunken myopic sailors.And some folks offered manatees. Eighteenth Century Rationalists would have been perfectly happy with manatees, never having seen one.

Also, the stories of mermaids were of great antiquity which leant them an air of authority. I mean, who wants to argue with Pliny?

Wwdeasura

Deasura, about whom your average Regency buck knew nothing

The very oldest mermaids aren't so much relevant to the Regency. It’s unlikely your average Regency banker or barrister or baron knew much about Babylonian and Sumerian deities like Atargatis (aka Desura) the half fish/half human chief goddess of northern Syria, mother of Semiramis.

But with the loose change of all that Classical education in their pockets 1800 folks couldn’t help but trip over Greek and Roman mermaids, nereids, and other exciting marine mythical sorts. Lots of pastiche animals.

Ww sirens odyssey

Sirens, making everybody unhappy

 

Odysseus’ encounter with the sirens probably had feathers involved. Homer doesn’t get down to taxonomic details, but the available images show sirens as birds.

By Medieval times sirens stopped being bird-ladies and became fish-ladies. When Geoffrey Chaucer translated Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, (1378-1381) he translated “sirenae” as “meremaydenes.”  

 

Wwsiren

In keeping with the general weirdness of the Medieval, there are some images with BOTH wings and tail

There’s a story that goes with that.

In Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene book II (1590s), "mermayds . . . making false melodies" tempt the heroes. These mermaids, Spenser explained, were once "fair ladies" but arrogantly challenged the "Heliconian maides" (the Greek Muses) and were turned to fish below the waist as punishment. (This sort of ties in with Pausanias’ Description of Greece from around the 2nd century A. D., where the Sirens and Muses had a singing competition. The Sirens lost and the Muses plucked out their feathers to make into crowns.)
      Writing in the Margins, Fish or Fowl: How Did Sirens Become Mermaids?

 

 

 

Medieval mermaids differed from Disney’s Ariel in that they ate human flesh, sank ships, displayed sexually transgressive behavior, and lured men to their death.

Ww burne jones

Burne-Jones of whom I speak slightingly below

Medieval mermaids had fishy reputations.
(Okay. I didn’t say that.)

In short – they were not just pretty faces.
They were badass

…spekth of meermaides in the see,
How þat so inly mirie syngith shee
that the shipman therwith fallith asleepe,
And by hir aftir deuoured is he.
From al swich song is good men hem to keepe  
     Thomas Hoccleve, Male Regle, 1406 

We see lots of depictions of mermaids in Medieval bestiary, marginalia, and the odd Book of Hours. The combination of exotic sailor-killing sealife and nudity seems to have been irresistible.
They
represented sexuality and tenptation. But respectable, y’know. It was natural history. Like painting zebras.

The split tailed mermaids — in case you've every wondered — showed up in the C7 onward. I find them a bit puzzling. Rude and earthy. Authentic, but odd. I suppose they made good sense in the cultural context.

Mermaid mosaic

Otano Cathedral 1088

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 1.51.37 PM

Skipping nimbly past Shakespeare, who does not seem to have depicted mermaids as malevolent to any extent, we move into the Regency period.

Mermaids were trivialized.

The mermaids for supper provided such dishes
As suited the palates of Gods and of fishes …  
     A. Taby, The Fishes’ Feast with A Mermaid’s Song. 1806

 

Plucks harp c 1800

 Regency mermaid,  no longer boldly sexual

In 1800, our sophisticated Regency character stands at the cusp, as it were, in the matter of mermaids. Sailors' tales are not taken seriously. There's a whole world of exotic animals out there for the scientifically minded to theorize about. The educated are skeptical of mermaid reality, unconcerned with them as a danger to shipping, and no longer fascinated with this particular model of dangerous femininity, having doubtless found others.

Mermaids have dwindled to minor creatures of Classical myth, subject of naughty sea shanties, and not yet established in children’s tales.
Significanyly, t
he Regency had not yet embraced the Romantic mermaids of Burne-Jones.

An unsatisfactory time for mermaids, I suppose.
But at least they're not yet wearing scallop shells on their breasts.

So. What legends do you wish were real. Mermaids? Brownies? (House brownies is my own secret desire.)

Do you have a favored bit of folklore you’d really like to be true?

130 thoughts on “What did Regency Mermaids Get Up To?”

