German Folklore: The Nixies

The Nixies, or Water-people, inhabit the lakes and rivers of German folklore. They are related to the English Jenny Greenteeth and the Scandinavian Grim. The male is like any other man, only he has green teeth and wears a green hat. The female nixies look like beautiful maidens. On fine sunny days they may be seen sitting on the river banks, or on the branches of the trees, combing their long golden locks. When someone is about to be drowned, the nixies may be seen dancing on the surface of the water. They inhabit a magnificent region below the water, where they sometimes bring mortals. A girl from a village near Leipzig was once a maid in the house of a Nix. She said that everything there was very good; all she had to complain of was that she was obliged to eat her food without salt. When female nixies go on land they are always neatly dressed, only a corner of the hem of their dress, or some other part of their clothes, is wet. The male sometimes goes on land as well. Either will enchant a mortal of the opposite sex. They may have a love affair, a marriage and home under the water, or the mortals may be drowned.