The Mermaid and the Woodcutter

I discovered the following artwork and fable on my Internet travels.



A woodcutter had been hard at work all day, cutting down trees to sell for firewood. It was nearing sunset, but he wanted to cut down one last tree before going home for the night. Coming across a sturdy elm that grew beside a deep pool, he set to work. But he was so tired that, after a few strokes, his ax slipped out of his hands and fell with a splash into the deep black water.

“How could I be so careless!” the woodcutter cried. “I’ll never see my ax again!” And he stood by the water in despair.

Now, a mermaid happened to be nearby, and heard the woodcutter’s lamentations. Quick as thought, the creature appeared before him and asked him what was wrong.

“I’ve lost my only ax in the water,” the woodcutter groaned. “I can’t afford to buy another, and now my children will go hungry. What can I do?”,” the mermaid replied, and she dived to the bottom of the pool. When she came back to the surface, she held in her hand an ax made of pure gold.

“Is this the ax you lost?” the mermaid asked the woodcutter.

“No, that one isn’t mine,” the honest man answered.

The mermaid dived again to the bottom of the pool and came up with a shining silver ax. “Then this one must be your,” she said.

“No, that one’s not mine, either,” sighed the woodcutter. “Mine was just a plain iron ax with a wooden handle.”

For the third time the mermaid dived to the bottom of the pool, and this time she came up with an old, worn iron ax.

“That’s the one!” cried the woodcutter joyfully. “How can I ever thank you?”

“My friend,” said the mermaid, “your honesty deserves a reward. Take all three axes home with you, and your children will never go hungry again.”

When the delighted woodcutter reached home, he told his family what had happened.

Now, the woodcutter had a brother who, when he heard the story, said to himself, “Why should my foolish brother have better luck than me? Tomorrow I’ll try the same trick, and I’ll come home wealthy too!”

The next day the woodcutter’s brother went to the same pool and promptly threw his ax into the water. Immediately he began weeping and wailing, calling on the mermaid to help him. The mermaid appeared and, diving to the bottom of the pool, brought up a golden ax. “Is this the one you lost?” she asked.

“That’s the one!” the woodcutter’s brother cried.

But the mermaid let the golden ax fall back beneath the water.

“For your dishonesty,” she said, “you’ll have no ax at all. “And then she vanished, leaving the woodcutter’s brother poorer than ever.

Today marks the end of the Mondays for Mermaids series. Thanks for following!


Medium-Budget Gift Ideas for Wannabe Mermaids

I had fun shopping for these gifts on the Cafe Press website. Click on images for links and prices that range from $30 to $100.


Mermaid Art Wall Calendar - $30 CDN

Mermaid Art Wall Calendar – $30 CDN

Charm Bracelet - $34.50 CDN

Charm Bracelet – $34.50 CDN

Marine Mermaid Throw Pillow - $37.50 CDN

Mermaid Throw Pillow – $37.50 CDN

Mermaid Wall Clock - $37.50 CDN

Mermaid Wall Clock – $37.50 CDN

Clive Pearl Mermaid IPad Shirt - $45 CDN

Mermaid Shirt – $45 CDN

Clive Pearl iPhone Case

Clive Pearl iPhone Case – $45 CDN

Fantasy Art Bathmat - $52.50 CDN

Fantasy Art Bathmat – $52.50 CDN

Light Pajamas - $60.00

Light Pajamas – $60 CDN

Ruby Mermaid Throw Blanket - $73.50 CDN

Ruby Mermaid Throw Blanket – $73.50 CDN

Vintage French Mermaid Shower Curtain - $97.50 CDN

Vintage French Mermaid Shower Curtain – $97.50 CDN

Low-Budget Gift Ideas for Wannabe Mermaids

I am featuring several low-budget gifts for the wannabe mermaid on your Christmas list. Click on images for links and prices.

Friends in the United States – Your prices will be even lower!

Mermaid Charm Bangle Bracelet - $5.99 CDN

Mermaid Charm Bangle Bracelet – $5.99 CDN

Little Mermaid Gift Box - $5.99 CDN

Little Mermaid Gift Box – $5.99 CDN

Mermaid Jewelry Stand - $6.49 CDN

Mermaid Jewelry Stand – $6.49 CDN

Little Mermaid Pillow - $15.99 CDN

Little Mermaid Pillow – $15.99 CDN

Funny Disney Coffee Mug - $17.99 CDN

Funny Disney Coffee Mug – $17.99 CDN

Save the Mermaids Tote Bag - $20.50 CDN

Save the Mermaids Tote Bag – $20.50 CDN

The Little Mermaid Umbrella - $17.99 CDN

The Little Mermaid Umbrella – $17.99 CDN

Incense Fragrance Burner - $23.49 CDN

Incense Fragrance Burner – $23.49 CDN

Canvas Print - The Mermaid $24 CDN

Canvas Print – The Mermaid $24 CDN

Disney Princess Towel/Poncho - $29.95 CDN

Disney Princess Towel/Poncho – $29.95 CDN

Treat yourself to eBooks of Between Land and Sea and The Coming of Arabella. Follow the inspiring journey of Isabella of the Mediterranean Kingdom from Malta to the fog-drenched shores of southwest England to small-town Ontario to the desert paradise of Sedona, Arizona.