  1. Ah, mermaids. When I was a child, I desperately wanted mermaids to be real. I was at the beach almost every day, practicing swimming with a tail—i.e., keeping my legs together and trying to wiggle them back and forth like a fish. I also draped myself with seaweed (the pretty green kind) and gathered seashells which my grandfather drilled holes in so I could make them into necklaces.
    I think I wouldn’t mind being a mermaid today either—living under the sea, no phones, no television, no computers, no news. There must be a reason why that would not be desirable.

    Reply
  2. Ah, mermaids. When I was a child, I desperately wanted mermaids to be real. I was at the beach almost every day, practicing swimming with a tail—i.e., keeping my legs together and trying to wiggle them back and forth like a fish. I also draped myself with seaweed (the pretty green kind) and gathered seashells which my grandfather drilled holes in so I could make them into necklaces.
    I think I wouldn’t mind being a mermaid today either—living under the sea, no phones, no television, no computers, no news. There must be a reason why that would not be desirable.

    Reply
  3. Ah, mermaids. When I was a child, I desperately wanted mermaids to be real. I was at the beach almost every day, practicing swimming with a tail—i.e., keeping my legs together and trying to wiggle them back and forth like a fish. I also draped myself with seaweed (the pretty green kind) and gathered seashells which my grandfather drilled holes in so I could make them into necklaces.
    I think I wouldn’t mind being a mermaid today either—living under the sea, no phones, no television, no computers, no news. There must be a reason why that would not be desirable.

    Reply
  4. Ah, mermaids. When I was a child, I desperately wanted mermaids to be real. I was at the beach almost every day, practicing swimming with a tail—i.e., keeping my legs together and trying to wiggle them back and forth like a fish. I also draped myself with seaweed (the pretty green kind) and gathered seashells which my grandfather drilled holes in so I could make them into necklaces.
    I think I wouldn’t mind being a mermaid today either—living under the sea, no phones, no television, no computers, no news. There must be a reason why that would not be desirable.

    Reply
  5. Ah, mermaids. When I was a child, I desperately wanted mermaids to be real. I was at the beach almost every day, practicing swimming with a tail—i.e., keeping my legs together and trying to wiggle them back and forth like a fish. I also draped myself with seaweed (the pretty green kind) and gathered seashells which my grandfather drilled holes in so I could make them into necklaces.
    I think I wouldn’t mind being a mermaid today either—living under the sea, no phones, no television, no computers, no news. There must be a reason why that would not be desirable.

    Reply
  6. I seem to have always had a practical mind; I have always loved fantasy but I have never believed in it. Even as a young child they were story elements, not true beings. My mother used to ask me if I had seen fairies in the park. I was always polite about it, but in my mind I was saying “Of Course Not!”
    So I don’t have favorite fantasy creatures. But if I did, I believe unicorns would come cloest.

    Reply
  7. I seem to have always had a practical mind; I have always loved fantasy but I have never believed in it. Even as a young child they were story elements, not true beings. My mother used to ask me if I had seen fairies in the park. I was always polite about it, but in my mind I was saying “Of Course Not!”
    So I don’t have favorite fantasy creatures. But if I did, I believe unicorns would come cloest.

    Reply
  8. I seem to have always had a practical mind; I have always loved fantasy but I have never believed in it. Even as a young child they were story elements, not true beings. My mother used to ask me if I had seen fairies in the park. I was always polite about it, but in my mind I was saying “Of Course Not!”
    So I don’t have favorite fantasy creatures. But if I did, I believe unicorns would come cloest.

    Reply
  9. I seem to have always had a practical mind; I have always loved fantasy but I have never believed in it. Even as a young child they were story elements, not true beings. My mother used to ask me if I had seen fairies in the park. I was always polite about it, but in my mind I was saying “Of Course Not!”
    So I don’t have favorite fantasy creatures. But if I did, I believe unicorns would come cloest.

    Reply
  10. I seem to have always had a practical mind; I have always loved fantasy but I have never believed in it. Even as a young child they were story elements, not true beings. My mother used to ask me if I had seen fairies in the park. I was always polite about it, but in my mind I was saying “Of Course Not!”
    So I don’t have favorite fantasy creatures. But if I did, I believe unicorns would come cloest.

    Reply
  11. I was not the sort of child who saw fantasy creatures or had invisible friends. I thought a lot about things but didn’t say much. I lived a lot in my imagination. If my friends had invisible friends, they never told me about them. I’m sure I would have been fascinated.
    If I could have a fantasy creature come true, I’d like one like the ghost in The Ghost and Lady Alice by Marion Chesney. Stap me vitals, I would.

