Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

A Tale of Two Mermaids

Staithes, a charming fishing village known for its historic harbour and cliff-clinging houses, is also the setting for a peculiar old tale1Rhea, Nicholas, “Mermaid’s curse came true” 22nd October 2010 Darlington and Stockton Times https://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/8469793.mermaids-curse-came-true/.

During a fierce storm, with local ships sheltering in the bay, two mermaids battled enormous waves until they were exhausted. Seeing the lights of the village by Cowbar Nab, they struggled to shore, where they collapsed in sleep.

By morning, surrounded by wary villagers, the mermaids were seized and imprisoned despite their pleas. Treated harshly, they were held for four months before the villagers grew more accustomed to them. During a beach party, the mermaids escaped, cursing the village as they swam away.

Their curse foretold that “the sea shall flow to Jackdaws’ Well.” In time, coastal erosion fulfilled this prophecy, destroying homes and Jackdaws’ Well itself.

This tale is now nearly forgotten, and Staithes welcomes visitors. Some wonder if the “mermaids” were merely seals. Curiously, residents of Cowbar are still called Jackdaws by those in Staithes.







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