Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Christopher Columbus and Some Mermaids

Mermaid and Other Water Spirit Tales From Around the World

A few days ago I shared Henry Hudson's account of a mermaid sighting from Mermaid and Other Water Spirit Tales From Around the World. I don't want to leave out Christopher Columbus so he is today's highlight from the book as well as that of another sailor.

Originally from "A Chapter on Mermaids" by Lieutenant Charles R. Low, I.N. in The United Service Magazine (1878):

Purchas, in his account of the first voyage of Columbus, (see his “Pilgrimes” Book ii, Chap. 1,) says:—“After sayling from Port Nativitie, he saw three mermaids leaping a good height out of the sea, creatures, as he affirmed, not so faire as they are painted, somewhat resembling men in the face, of which at other times he said he had seene on the coast of Guinea.” Christopher Turer, of Haimendorf, in his journal of his travels in Arabia, in 1556, says:—“On the 18th we came to Thora, which city is on the shoare of the Red Sea of no lustre; the haven small, in which ships laden with spices out of Arabia, Abassia and India resort. In this citie we saw a mermaid’s skinne, taken there many yeares before, which in the lower part ends fish-fashion; of the upper part only the navill and breastes remaine, the arms and head being lost.”

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