    Reply
  12. I was not the sort of child who saw fantasy creatures or had invisible friends. I thought a lot about things but didn’t say much. I lived a lot in my imagination. If my friends had invisible friends, they never told me about them. I’m sure I would have been fascinated.
    If I could have a fantasy creature come true, I’d like one like the ghost in The Ghost and Lady Alice by Marion Chesney. Stap me vitals, I would.

    Reply
  13. I was not the sort of child who saw fantasy creatures or had invisible friends. I thought a lot about things but didn’t say much. I lived a lot in my imagination. If my friends had invisible friends, they never told me about them. I’m sure I would have been fascinated.
    If I could have a fantasy creature come true, I’d like one like the ghost in The Ghost and Lady Alice by Marion Chesney. Stap me vitals, I would.

    Reply
  14. I was not the sort of child who saw fantasy creatures or had invisible friends. I thought a lot about things but didn’t say much. I lived a lot in my imagination. If my friends had invisible friends, they never told me about them. I’m sure I would have been fascinated.
    If I could have a fantasy creature come true, I’d like one like the ghost in The Ghost and Lady Alice by Marion Chesney. Stap me vitals, I would.

    Reply
  15. I was not the sort of child who saw fantasy creatures or had invisible friends. I thought a lot about things but didn’t say much. I lived a lot in my imagination. If my friends had invisible friends, they never told me about them. I’m sure I would have been fascinated.
    If I could have a fantasy creature come true, I’d like one like the ghost in The Ghost and Lady Alice by Marion Chesney. Stap me vitals, I would.

    Reply
  16. When I was a child, I believed that all my dolls, teddies and other stuffed animals and my dollhouse dolls came to life after dark when everyone else in the world was asleep. I always tried to catch them moving but never could. Don’t think much about mermaids but would love to see a unicorn!

    Reply
  17. When I was a child, I believed that all my dolls, teddies and other stuffed animals and my dollhouse dolls came to life after dark when everyone else in the world was asleep. I always tried to catch them moving but never could. Don’t think much about mermaids but would love to see a unicorn!

    Reply
  18. When I was a child, I believed that all my dolls, teddies and other stuffed animals and my dollhouse dolls came to life after dark when everyone else in the world was asleep. I always tried to catch them moving but never could. Don’t think much about mermaids but would love to see a unicorn!

    Reply
  19. When I was a child, I believed that all my dolls, teddies and other stuffed animals and my dollhouse dolls came to life after dark when everyone else in the world was asleep. I always tried to catch them moving but never could. Don’t think much about mermaids but would love to see a unicorn!

    Reply
  20. When I was a child, I believed that all my dolls, teddies and other stuffed animals and my dollhouse dolls came to life after dark when everyone else in the world was asleep. I always tried to catch them moving but never could. Don’t think much about mermaids but would love to see a unicorn!

    Reply
  21. There are so many descriptions, worldwide. It’s really impressive.
    And there’s Melusine who is sometimes mrmaid and sometimes half-woman/half snake. And half woman/ half dragon folklore.
    It may be the human imagination comes to this place naturally. Our way of dealing with the animal kingdom.

    Reply
  22. There are so many descriptions, worldwide. It’s really impressive.
    And there’s Melusine who is sometimes mrmaid and sometimes half-woman/half snake. And half woman/ half dragon folklore.
    It may be the human imagination comes to this place naturally. Our way of dealing with the animal kingdom.

    Reply
  23. There are so many descriptions, worldwide. It’s really impressive.
    And there’s Melusine who is sometimes mrmaid and sometimes half-woman/half snake. And half woman/ half dragon folklore.
    It may be the human imagination comes to this place naturally. Our way of dealing with the animal kingdom.

    Reply
  24. There are so many descriptions, worldwide. It’s really impressive.
    And there’s Melusine who is sometimes mrmaid and sometimes half-woman/half snake. And half woman/ half dragon folklore.
    It may be the human imagination comes to this place naturally. Our way of dealing with the animal kingdom.

    Reply
  25. There are so many descriptions, worldwide. It’s really impressive.
    And there’s Melusine who is sometimes mrmaid and sometimes half-woman/half snake. And half woman/ half dragon folklore.
    It may be the human imagination comes to this place naturally. Our way of dealing with the animal kingdom.

    Reply
  26. Heh. Well, my latest release has hobgoblins, pixies, brownies, and elves, and the hero is part hellhound. I am happy for all of these to exist, and hope they feel the same about me. (I try not to get on anyone’s wrong side, but I am particularly leery of upsetting fairies.)

