"This Mermaid's Tail"

Photographer  ‑  Frank Carroll

I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.

Anais Nin
Orio the fisherman one night netted Melusina, a mermaid with a gorgeous fishtail. Entranced by her beauty, Orio asked her to marry him. She agreed, but to have human legs she must relinquish the freedom of the seas as well as her tail. Their agreement was that Orio would never visit her on a Saturday, until they were married. But being a man, Orio could not keep his word, and went to sea to meet her on the third Saturday. A huge black sea snake emerged from the rocks, and Orio fled. The serpent hissed after him, 'Idiot! A curse transforms me into a serpent each Saturday, but when we marry the curse will be broken'. The marriage proceeded and they had three children together. One day, Melusina fell sick, to die, and was buried at sea. Orio was desperate. Now he had to mind three children, cook, and clean, but he soon realised that these chores were always done for him on a Saturday while he fished. Orio thought that perhaps there was a kind neighbour. One Saturday he returned early to find a huge snake in the kitchen,and he promptly cut off its head with the firewood axe. From that moment, the children and house were neglected. A distraught Orio realised that he had prevented his mermaid from ever returning to manage his household. - A legend of Venice