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The Merrow – 1888

Mermaid and Merman - Anon - 1866 New York Public Library Wikipedia.org

Anon – 1866
New York Public Library
Wikipedia.org

Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, edited and selected by W.B.Yeats
Walter Scott, London, New York (1888)
THE MERROW (abridged)

The Merrow, or Moruadh/Murrúghach, comes from muir, sea, and oigh, a maid, and is common, they say, on the wilder coasts of Ireland. The fishermen do not like to see them, for it always means coming gales. The male Merrows have green teeth, green hair, pig’s eyes, and red noses; but their women are beautiful, for all their fish tails and the little duck-like scale between their fingers.
Sometimes they prefer, small blame to them, good-looking fishermen to their sea lovers. Near Bantry, in the last century, there is said to have been a woman covered all over with scales like a fish, who was descended from such a marriage. Sometimes they come out of the sea, and wander about the shore in the shape of little hornless cows. They have, when in their own shape, a red cap, called a cohullen druith, usually covered with feathers. If this is stolen, they cannot again go down under the waves.

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