    Reply
  27. Heh. Well, my latest release has hobgoblins, pixies, brownies, and elves, and the hero is part hellhound. I am happy for all of these to exist, and hope they feel the same about me. (I try not to get on anyone’s wrong side, but I am particularly leery of upsetting fairies.)

    Reply
  28. Heh. Well, my latest release has hobgoblins, pixies, brownies, and elves, and the hero is part hellhound. I am happy for all of these to exist, and hope they feel the same about me. (I try not to get on anyone’s wrong side, but I am particularly leery of upsetting fairies.)

    Reply
  29. Heh. Well, my latest release has hobgoblins, pixies, brownies, and elves, and the hero is part hellhound. I am happy for all of these to exist, and hope they feel the same about me. (I try not to get on anyone’s wrong side, but I am particularly leery of upsetting fairies.)

    Reply
  30. Heh. Well, my latest release has hobgoblins, pixies, brownies, and elves, and the hero is part hellhound. I am happy for all of these to exist, and hope they feel the same about me. (I try not to get on anyone’s wrong side, but I am particularly leery of upsetting fairies.)

    Reply
  31. I’d like a unicorn like the one in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.
    But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. “Where have you been?” Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shrilling beetle, but this time it was the unicorn’s old dark eyes that looked down
    “I am here now,” she said at last.

    Reply
  32. I’d like a unicorn like the one in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.
    But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. “Where have you been?” Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shrilling beetle, but this time it was the unicorn’s old dark eyes that looked down
    “I am here now,” she said at last.

    Reply
  33. I’d like a unicorn like the one in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.
    But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. “Where have you been?” Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shrilling beetle, but this time it was the unicorn’s old dark eyes that looked down
    “I am here now,” she said at last.

    Reply
  34. I’d like a unicorn like the one in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.
    But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. “Where have you been?” Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shrilling beetle, but this time it was the unicorn’s old dark eyes that looked down
    “I am here now,” she said at last.

    Reply
  35. I’d like a unicorn like the one in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.
    But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. “Where have you been?” Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shrilling beetle, but this time it was the unicorn’s old dark eyes that looked down
    “I am here now,” she said at last.

    Reply
  36. I envy you your love of the sea and the time you’ve spent there.
    I’ve spent much more time looking at the sea than swimming in it. I find the sea beautiful beyond measure, but also frightening. Too vast, too dangerous, too powerful to be part of.
    Ariel’s bright tropical ocean would be to my taste, I think. A domestic land dancing with bright fishes.

    Reply
  37. I envy you your love of the sea and the time you’ve spent there.
    I’ve spent much more time looking at the sea than swimming in it. I find the sea beautiful beyond measure, but also frightening. Too vast, too dangerous, too powerful to be part of.
    Ariel’s bright tropical ocean would be to my taste, I think. A domestic land dancing with bright fishes.

    Reply
  38. I envy you your love of the sea and the time you’ve spent there.
    I’ve spent much more time looking at the sea than swimming in it. I find the sea beautiful beyond measure, but also frightening. Too vast, too dangerous, too powerful to be part of.
    Ariel’s bright tropical ocean would be to my taste, I think. A domestic land dancing with bright fishes.

    Reply
  39. I envy you your love of the sea and the time you’ve spent there.
    I’ve spent much more time looking at the sea than swimming in it. I find the sea beautiful beyond measure, but also frightening. Too vast, too dangerous, too powerful to be part of.
    Ariel’s bright tropical ocean would be to my taste, I think. A domestic land dancing with bright fishes.

    Reply
  40. I envy you your love of the sea and the time you’ve spent there.
    I’ve spent much more time looking at the sea than swimming in it. I find the sea beautiful beyond measure, but also frightening. Too vast, too dangerous, too powerful to be part of.
    Ariel’s bright tropical ocean would be to my taste, I think. A domestic land dancing with bright fishes.

    Reply
  41. If I were looking to find a legend to be true, I would love to find that King Arthur and his knights were all real – their descendants lived in some wonderful small village and everyone was as heroic as their ancestors.
    As far as mermaids….they do not sound as benign as we have been led to believe. Isn’t it just like another 2020 disappointment? I find that mermaids were not all cute as buttons with long red hair?

    Reply
  42. If I were looking to find a legend to be true, I would love to find that King Arthur and his knights were all real – their descendants lived in some wonderful small village and everyone was as heroic as their ancestors.
    As far as mermaids….they do not sound as benign as we have been led to believe. Isn’t it just like another 2020 disappointment? I find that mermaids were not all cute as buttons with long red hair?

