Havmand

Fish-tailed Merbeing of Northern Europe.

Etymology: Danish and Norwegian, "sea man."

Variant names: Havfrue (for the female), Havma3ur (Icelandic), Maremind ("mermaid"), Marmaele ("sea children"), Marmennill (Icelandic), Meerfrau (German), Meerminnen (Dutch), Meerweib (German), Merminne (German), Merriminni (German).

Physical description: Green or black hair. Bearded. Handsome. The female is beautiful, with long brown hair.

Behavior: Males are friendly. Females are often friendly but sometimes predatory and seductive. Likes to comb its hair. Sits on submerged rocks with its baby but jumps into the sea when approached. Presages stormy weather. Said to gather the souls of the dead.

Habitat: The sea or on rocky cliffs along the shore.

Distribution: Scandinavia; Germany. Significant sightings: Many of these creatures are said to have appeared once near Assens, Fyn County, Denmark.

Sources: Erik Pontoppidan, The Natural History ofNorway (London: A. Linde, 1755), pp. 186-195; Benjamin Thorpe, Northern Mythology (London: Edward Lumley, 1851), vol. 2, pp. 27-28, 76-77, 170-174; W. A. Craigie, Scandinavian Folklore (Paisley, Scotland: Alexander Gardner, 1896), pp. 220-231; Nelson Annandale, The Faroes and Iceland (Oxford: Clarendon, 1905); Gwen Benwell and Arthur Waugh, Sea Enchantress (London: Hutchinson, 1961), pp. 180-182.

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