Being half-human, half-fish, we humans tend to believe that mermaids live unhappy little lives, torn between two worlds. This, of course, is quite small-minded of us.
Most mermaids are, in fact, quite well-adjusted and extraordinarily happy. They live quiet, uneventful lives on land, all the while having glorious adventures in the sea.
This is the story of a girl who befriended one such mermaid.
|'The Mermaid' 1901, by John Williams Waterhouse|
“A washerwoman!” you might exclaim, quite aghast, “Where on earth is the glamour in that?”
There is very little earthly glamour in that.
However, a mermaid is not at all earthly, and any task where a mermaid may play with water is a delightful one for her.
Some people don’t think very much of a washerwoman, and save their smiles for CEO’s and ladies with very expensive handbags. They drop off their washing with barely a word, never imagining the sort of adventures a washerwomen may have when she isn’t washing.
Thankfully our heroine, a wee girl named Clover, isn’t like that, or this story would be dull indeed.
Clover thought the washerwoman very sweet and so she saved her biggest smiles just for her.
Every day or so she brought the washing for her mother, and would stay to watch Wellesley the washerwoman wash. Wellesley worked with a happy expression on her face and she would sing sea shanties as the water sloshed and sudsed.
Wellesley told her small friend all the legends of the sea and Clover listened raptly. Sometimes Clover would help with the washing, and other times she would make them seaweed tea.
Then a fine day arrived when the wind off the sea was particularly warm and salty. Wellesley laid down her washing.
“I cannot keep away from the sea on a day so fine as this,” she said, holding out her hand to Clover.
Clover was just as surprised as any little girl would be whose washerwoman turned out to be a mermaid, but the sea soon swallowed up her surprise as Wellesley the washerwoman mermaid led her on and on.
It is true that a human can breathe underwater so long as he or she is with a mermaid, which made Clover’s adventure all the better.
Wellesley and Clover swam past shipwrecks and out beyond the reef where the coral was humming a happy song. They dove through schools of fish and danced a reel with the sea turtles. They surfed on a ray and played tag with the whales. They tickled the dolphins and weeded an octopus’ garden. They stalked a herd of wild sea horses in the Great Kelp Forest, and they walked on the surface of the moon’s reflection.
Finally, somewhere near midnight, their adventure was over and Wellesley happily returned to her washing while Clover went home to her bed.
As the years went by and Clover grew, she had many more wonderful adventures in the sea with her mermaid friend, and all because she liked to smile at the woman who did their washing.
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