We all know the story of the little mermaid. The perky, curious little mermaid trades her voice to an evil sea witch for the chance to find her prince charming up where the people are. And they all live happily ever after, right?Well, actually, the original Hans Christian Andersen tale is a lot darker. Some notable differences are that when the mermaid gives up her voice, she has her tongue cut out, and undergoes a violently painful transformation process, and continues to suffer as she dances with the prince on land. She even ends up killing herself at the end of the story once her prince has fallen in love with the wrong girl, returning to the sea as sea foam.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Pretty dark stuff, eh? Well that's nothing compared to some of the twisted mermaid tales that have come out of cultures around the world for thousands of years. From vengeful shape shifters haunting the marshes of Norway to ugly, mysterious human-fish creatures terrorizing the Maori people of New Zealand, these mermaid tales will change the way you think about the friendly, finned fairy tale characters forever.
So what are you waiting for? KEEP READING to learn about the origins of mermaid lore from around the world!