eBook - $3.09 CDN

eBook – $3.09 CDN

eBook - $3.91 CDN

eBook – $3.91 CDN

Next Week: Medium-Budget Gifts for Wannabe Mermaids

Mermaid Hoaxes in 2012 and 2013

On May 27, 2012, Discovery’s Animal Planet channel aired Mermaids: The Body Found. The documentary featured video of a mermaid sighting in the Greenland Sea and an exclusive interview with former NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) scientist Dr. Paul Robertson.

The show followed a scientific team’s investigative efforts to uncover the source behind mysterious underwater recordings. It opened with video footage of a mermaid perched on a rock. Later in the program, a webbed hand touches the observation window of a submersible craft manned by a team of deep sea divers. As the creature swims away, the divers catch glimpses of an alien-like face.

The program attracted the network’s biggest audience in its history: 1.9 million viewers.

A sequel broadcast, Mermaids: The New Evidence, aired May 26, 2013 and reached a record 3.6 million viewers. Its popularity drove the network to the number one slot in the key demographic among 25-to-54-year-olds. After the broadcast, over 1.5 million streams of mermaid-related video surfaced online.

But not all is as it seems.

Both documentaries are hoaxes. In the closing credits, disclaimers flash briefly claiming the programs are hoaxes. Actors played the part of scientists and all video was digitally manufactured. NOAA released the following statement on their website: “Mermaids: The New Evidence is just entertainment. No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”

While some viewers were amused, many felt the network should have admitted the programs were speculative science fiction from the start. When confronted, Executive Producer Charlie Foley countered: “We wanted people to approach the story with a sense of possibility and a sense of wonder. Hopefully, that’s what Mermaids allowed viewers to do…allowed them to suspend their disbelief.”


10 Interesting Facts About Splash

I like to compare the making of this film to the story of The Little Engine That Could.

When producer Brian Grazer pitched the film, he was repeatedly turned down. At the time, Warner Brothers had lined up Warren Beatty to play the star in another mermaid movie. To sweeten a prospective deal with Walt Disney Productions, director Ron Howard promised to film Splash quickly and cheaply.

Howard kept his promise and produced the film on an $8 million budget. Principal photography began on March 1, 1983 and was completed by June 30, 1983.

Splash grossed $6,174,059 in its opening weekend and finished its domestic run with $69,821,334, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of 1984.

As for the film starring Warren Beatty…it eventually fell through.


Here are 10 interesting facts about this popular film:

1. Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Kevin Kline, Bill Murray, and John Travolta were considered for the lead role before the producers decided upon Tom Hanks.

2. Daryl Hannah was Producers’ Choice #11. Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lynne Frederick, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Genie Francis, Melanie Griffith, Fiona Fullerton, Diane Lane, Kathleen Turner, and Sharon Stone turned down the part of Madison.

3. The beach where Tom Hanks first encounters the nude mermaid is on the former Gorda Cay in the Bahamas.

4. During childhood, Daryl Hannah swam “mermaid” style with her legs bound together.

5. The elaborately designed mermaid tail by Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Robert Short was fully functional, allowing Daryl to swim so fast her safety team could not keep pace with her.

6. The mermaid tail had to be glued onto Daryl before being hand painted, a detailed process that took eight hours. To avoid using the bathroom, Daryl ate and drank very little. She stayed in her water tank and accepted bits of food thrown by the cast and crew.

7. Unfortunately, the tail decomposed very quickly after the movie’s release. Despite its decomposed state, it was put on display in a glass showcase at Planet Hollywood in Orlando, Florida.

8. The name “Madison” rose in popularity soon after the release of Splash. In 1990, it was the 216th most popular name for girls. Five years later, it rose to #29 and by 2000 had become the third most popular female name in the United States.

9. Well received by critics, Splash earned a 92% “Fresh” rating from the website Rotten Tomatoes.

10. Over three decades later, Daryl is still recognized by fans (many of whom have been named after her character Madison) of the 1984 romantic comedy.

November is Manatee Awareness Month

Manatees are large marine mammals that inhabit shallow rivers, canals, saltwater bays, and coastal areas. A migratory species, they spend their winters in the Florida waters and move as far north as Massachusetts and as far west as Texas during the summers.


A bit of history

In his first journey to the Americas, Christopher Columbus caught glimpses of three sea creatures he first believed to be mermaids but had some doubts. He wrote in his journal: “…distinctly saw three mermaids which rose well out of the sea; but they are not so beautiful as they are said to be, for their faces had some masculine traits.”

