Safari Blog

Greek Mythology: The Tale of the Mermaid

Written by Safari Ltd. | Oct 16, 2013


Mermaid Safari Ltd © Mythical Realms


Do you remember hearing about Odysseus and his men during the tale about the Cyclops? Well, this ancient myth includes them too. In Greek mythology, mermaids were often referred to as sirens. The beautiful creatures were sometimes depicted as being half bird also, but the ones that are most popular in myths were beautiful women with fish tails. As beautiful as these sirens were, they were not always the nicest creatures. The tale of these lovely sirens is told in the tale of the mermaid, in words for little ears. Want to make the story more interactive? Check out our Mythical Realms® collection for our beautiful mermaid figure.

The Tale of the Mermaid

On their long and treacherous journey home from war, Odysseus and his men had to work hard to overcome many obstacles. Odysseus met a beautiful goddess named Circe, who warned him of a rocky ledge he had to pass through. Lining the rocky shores of this passage were the beautiful sirens, a group of mermaid women who had the most beautiful singing voices. The only problem was that when they sang, men could not focus on anything else. They would become infatuated with the sirens and would be unable to concentrate on anything else, which would result in their ships crashing into the rocky shore lines and all of the men falling to their doom. Before Odysseus and his men came here, only one ship had ever safely navigated through the passage. In the adventure of the Argonauts, Jason and his men were lucky enough to have Orpheus, a very talented musician on board. When approaching the passage, Orpheus began to play music. His melodies were even more beautiful than the sirens' singing, and luckily the men could barely hear the sirens' voices over Orpheus’ music.

Unfortunately for Odysseus, he did not have a beautiful musician on board. Instead he devised a plan to safely make their way through this rocky passage. Before entering, each of his men stuffed their ears with beeswax so they could not hear. Odysseus then had his men tie him to the mast of the ship, where he could hear the music but would be unable to escape. The men navigated the ship through the rocky passage as quickly as they could, and Odysseus struggled to reach the sirens as they serenaded him, but was unable to move. Finally, Odysseus and his men made it through the passage and were able to remove the bees wax and untie their exhausted leader from the ship.

Have you heard other tales about mermaids? What is your favorite? What else could Odysseus and his men had done to avoid the rocky shores and get past the sirens? Share with us in the comment box below and remember to check out next week’s Greek Mythology post!