    Reply
  43. If I were looking to find a legend to be true, I would love to find that King Arthur and his knights were all real – their descendants lived in some wonderful small village and everyone was as heroic as their ancestors.
    As far as mermaids….they do not sound as benign as we have been led to believe. Isn’t it just like another 2020 disappointment? I find that mermaids were not all cute as buttons with long red hair?

    Reply
  44. If I were looking to find a legend to be true, I would love to find that King Arthur and his knights were all real – their descendants lived in some wonderful small village and everyone was as heroic as their ancestors.
    As far as mermaids….they do not sound as benign as we have been led to believe. Isn’t it just like another 2020 disappointment? I find that mermaids were not all cute as buttons with long red hair?

    Reply
  45. If I were looking to find a legend to be true, I would love to find that King Arthur and his knights were all real – their descendants lived in some wonderful small village and everyone was as heroic as their ancestors.
    As far as mermaids….they do not sound as benign as we have been led to believe. Isn’t it just like another 2020 disappointment? I find that mermaids were not all cute as buttons with long red hair?

    Reply
  46. Loved this post, Joanna! (That fake mermaid on display is pretty horrendous though). I would love the Nessie monster to be real – I hope they find him/her/it one day!

    Reply
  47. Loved this post, Joanna! (That fake mermaid on display is pretty horrendous though). I would love the Nessie monster to be real – I hope they find him/her/it one day!

    Reply
  48. Loved this post, Joanna! (That fake mermaid on display is pretty horrendous though). I would love the Nessie monster to be real – I hope they find him/her/it one day!

    Reply
  49. Loved this post, Joanna! (That fake mermaid on display is pretty horrendous though). I would love the Nessie monster to be real – I hope they find him/her/it one day!

    Reply
  50. Loved this post, Joanna! (That fake mermaid on display is pretty horrendous though). I would love the Nessie monster to be real – I hope they find him/her/it one day!

    Reply
  51. I always found the surf a little rough. Tumbly stuff.
    I found it exciting. I don’t remember being particularly scared of it. When I was little IU always had my older sisters with me. I guess I just trusted them.

    Reply
  52. I always found the surf a little rough. Tumbly stuff.
    I found it exciting. I don’t remember being particularly scared of it. When I was little IU always had my older sisters with me. I guess I just trusted them.

    Reply
  53. I always found the surf a little rough. Tumbly stuff.
    I found it exciting. I don’t remember being particularly scared of it. When I was little IU always had my older sisters with me. I guess I just trusted them.

    Reply
  54. I always found the surf a little rough. Tumbly stuff.
    I found it exciting. I don’t remember being particularly scared of it. When I was little IU always had my older sisters with me. I guess I just trusted them.

    Reply
  55. I always found the surf a little rough. Tumbly stuff.
    I found it exciting. I don’t remember being particularly scared of it. When I was little IU always had my older sisters with me. I guess I just trusted them.

    Reply
  56. I think I would have been scred by dolls that were secretly alive.
    I don’t know quite how to describe it — but the stories I made up in my head and moved the dolls through as if they were playing a part were completely benign.
    I knew they were on one side of the line between the real world and the pretend world. And I was in charge of the pretend world.

    Reply
  57. I think I would have been scred by dolls that were secretly alive.
    I don’t know quite how to describe it — but the stories I made up in my head and moved the dolls through as if they were playing a part were completely benign.
    I knew they were on one side of the line between the real world and the pretend world. And I was in charge of the pretend world.

    Reply
  58. I think I would have been scred by dolls that were secretly alive.
    I don’t know quite how to describe it — but the stories I made up in my head and moved the dolls through as if they were playing a part were completely benign.
    I knew they were on one side of the line between the real world and the pretend world. And I was in charge of the pretend world.

    Reply
  59. I think I would have been scred by dolls that were secretly alive.
    I don’t know quite how to describe it — but the stories I made up in my head and moved the dolls through as if they were playing a part were completely benign.
    I knew they were on one side of the line between the real world and the pretend world. And I was in charge of the pretend world.

    Reply
  60. I think I would have been scred by dolls that were secretly alive.
    I don’t know quite how to describe it — but the stories I made up in my head and moved the dolls through as if they were playing a part were completely benign.
    I knew they were on one side of the line between the real world and the pretend world. And I was in charge of the pretend world.

    Reply
  61. You are a wise woman.
    I’m going to use elves in what I’m writing next. It’s always of question of what traditional traits we pull into the work and which ones we leave out, isn’t it?
    I should do some research on how elves are portrayed in the oldest works. I’ll make a note to do some reading in that direction.