Manatees must surface to breathe air. They are known to rise out of the sea like the alluring sirens of Greek mythology and often perform “tail stands” in shallow water. From a distance, they could be mistaken for humans. Their forelimbs contain five sets of finger-like bones, and their neck vertebrae allows them to turn their heads.

Interesting manatee facts

Manatees have a higher gray matter to white matter ratio in their brains than any other mammal known, including humans.

Primarily herbivores, manatees can consume fifteen to twenty percent of their body weight in vegetation daily.

While manatees can travel up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts, they usually travel three to five miles per hour. Along the coast, they travel in water that is 10 to 16 feet deep and they are rarely seen in areas over 20 feet deep.

Manatees are not sexually mature until they are about five years old. During breeding, a single female (cow) will be followed by a dozen or more males (bulls), forming a “mating herd.” The gestation period is about a year and mothers nurse their young for one to two years.

They have a lifespan of about 60 years with no known natural enemies. A certain percentage of manatee mortality can be attributed to natural causes such as cold stress, gastrointestinal disease, pneumonia, and other diseases.

Sources of danger

In the past, manatees were exploited for their meat, fat, and hides. But the most significant challenge faced today is the loss of habitat. Increased coastal development and poaching have significantly reduced the size of the manatee population. Experts believe that pollution in these areas may also have an effect on manatee mortality, as chemicals introduced into their habitats can lead to impaired immune systems.

A high number of manatee deaths result from collisions with boats when the mammals are surfacing for air. They are not fast enough to elude the boat propellers and suffer from fatal gashes. Other accidents include entanglement in crab trap lines and ingestion of fish hooks and litter.

Important dates for manatees

1893 – Florida is declared a manatee sanctuary and manatee hunting is illegal.

1907 – Law is revised to impose a fine of $500 and/or six months of jail time for molesting or killing a manatee.

1966 – The manatee became one of 78 original species listed in the Endangered Species Preservation Act.

1972 – The manatee was designated a marine mammal protected under the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. This act prevented the removal of any marine mammal and imposed a fine of up to $2000 and/or one year in jail.

1973 – The Endangered Species Preservation Act was revised to increase federal protection of manatees.

1976 – Sea World of Florida began a Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.

1978 – The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act amended the 1907 state law. Florida became an official refuge and sanctuary for the marine mammals. The regulation of boat speeds in areas of manatee inhabitation was now allowed.

1979 – Florida Governor Bob Graham established the first state-designated protection zones and made November Manatee Awareness Month.

1980 – Congress allocated $100,000 to the Marine Mammal Commission and the development of the initial Federal Manatee Recovery Plan.

1981 – Bob Graham and Jimmy Buffett formed the Save the Mantee Committee, the precursor of the Save the Manatee Club, which sought to protect manatees and their habitats.

1996 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revised the Manatee Recovery Plan Objectives to include the following: assess and minimize causes of manatee mortality and injury, protect essential habitat, determine and monitor the status of the manatee population, coordinate and oversee cooperative recovery work.

Learn more about the Save the Manatee Club’s mission here.

Loving These Mermaid Tips

Shortly after starting the Mondays for Mermaids series, I set up a Google alert for “mermaids.” Each day, I receive links to the latest mermaid posts or events. I have used some of the information and have bookmarked links for future reference. But when I received the link to Kayleigh Dray’s post, “23 Tips for the Ultimate Little Mermaid Wedding,” I couldn’t resist sharing.

Not to worry if wedding bells are in the distant future (or past). You can incorporate many of these tips into your next special event.

Visit the post here.

Here’s a sneak peek at three of my favorites…


Mermaid Humor

While fishing, three men catch a mermaid who begs to be set free in return for granting each of them a wish.

The first man shakes his head and says, “Okay, if you can really grant wishes, then double my IQ.”

The mermaid says, “Done.”

Suddenly, the man starts reciting Shakespeare flawlessly.

The second man is so amazed, he says to the mermaid, “Triple my IQ.”

The mermaid says, “Done.”

The man starts to spout out all the mathematical solutions to problems that have been stumping the scientists.

Impressed, the third man decides to one-up his friends. “Quintuple my IQ.”

The mermaid looks at him and says, “You know, I don’t usually try to change people’s minds when they make a wish, but I really wish that you would reconsider.”

The man is adamant. “No, I want you to increase my IQ times five, and if you don’t do it, I won’t set you free.”

“Please,” says the mermaid, “You don’t understand what you’re asking, it will change your entire view on the universe. Won’t you ask for something else….a million dollars, anything?”

But no matter what the mermaid said, the third man insisted on having his IQ increased by five times its usual power. So the mermaid sighed and said, “Done.”

And the third man is transformed into a woman.