Every Mermaid’s Wish
Among mermaids, there’s a prevalent wish:
To shed their parts that resemble a fish;
For often they worry,
That with rice and curry,
Their finned bottoms make a fine seafood dish.
All sea-faring peoples have mermaid legends. The original stories come from ancient Assyria, where the region’s chief fertility deity, Atargatis, distraught at having accidentally killed her lover, Hadad, flings herself into the sea. Her intention is to transform into a fish, but her beauty is such that only her legs change. From the waist up she remains intact. Her cult spread as far as Greece and Rome, where she is said to have given rise to the worship of Aphrodite/Venus.