The unreachable skies over ancient Egypt, Greece and countless other cultures were home to gods and goddesses like Ra, Isis, and Hera. But the vast, unfathomable seas also held their share of gods and goddesses, like the Kraken, Triton and Poseidon. Not to mention the legions of other, more numerous deep sea inhabitants like sirens and mermaids.
Mermaids are gentle and enchanting beings of the deep. They are benevolent and eager to help sailors and other sea travelers along their way. Maybe that is why they have always been portrayed as beautiful women, half human and half fish. And because of their goodness, mermaids could never be confused with sirens, who live on land and are by nature evil and mischievous, luring sailors into treacherous waters with their irresistible singing.
Since ancient times, seafaring men have surely been shocked and disappointed to find that the graceful female swimmer they've spotted is actually a fish from the waist down. (over)
And yet, what a magical experience to be bewitched by a charming, helpful mermaid.
p.s. The next time you run across a sand dollar washed up on the beach, consider that it might be mermaid money.