    Reply
  62. You are a wise woman.
    I’m going to use elves in what I’m writing next. It’s always of question of what traditional traits we pull into the work and which ones we leave out, isn’t it?
    I should do some research on how elves are portrayed in the oldest works. I’ll make a note to do some reading in that direction.

    Reply
  63. You are a wise woman.
    I’m going to use elves in what I’m writing next. It’s always of question of what traditional traits we pull into the work and which ones we leave out, isn’t it?
    I should do some research on how elves are portrayed in the oldest works. I’ll make a note to do some reading in that direction.

    Reply
  64. You are a wise woman.
    I’m going to use elves in what I’m writing next. It’s always of question of what traditional traits we pull into the work and which ones we leave out, isn’t it?
    I should do some research on how elves are portrayed in the oldest works. I’ll make a note to do some reading in that direction.

    Reply
  65. You are a wise woman.
    I’m going to use elves in what I’m writing next. It’s always of question of what traditional traits we pull into the work and which ones we leave out, isn’t it?
    I should do some research on how elves are portrayed in the oldest works. I’ll make a note to do some reading in that direction.

    Reply
  66. I figger myth making doesn’t have a cut off date. If we see mermaids dancing with crabs and fishes, that’s as valid as the story of Undine or the Lorelei.
    It’s just newer.
    And if someday the story is of mermaids who live in airless space and feed on sunlight, that swim by dolphining their tails to propel themselves on lines of invisible energy, that sing outside the hulls of spaceships and seduce sailors … well, that’s valid too.
    We rewrite our myths as we go along.

    Reply
  67. I figger myth making doesn’t have a cut off date. If we see mermaids dancing with crabs and fishes, that’s as valid as the story of Undine or the Lorelei.
    It’s just newer.
    And if someday the story is of mermaids who live in airless space and feed on sunlight, that swim by dolphining their tails to propel themselves on lines of invisible energy, that sing outside the hulls of spaceships and seduce sailors … well, that’s valid too.
    We rewrite our myths as we go along.

    Reply
  68. I figger myth making doesn’t have a cut off date. If we see mermaids dancing with crabs and fishes, that’s as valid as the story of Undine or the Lorelei.
    It’s just newer.
    And if someday the story is of mermaids who live in airless space and feed on sunlight, that swim by dolphining their tails to propel themselves on lines of invisible energy, that sing outside the hulls of spaceships and seduce sailors … well, that’s valid too.
    We rewrite our myths as we go along.

    Reply
  69. I figger myth making doesn’t have a cut off date. If we see mermaids dancing with crabs and fishes, that’s as valid as the story of Undine or the Lorelei.
    It’s just newer.
    And if someday the story is of mermaids who live in airless space and feed on sunlight, that swim by dolphining their tails to propel themselves on lines of invisible energy, that sing outside the hulls of spaceships and seduce sailors … well, that’s valid too.
    We rewrite our myths as we go along.

    Reply
  70. I figger myth making doesn’t have a cut off date. If we see mermaids dancing with crabs and fishes, that’s as valid as the story of Undine or the Lorelei.
    It’s just newer.
    And if someday the story is of mermaids who live in airless space and feed on sunlight, that swim by dolphining their tails to propel themselves on lines of invisible energy, that sing outside the hulls of spaceships and seduce sailors … well, that’s valid too.
    We rewrite our myths as we go along.

    Reply
  71. There’s a line in Patricia Briggs. Mercedes is making cookies and snacks.
    One of the fae comes into the kitchen and asks what she’s cooking. And somebody says, “Brownies.”
    Horror and dismay till the quick, “Not THAT kind of brownie.”

    Reply
  72. There’s a line in Patricia Briggs. Mercedes is making cookies and snacks.
    One of the fae comes into the kitchen and asks what she’s cooking. And somebody says, “Brownies.”
    Horror and dismay till the quick, “Not THAT kind of brownie.”

    Reply
  73. There’s a line in Patricia Briggs. Mercedes is making cookies and snacks.
    One of the fae comes into the kitchen and asks what she’s cooking. And somebody says, “Brownies.”
    Horror and dismay till the quick, “Not THAT kind of brownie.”

    Reply
  74. There’s a line in Patricia Briggs. Mercedes is making cookies and snacks.
    One of the fae comes into the kitchen and asks what she’s cooking. And somebody says, “Brownies.”
    Horror and dismay till the quick, “Not THAT kind of brownie.”

