I've been collecting mermaids since I was fourteen and saw Splash. My collection ranges from expensive pieces of Lladro porcelain to a label from a can of "Chicken of the Sea". (I have also bought tins of caviar because they had pictures of mermaids on them, and fed the caviar to my cats; that stuff smells awful.) For a long time I thought I was the only mermaid collector in the world, until the Internet. There may not be very many of us, but we few are very devoted.

"She pines sometimes, I think, for her great grey ocean. I hate to keep her penned up in this tank, but I know of nowhere else to put her. I think I shall turn her loose some day when we are showing along the seacoast. Yes, I shall take her out in the dawn when no one else is about and carry her down to the sea. Waist-deep in the water I'll go with her in my arms, and I'll put her down gently and let her swim away. And I shall stand there, an odd, foolish-looking old man, waist-deep in the waer, mourning over the beauty I could touch and see but never completely comprehend; and, if anyone sees me there, waist-deep at dawn in the water, surely they will think me mad. But do you suppose that after she swims out a little ways she will turn and wave at me? Do you suppose she will blow a little kiss to me? Oh God, if I could only have seen her when I was a young man! The contemplation of her beauty might have changed my whole life. Beauty can do that, can't it?
"Yes, I think I will take her down to the sea and free her. And I will stand there and watch her swim out into the tide. But I wonder if she will turn and wave at me. Do you think she will?"
~Charles G. Finney, The Circus of Dr. Lao

"The seer said, 'I saw a mermaid last night. You remember, there was a half moon and a thin drifting mist. There was color in the night, not like the black and gray and white of an ordinary night. Down at the end of the beach a shelf of rock reaches out, and the tide was low so that there was a smooth bed of kelp. She swam to the edge and then churned her tail, like a salmon leaping a rapid. And then she lay on the kelp bed and made dancing figures with her white arms and hands. She didn't go away until the rising tide covered the kelp bed.'
"'Was she a dream? Did you imagine her?'
"'I don't know. But if I did I'm proud that I could imagine anything so beautiful.'"
~John Steinbeck, Sweet Thursday

"I'll never forget the first time I saw [Malayan girls]... We sailed into a little harbor about sundown. The girls all came swimming out, flowere in their long hair, singing and laughing up at us from the water. Brown skin? Seemed like gold to me! A richer, deeper gold than any metal! I can see that gold shimmering now on their wet bodies as they swam like mermaids to the rail and climbed on board, laughing at us like a lot of shameless imps."
~The Lost Patrol (movie, 1934)

"Do you approve of my telescope?"
"It is most elegant."
"I use it to keep an eye out for mermaids." ~The French Lieutenant's Woman (movie)

"I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living."
~Anais Nin

"We are our own harshest critics and most severe task-masters; we are also our own mermaids who will wreathe our limbs with seaweed and draw us down into the waters of madness." ~Sybil Korff Vincent, The Female Gothic

"[In Paris t]here are streets of doubtful gentility in which you would not like to live, and other streets in which you would willingly reside. Some of them, like the Rue Montmartre, are like mermaids - lovely heads, but fish-tails at the other extremity."
~Balzac, History of the Thirteen

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