People Who Turned into a Mermaid
The largest class of people turned into a mermaid is the Russian rusalka. The rusalka are women who were killed before marriage, their spirits are transformed into malicious mermaids who drown men in revenge for their murder. They continue like this until their real murderer is punished. Click here for the full story.
Often in folk tales someone is changed into a mermaid because they disobeyed an authority figure or broke a taboo. For example, there is an American Indian tale of two girls whose mother told them that something bad would happen to them if they swam in the ocean. They did of course and were turned into mermaids. They continued to help their parents by pulling their canoe when they went fishing.
Another story from Canada is about a boy who refused to eat a fish his mother made for him. In punishment the salmon people took his soul down to their city under the sea. There they taught him the way to live in harmony with the salmon - advice we could use today.
There is a charming tale from Trinidad about twin sisters. One of them was turned into a mermaid while the other grows older but never ages. The reason for the transformations is that they broke the taboo against swimming on Easter Sunday. You can read how Tilly was turned into a mermaid here.
For more mermaid transformations see my mermaid transformation stories page.