    Reply
  75. There’s a line in Patricia Briggs. Mercedes is making cookies and snacks.
    One of the fae comes into the kitchen and asks what she’s cooking. And somebody says, “Brownies.”
    Horror and dismay till the quick, “Not THAT kind of brownie.”

    Reply
  76. Definitely. We need more odd things hiding in the edges of woods and in lakes and down in the depth of the forest.
    More magic.
    I wasn’t sure whether to add the fake mermaid without a trigger warning. But then I went ahead, figuring that folks are fairly tough.
    It’s not as if it were (jo shudders} a spider.

    Reply
  77. Definitely. We need more odd things hiding in the edges of woods and in lakes and down in the depth of the forest.
    More magic.
    I wasn’t sure whether to add the fake mermaid without a trigger warning. But then I went ahead, figuring that folks are fairly tough.
    It’s not as if it were (jo shudders} a spider.

    Reply
  78. Definitely. We need more odd things hiding in the edges of woods and in lakes and down in the depth of the forest.
    More magic.
    I wasn’t sure whether to add the fake mermaid without a trigger warning. But then I went ahead, figuring that folks are fairly tough.
    It’s not as if it were (jo shudders} a spider.

    Reply
  79. Definitely. We need more odd things hiding in the edges of woods and in lakes and down in the depth of the forest.
    More magic.
    I wasn’t sure whether to add the fake mermaid without a trigger warning. But then I went ahead, figuring that folks are fairly tough.
    It’s not as if it were (jo shudders} a spider.

    Reply
  80. Definitely. We need more odd things hiding in the edges of woods and in lakes and down in the depth of the forest.
    More magic.
    I wasn’t sure whether to add the fake mermaid without a trigger warning. But then I went ahead, figuring that folks are fairly tough.
    It’s not as if it were (jo shudders} a spider.

    Reply
  81. This was a really interesting post, Joanne. Your last few sentences reminded me of a book my Grandmother had about brownies. I remember it as being charming, now I’m not exactly sure of that. But I know I wished that they were real. I believe I read that when I was in the third grade, in the 50’s. That dates me!

    Reply
  82. This was a really interesting post, Joanne. Your last few sentences reminded me of a book my Grandmother had about brownies. I remember it as being charming, now I’m not exactly sure of that. But I know I wished that they were real. I believe I read that when I was in the third grade, in the 50’s. That dates me!

    Reply
  83. This was a really interesting post, Joanne. Your last few sentences reminded me of a book my Grandmother had about brownies. I remember it as being charming, now I’m not exactly sure of that. But I know I wished that they were real. I believe I read that when I was in the third grade, in the 50’s. That dates me!

    Reply
  84. This was a really interesting post, Joanne. Your last few sentences reminded me of a book my Grandmother had about brownies. I remember it as being charming, now I’m not exactly sure of that. But I know I wished that they were real. I believe I read that when I was in the third grade, in the 50’s. That dates me!

    Reply
  85. This was a really interesting post, Joanne. Your last few sentences reminded me of a book my Grandmother had about brownies. I remember it as being charming, now I’m not exactly sure of that. But I know I wished that they were real. I believe I read that when I was in the third grade, in the 50’s. That dates me!

    Reply
  86. I recently watched a nature show about beluga whales that had underwater footage of them swimming. It was eye opening. All the images I’ve seen before have been mostly of their heads. From underneath, they absolutely look like they have legs. I was shocked and a little creeped out. I now have nothing but sympathy for the poor sailors who thought they saw mermaids.
    I’ve never believed in mythical creatures, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of mer-people and never had any patience with the Little Mermaid who wanted legs instead.

    Reply
  87. I recently watched a nature show about beluga whales that had underwater footage of them swimming. It was eye opening. All the images I’ve seen before have been mostly of their heads. From underneath, they absolutely look like they have legs. I was shocked and a little creeped out. I now have nothing but sympathy for the poor sailors who thought they saw mermaids.
    I’ve never believed in mythical creatures, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of mer-people and never had any patience with the Little Mermaid who wanted legs instead.

    Reply
  88. I recently watched a nature show about beluga whales that had underwater footage of them swimming. It was eye opening. All the images I’ve seen before have been mostly of their heads. From underneath, they absolutely look like they have legs. I was shocked and a little creeped out. I now have nothing but sympathy for the poor sailors who thought they saw mermaids.
    I’ve never believed in mythical creatures, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of mer-people and never had any patience with the Little Mermaid who wanted legs instead.

