Mermaid Transformation:
The Siren Wife

This mermaid transformation story is based on an Italian folktale.

In the original tale the word "king" was used to refer to a rich, powerful man, not a monarch as in English folklore.


There was a beautiful woman whose husband was a sailor. He frequently left her for long periods while he was at sea.

When the sailor returned from an exceptionally long trip he found his wife gone and his home empty. His wife had attracted the attentions of a king who begged her to be his lover.

After some time the king became tired of her and told her to return to her husband. He, on his part, was angry at his wife's infidelity and decided to kill her.

The next time he took to sea he brought his wife with him. When they were far from shore he threw her overboard and she sank to the bottom. The sailor returned to shore thinking he would never see his wife again.

Underwater, the beautiful wife was found by the Sirens of the sea. They took her to their palace and with their magic brought about a mermaid transformation. A creature of the land became a Siren. She learned to sing the Siren songs that enchant men. She learned to dance the Siren dances and came to enjoy her new life under the sea. She was often moody, however, and missed her husband.

On land, the sailor began to regret his decision. He came to rue the day he had tossed his wife into the sea. But she was dead, what could he do now?

One day the sea wife was singing with the other Sirens as a ship passed. Imagine her surprise when the man who jumped into the sea was her husband! Craftily, she hid him from the other Sirens.

While the Sirens slept she brought her husband to the surface of the sea. In the vicinity there was a large ship and she had her husband call to the sailors on it.

The Siren disappeared when they took him aboard. The sailors thought he was raving when he talked about his wife who was now a Siren.

Returning to land the husband located a wise fairy. He asked her how he might rescue his wife from the Sirens. The fairy told him that she would rescue his wife if he could get for her a certain flower that is hidden in the Siren's palace.

At sea again, the man called to his wife from the bow of his ship. When she appeared he told her about the fairy and what she needed to release her from the Sirens.

"I know this flower, it grows in the Sirens' palace. The Sirens stole it from the fairies and if ever it is returned all the Sirens will die."

"To get it we must trick them", she continued. "Return to land and take all the money you have in the world. Sell everything you have of any value to get more money. Use this money to buy as many diamonds and jewels as you can find."

"Come back here with the jewels strewn about your ship. The Sirens will tempt you with their song but do not listen to it. Sail far from here and they will follow you. While they are away I will obtain the flower."

The plan worked as the beautiful Siren wife had said. The jewels lured the Sirens away from the palace and she plucked the flower.

Her husband saw a great jet of water come out of the sea. At the top was his wife and the fairy riding on a broom with the flower. The fairy returned her to her husband and they lived together happily till the end of their days.


The mermaid transformation is central to this story. It symbolizes the wife's change in attitude to her husband and her prior behavior. After her mermaid transformation she has entered the fairy world were deeds have consequences other than the usual.

Mermaid Transformation: The Siren Wife --> Mermaid Transformation Stories

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