The Kind Mermaid

The kind mermaid is on the rare side though they do exit. Usually, mermaids are indifferent to people or openly hostile. The seductive Lorelei types are probably the most dangerous, luring sailors and attractive young men to their doom in the water. Sometimes they are unaware of the harm they do, as in the story of the mermaid who falls for a young man and takes him into the ocean without realizing he will drown there. They will return favors and occasionally will trade with human beings in a deal both sides benefit from, but they are not usually generous enough to offer unsolicited aid or advice. However, there are exceptions:

There was once a man in Galloway who had skill as a curer of diseases, and it was said that he received some of his knowledge from a mermaid. A beautiful girl named May was dying of consumption (the old name for tuberculosis or TB). The Galloway physician worked hard to cure her but it was all in vain. Each day May became paler and weaker, her coughing more and more severe. Since he loved her dearly and wished to marry her, his heart was very sad when he found that his herbs did not do her any good. One evening as he sat sorrowing on the shore, a mermaid raised her head above the waves. There she saw the despondent young lover and sang:

Would you let bonnie May die in your hand,
And the mugwort flowering in the land?

(Mugwort is a flowering, aromatic plant.) A foam-capped waver broke over the mermaid's head and she was gone. The man went at once and gathered the flowers of the mugwort. He dried them and made from them a medicinal tea or tisane. This he gave to May, who was soon restored to health.

Click here for another kind mermaid story.