Stories about mermaids come from almost every country by the sea—from Iceland to India; America to Arabia. Most mermaids have flowing golden hair, long graceful tails, and a beauty that lures men to the bottom of the sea. Sven, in the Danish story, “Sven and Lilli,” followed Lilli to her ocean home, where “they live happily. And there, in their domed house under the sea, so people say, they are living still."
But not all mermaids are beautiful, and some are unchancy creatures indeed. There is a mermaid in the Irish tale, “The Magic Lake,” who has “pig’s eyes and wolf’s teeth, and a mouth...grinning from ear to ear.” And the beautiful mermaid Groach, in the Breton story, “The Groach of the Isle of Lok,” casts a spell over handsome young men, marries them, and then turns them into rainbow-colored fish.
In these sixteen stories Ruth Manning-Sanders captures the quicksilver personalities of mermaids and mermen as she tells of their marvelous schemes and adventures.
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From shores as separate as Ireland and Indian and America comes one of the freshest collections in this well-established series, with a succession of droll, tender, arresting images: great-grandmother riding the wave in her rocking chair in ""Sven and Lilli""; the young sailor kicked out of the Kingdom of Ocean by the statue of a little warrior: every creature of the sea jumping and spinning and leaping to Maurice's magical tune; the fat, scraggle-toothed mermaid in ""The Magic Lake"" and the untidy mermaid in the story of the same name. The American contribution, ""Long John and the Mermaid,"" is a small marvel--a mermaid undone by her love for a whale, but what a grand ride she has first! An abundance for reading or telling. Kirkus Reviews
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