As with all legendary creatures, Mermaids have a unique culture in many different countries and folklore. Some of the stories are from Greek mythology. Others are eye witness stories from sailors’ tale. I would hate to rattle off data about mermaids, they are much too beautiful.
Instead I’m going to include a passage from the novel I’m writing entitled Pouraka.
Painting by John William Waterhouse
Pouraka means cradle in the Maori language and is the magical dwelling place of a certain school of mermaids living in the present day. The story is an enchanting and tragic tale of men, dolphins and mermaids and their struggle to coexist in a changing world.
Cora covered her ears as the Mermen’s song resounded off the cavern walls and vibrated through the tide pools of Pouraka. “Ko!” Her voice was drowned by music but the scream from her heart overpowered the sounds. She inched toward the rocky ledge, reaching for her brother as he swam from the sea to the deep tide pool below them. “No!” Tas strong arms slid around her waist as Cora struggled against his restraint. Mussels cut against her scales as she fought. “Don’t let it happen!” “It’s too late.” Tas’ voice was a whisper, his breath warm in her ear as he drew her close. “It’s for the good. Let it go.” Cora hated the magic. She had seen it several times in the past and every time the sound of the chant hurt her head. But this time was different. This time the pain was in her heart. Ko had made up his mind to Change, and there was no going back. “You cannot stop the fog as it fills the cave from above, nor the ocean as it fills the chasm below. Neither can you stop my heart from its longing, little sister.” Those were his last words to her. Now he couldn’t talk to her any longer, it wasn’t allowed. Fog seeped in through skylight leading into Pouraka, the vast cavern that connected land and sea and provided a safe haven for the merpeople. Ceremonies of importance took place in the great cavern. Marriages, Changings and other events of magic drawing all the clans of the Talbatha Islands as witnesses. Cora looked around her, amazed at how many friends and family lived in this corridor. So many of them loved Ko for who he is…was. Her gaze searched for Kaile, her brother’s closest friend and found him curled into a crevice, his hands over his face. That’s how she felt; only Tas wouldn’t let her curl. Tas had asked her to sit next to him as he joined in the chorus. Hundreds of mermen’s voices chimed in harmony, beckoning the tide. Waters rose climbing past the first rocky ledge and splashing into the three sacred pools. The dark form of dolphins appeared in the breakers, cousins entering the cave to celebrate. The beasts of the sea knew the merpeople’s incantation all too well. What Cora was losing tonight, the pod would gain. If she didn’t love the dolphins so much, she would resent them for taking her brother. Constant, melodic and haunting lyrics resounded, an ancient language heralding the end and the beginning. Cora closed her eyes and pictured what might be happening outside. Whenever the mermen sang, a tempest swallowed the world. Ocean swells became one with falling heavens. Cora hoped her human friends in the village were safe in their cottages far from shore, because no man could survive a storm that the sirens called forth. Ko lay afloat on his back in the largest of the turquoise pools, the Cradle it was called. His black hair swerved in a halo above his head. His shiny green tail fins faded another shade each time the tide gushed over him. His green eyes were wide open, and he looked up at her once. Cora ached inside, fighting the urge to dive from her rocky ledge and rescue him. Tas slid silently closer and squeezed her hand, still singing. The warmth of his body was a comfort, though at the moment Cora fought being comforted. This wasn’t a time for her. This was about Ko. Ringing louder than the sound of the tenor’s voice was the wail of a mermaid. Peara, her brother’s lover, and Cora’s best friend. Tears rolled down Cora’s cheeks until the fog was so thick she could no longer see the pool, or the water, or Ko. She blinked the moisture from her eyes. The damp chill beaded on her face, causing her hair to stick. She wiped the ringlets away. The ocean rose with pounding breakers. The breeze from the violent surf pushed the mist aside so that Ko was visible again. His once beautiful shimmering body was now dark, his arms melted into his torso. Cora turned to Tas and hid her head in his chest, his voice vibrated in her ear. Tas wrapped her in his arms and squeezed her tight. She peeked out in time to see a wild splash from the pool into the sea, and then the dolphins were gone. The music ceased.
Only the pounding of the breakers remained. Harder and harder the swells beat against the walls of the cavern, spitting foam over each ledge and quaffing the tide pools.
The raging ocean invaded Pouraka, filling every cave and tunnel with foamy liquid. The merpeople swam to safety. Tas pulled Cora to him as the water rose over their heads. Swimming into a crevice he braced himself against the rocks and held her close, she being too weak from remorse to fight the violent sea alone. Cora wrapped her arms around his chest and closed her eyes, listening to his heart beat in rhythm to the pounding sea.
–Please do not reproduce this material in any way with out the expressed written permission of its author. All rights reserved Dianne Lynn Gardner @2014