What is a mermaid???

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Mermaids have long fascinated humans, right from the days of Hans Christian Andersons novel, The Little Mermaid, to the children of today that read about Mermaids and Mermen in J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter books. The fascination of humans with these peculiar creatures is not restricted to the West. Philippines, Japanese and a variety of other completely distinct and separate cultures refer to mermaids and mermaid like creatures.

A mermaid is a creature that is half human, and half fish. Mermaids are female, while the Mermen, naturally, are the males. They have the torso of a fish, and the upper body of a human being. Mermaids are also often interchanged with water nymphs, water fairies and selkies. Mermaids are usually considered to be very beautiful, and extremely attractive in looks, as opposed to ones normal presumption that their scales would make them look repulsive. According to legends of yore, there were many instances where in sailors that caught a glimpse of the Mermaid were so attracted to it, that they jumped into the sea to make contact, and were eventually drowned in the process. Some cultures accuse Mermaids of possessing such beauty that they have a hypnotic effect on men. Some claim that the Mermaid drowns them in the process of taking them to their underwater homes, while others insist that Mermaids are creatures to stay away from, as they drown their victims of lust purposely, and suck out their life from them.

The word Mermaid itself is a word made of two parts; the first being the wordMer,the ancient English word for sea, andmaidreferring to a female.
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