Hello and welcome to the first ever blog tour here at Page Burner! I’ve been so excited for this post!
Warm welcome to author McCallum J Morgan and thank you for providing a guest post for the blog. I asked him to write a little about some mythology and inspirations behind his book, focusing on the elusive mermaid…
Parsifal is a young man with an incredible secret – only, he isn’t quite sure what that secret is. All he does know is that it is something to do with a mysterious object that looks like a compass, but behaves like something from a different Realm.
As he sets off on a rich and decadent adventure across Europe with his eccentric, explorer uncle, Parsifal comes to learn one more thing about the mysterious object – there are people prepared to kill him to get their hands on it.
Accompanying on their epic quest for a mythical city inhabited by mermaids, is the bewitching Lady Vasille, unlike any woman, Parsifal has ever come across. Eloquent, beautiful and pistol toting, the Lady Vasille casts a spell over Parsifal that is both enchanting and destructive.
The question is, who can you really trust when the real world starts to slide into a fairytale?
A high epic Edwardian fantasy adventure, including Mermaids and other supernatural and fantasy creatures.
First of all, thank you so much for featuring me on your blog, Jayd! And thanks for the topic. I love mythology and fairytales and I read far, far too many of them.
It’s a little confusing sifting the mermaid out of the sea of myth since she’s nearly synonymous with the Sirens and other sea nymphs. The French and Russian words for mermaid mirror the word Siren, for example. But I think that is part of her very nature, to be confusing, multifaceted, and many-formed. She is, after all, a personification of the sea and its fickleness.
Personally, I separate the mermaid from the Siren. The first description I was acquainted with of Sirens was that of human-headed birds. That’s how I distinguish them in “A Hole in the Ice.” (Note that there are no actual Sirens in my book. As far as we now know) The Sirens sing to lure sailors to their deaths whereas the mermaids’ compulsive power is silent, possibly psychic.
Another difference between Sirens and mermaids in myth is that the Siren is always deadly. The mermaid isn’t necessarily, because she’s the sea and the sea can smile as well as destroy. The mermaids in old stories would grant wishes to mortals who helped them. Some stories give them the power over the weather, thus they have the ability to give fair and foul winds. Now, in “A Hole in the Ice” I’ve given the power of weather to the Weather Casters (you’ll have to wait for book two to find out more about them).
In The Little Mermaid, mermaids don’t have souls. They turn into sea-foam when they die. Most of the mermaids didn’t care, but the Little Mermaid did. She wanted to become human so she could gain a soul. My mermaids are more sinister, rather than seeking to earn a soul of their own, they seize mortals and drag them away to the depths.
Old stories have them doing the same thing, but I was thinking of The Little Mermaid when I cooked mine up.
The sea is a vast place and there is always room for more versions and visions of mermaids, of sea nymphs, and of Sirens. They represent the seductive charm of the seas and the element of water and their many forms are a delight to explore.
Here are some book recommendations on the subject:
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Elves, Goblins, and Other Little Creatures by Pierre DuBois and illustrated by Claudine and Roland Sabatier. This is my ‘fairy bible,’ the book I go by for definitions of the little people. It’s a beautiful, entertaining collection of tales from all over the world retold in a charming style. Quite a bit of the content is definitely for an older audience, however. It doesn’t actually have the literal mermaid in it, but it has the Undine and many other water spirits.
- A Field Guide to the Little People by Nancy Arrowsmith and George Moorse. This one also has questionable content. The Little People are not very well behaved. This one has mermaids and mermen.
- The Enchanted World: Water Spirits by Time-Life Books. This book is full of fascinating legends. Chapter One begins with a wonderful tale of a fisherman named Lutey and the mermaid he finds stranded in a tide pool.
- Peter and the Starcatchers by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. This is a fun prequel to Peter Pan. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it, but some images just stick in my head: the mermaids for one and the pirate ship with the sail shaped like a brassiere…