It is Day W in the A to Z Blog Challenge and I’m excited to share some interesting places and books which feature mermaids that start with the letter W.
First stop is Warsaw where a mermaid named Syrenka is the city’s symbol. There are a number of stories about this mermaid and her acts of heroism.
One legend tells of a time when Prince Kazimierz became lost in a marsh at night. Fortunately, a mermaid made an appearance and led the prince home by shooting burning arrows into the sky. The marshland became the city of Warsaw and in gratitude, the mermaid was made the city’s emblem.
In another story, the Syrenka and her twin sister traveled far from their home. The two became separated while crossing the Baltic Sea. Syrenka swam down the Vistula River while her sister swam to Denmark. Syrenka set about freeing fish from nets. Fishermen set out to find the vandal and found the mermaid. They were enchanted by her beautiful singing voice and vowed to protect her. A greedy merchant kidnapped her with the plan to exhibit her and make money. One of the fishermen heard her cries from a shed and rescued her. Filled with gratitude, Syrenka made it her life’s mission to protect Warsaw.
If you are interested in knowing more about the Mermaid of Warsaw you may enjoy reading
The Mermaid of Warsaw and Other Tales from Poland by Richard Monte (author) and Paul Hess (illustrator)
A place that is high on my travel list is Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida. Founded in 1947 as a roadside attraction on the site of a very deep natural spring, Weeki Wachee Springs is famous for its live Mermaid Show.
Weeki Wachee Springs is now a Florida State Park. Here is the park information in case you are interested in visiting the park and seeing the show.
Here is a link to the fascinating history of Weeki Wachee Springs.
Swim to me by Betsy Carter is a coming-of-age novel that follows seventeen year old Delores Walker who leaves home and heads to Florida to chase her dream of becoming a mermaid in the show at Weeki Wache Spring. At first she feels like a fish out of water in this world of sequins and aquatic fantasy, but she learns to survive and thrive in this wacky world.
Finally, I must add The Water Babies by Reverend Charles Kingsley which was written in 1863 for his fourth son. There are many editions illustrated by artists including Jessie Willcox Smith and Arthur Rackham. My vintage copy is a 1930 Children’s Bookshelf edition with illustrations by Ethel F. Everett.
The back flap copy reads This is a children’s story, written by a man who knew the habits of fishes and flowers, and birds and beasts and insects. It is a fanciful tale of babies who had strange adventures with dragonflies and otters, with water ouzels and lobsters. The scenes are in old England, with a background of moors and heaths, A most alluring book for boys and girls.
Actually, it is a most alluring book for anyone who loves stories with characters who venture into the water.
Have you ever read The Water Babies?