Mermaid in the Pool


“Can I say good night to the mermaid in the pool?” Lily asked.

“I’ll take you out,” Myla said. “We don’t want you to go out to see the Old Mermaid in the pool without one of us going with you.”


“Because the water is deep,” Maria said.

“The Old Mermaids said they would teach me to swim,” Lily said.

“Oh really?” Maria asked.

“The Old Mermaids come to me in my dreams. And they’re teaching me.”

“Well, we’d feel better if you only went out to the pool to see the mermaid with one of us,” Myla said. “And don’t ever try to swim without one of us there, even if the Old Mermaids have taught you to swim.”

Lily nodded. “Okay.”

The girl took Myla’s hand, and they walked through the living room out to the patio. The pool light was the only illumination. The two of them walked to the edge of the pool and looked down at the mermaid. After a few moments, Lily began nodding, as if she were listening to someone speak.

Myla sat near the edge of the pool. Lily sat next to her.

“What are you listening to?” Myla asked.

“The Old Mermaids,” she said.

“Oh? What are they saying?” Myla asked.

“Not to be afraid,” Lily said. “They sing to me while I sleep.”

“What kind of song?”

“A not-be-afraid song,” Lily said.

“That’s good,” Myla said. “Then you probably don’t need what they left in the wash for you.”

“What is it?” Lily asked.

Myla carefully took the dreamcatcher earring from her pocket. She handed it to Lily.

“This is called a dreamcatcher, Lily my Lily,” Myla said. “If you put it in your room, it’ll take away all the bad dreams. A Native American healer gave one like it to the Old Mermaids when they first came to the sanctuary. It was all new to them, and some of them were afraid. Sister Laughs A Lot Mermaid, who was the youngest, had bad dreams. When the medicine man gave her this dreamcatcher, the bad dreams went away.”

Lily nodded solemnly.

“Sometimes when I open my eyes in the dark, I see it all moving,” Lily whispered.

“What’s moving?” Myla asked.

Lily whispered, “Everything. Like when we crossed the river. The water pulled on me. And there were flashes of light in it. I couldn’t keep a hold of Momma’s hand.”

“That must have been very scary,” Myla said. “Have I told you much about Grand Mother Yemaya Mermaid?”

“A little.”

“Well, she is the wisest of wise,” Myla said. “She is one of the ones who is a moon beauty, like your great grandmother. And her skin is as dark as night. Darker. She is so grand that she had two tails before the Old Sea dried up.”

“The Old Mermaids don’t have tails any more?” Lily asked.

“Well, that’s a good question,” Myla said. “They do and they don’t. If you were to see them most days, you would not see a tail. You would see only their legs. But other times, if the light is just right or if you are a bit sleepy, you might be able to see the glitter of their tales--as though they are wearing beautiful gowns--with flashes of color and light. In a good way, not like your scary flashes. And if you wake up and the darkness frightens you, remember Grand Mother Yemaya Mermaid is there with you. She is the darkness that protects you. Those flashes of color and light are just her mermaid tails.”

from Church of the Old Mermaids

African Mermaid from the American Museum Natural History's Mythic Creature Exhibit showing through January 2008.


Anonymous said...

We all need a “A not-be-afraid song” at times. I love that whole idea. The Grand Mother Yemaya story is soothing, too, and I shall look for her in the night.

I've enjoyed this story addition, thank you so much!

Kim Antieau said...

Yep. I need to be humming that song half the time! Thanks, Junie Moon.