Monday, 6 September 2010

Encountering a mermaid

Ancient seafarers' use of manatees and dugongs has always interested me. Calling them mermaids seemed like a post-event narrative means by which lonely men naturalised having sex with animals. I imagined it as being rather akin to farm lads using sheep, but far more myth-shrouded, and involving much unconscious self-deception.

No records of mermaid sightings - and they are always serious and respectful - refers to intercourse. But this week Spoof Times has come up with an absolutely plausible and courtly account by an invented captain.

'Francois du Pragu's' elegantly written 'diary' recounts that following a 60-day voyage, his crew found a 'behemoth' just off the coast of Florida. He had it brought to his cabin. Then, supping wine as the ship rocked quietly at anchor in the moonlight, adorned his guest in his sister's frock and ...

'Henceforth I thought of it as a beast no more. I imagined the thing before me was in fact a stranger, simply a person from another land. People from this land favor a prostrate position rather than to sit or stand, I decided.
'They also do not appear as myself or anyone whom I know. The language of this person was unknown to me; however, we understood each other through instinct. Lastly, I decided that this stranger whom I was receiving in my quarters was, in fact, a lady...
'The creaking of the ship's timbers began to evoke a strange sonata in my head. I slid to the floor... As I neared, her eyes looked into mine once...then again...and then once more! Mine own eyes were wild with exultation.
'Finally, my will overcame my cowardice and I addressed her, my voice cracking and affected with emotion, "Do you wish to possess my love this night, my lady?"....

For more see 'Lost Sea Captain's Diary Tells of Encounter with 'Mermaid',by Peter_Otool at

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