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9 mermaid tales from around the world

It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that Disney’s The Little Mermaid has been somewhat idealized from the original story, yet what you might not know is how many different cultures throughout human history have stories about mysterious people of the sea.

Mental_Floss’ Gillian Finklea explores the often dark world of mermaid legend, from monkey mouths to winged creatures. Here’s one we wouldn’t want to run into no matter what promises it held.


Vastly different than the Western version of a beautiful mermaid, this monster found in Japanese folklore is described as a giant fish with a human face and a monkey’s mouth, and sometimes even horns and fangs. In a serious conflict of interest, anyone who eats the Ningyo will have eternal youth and beauty—but catching one often brings terrible storms and misfortune to entire villages.

Full story at Mental_Floss.

Oddly universal legends.

Graphics credit: Canva

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