Chinese Myths: The Hairy Mermaid

The mermaids in Chinese myths are rather unusual. For example, there is one about a man who captured a mermaid on Namtao Island. She looked just like a mortal woman, a very pretty one. She even had legs. The only difference was that her body was covered in short, fine hairs of many colors. The pattern of the colors was like that of a beautiful tropical fish.

The man took her back to his home where he endeavored to teach her to speak and wear clothes. Over time she got used to clothing but she never spoke – only smiled. They lived together for many happy years.

When the man was very old his mermaid wife looked as young as the day she stepped from the sea. After his death, his friends returned the creature to Namtao Island where she entered the sea again. Her clothing floated back to shore on the crashing waves.

Mermaids are not abducted only in Chinese myths. Click this line to compare this story to a Scottish version.