    Reply
  89. I recently watched a nature show about beluga whales that had underwater footage of them swimming. It was eye opening. All the images I’ve seen before have been mostly of their heads. From underneath, they absolutely look like they have legs. I was shocked and a little creeped out. I now have nothing but sympathy for the poor sailors who thought they saw mermaids.
    I’ve never believed in mythical creatures, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of mer-people and never had any patience with the Little Mermaid who wanted legs instead.

    Reply
  90. I recently watched a nature show about beluga whales that had underwater footage of them swimming. It was eye opening. All the images I’ve seen before have been mostly of their heads. From underneath, they absolutely look like they have legs. I was shocked and a little creeped out. I now have nothing but sympathy for the poor sailors who thought they saw mermaids.
    I’ve never believed in mythical creatures, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of mer-people and never had any patience with the Little Mermaid who wanted legs instead.

    Reply
  91. This reminds me of one of the great one-liners I read.
    It’s one of Patricia Briggs’ books. A boy has been rescued after centuries Underhill with the Elves.
    He walks into the modern American kitchen where one of his rescuers is taking a dish from the oven.
    “What’s she cooking?” he asks.
    “Brownies.”
    He looks horrified.

    Reply
  92. This reminds me of one of the great one-liners I read.
    It’s one of Patricia Briggs’ books. A boy has been rescued after centuries Underhill with the Elves.
    He walks into the modern American kitchen where one of his rescuers is taking a dish from the oven.
    “What’s she cooking?” he asks.
    “Brownies.”
    He looks horrified.

    Reply
  93. This reminds me of one of the great one-liners I read.
    It’s one of Patricia Briggs’ books. A boy has been rescued after centuries Underhill with the Elves.
    He walks into the modern American kitchen where one of his rescuers is taking a dish from the oven.
    “What’s she cooking?” he asks.
    “Brownies.”
    He looks horrified.

    Reply
  94. This reminds me of one of the great one-liners I read.
    It’s one of Patricia Briggs’ books. A boy has been rescued after centuries Underhill with the Elves.
    He walks into the modern American kitchen where one of his rescuers is taking a dish from the oven.
    “What’s she cooking?” he asks.
    “Brownies.”
    He looks horrified.

    Reply
  95. This reminds me of one of the great one-liners I read.
    It’s one of Patricia Briggs’ books. A boy has been rescued after centuries Underhill with the Elves.
    He walks into the modern American kitchen where one of his rescuers is taking a dish from the oven.
    “What’s she cooking?” he asks.
    “Brownies.”
    He looks horrified.

    Reply
  96. Interesting about the legs. I’ll keep an eye out for this.
    I’m afraid I like the land better myself. More color and more interesting things to eat.
    But I’d like to visit the sea.
    Like the Sesame Street song —
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIq8jLj5TzU
    I might stay for a day there if I had my wish
    But there’s not much to do when your friends are all fish
    And an oyster and clam aren’t real company
    So I don’t want to live in the sea.

    Reply
  97. Interesting about the legs. I’ll keep an eye out for this.
    I’m afraid I like the land better myself. More color and more interesting things to eat.
    But I’d like to visit the sea.
    Like the Sesame Street song —
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIq8jLj5TzU
    I might stay for a day there if I had my wish
    But there’s not much to do when your friends are all fish
    And an oyster and clam aren’t real company
    So I don’t want to live in the sea.

    Reply
  98. Interesting about the legs. I’ll keep an eye out for this.
    I’m afraid I like the land better myself. More color and more interesting things to eat.
    But I’d like to visit the sea.
    Like the Sesame Street song —
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIq8jLj5TzU
    I might stay for a day there if I had my wish
    But there’s not much to do when your friends are all fish
    And an oyster and clam aren’t real company
    So I don’t want to live in the sea.

    Reply
  99. Interesting about the legs. I’ll keep an eye out for this.
    I’m afraid I like the land better myself. More color and more interesting things to eat.
    But I’d like to visit the sea.
    Like the Sesame Street song —
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIq8jLj5TzU
    I might stay for a day there if I had my wish
    But there’s not much to do when your friends are all fish
    And an oyster and clam aren’t real company
    So I don’t want to live in the sea.

    Reply
  100. Interesting about the legs. I’ll keep an eye out for this.
    I’m afraid I like the land better myself. More color and more interesting things to eat.
    But I’d like to visit the sea.
    Like the Sesame Street song —
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIq8jLj5TzU
    I might stay for a day there if I had my wish
    But there’s not much to do when your friends are all fish
    And an oyster and clam aren’t real company
    So I don’t want to live in the sea.

    Reply

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