The Havfrue, also known as the Mermaid, is a mythical creature found in the folklore of many maritime cultures around the world. The word “Havfrue” translates to “sea maiden” or “sea wife” in Danish and Norwegian.

In general folklore and mythology, the Havfrue is typically depicted as a creature with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish. They are often portrayed as beautiful and enchanting beings, with long flowing hair and mesmerizing voices.

Artistic depiction of a Havfrue, singing on a rock, the sea her home

Physical characteristics

Upper Human Body: Mermaids typically have the upper body of a human, resembling a woman. They are often portrayed as beautiful and alluring, with long flowing hair, expressive eyes, and graceful features.

Lower Fish Body: Below the waist, mermaids have the body of a fish, including a tail fin instead of legs.

Glistening Scales: The scales covering a mermaid’s tail may vary in color and appearance, ranging from shimmering silver and iridescent blue to vibrant hues of green and gold.

Jewelry and Adornments: In some depictions, mermaids may wear jewelry or adornments crafted from pearls, shells, and other treasures found beneath the sea.


The origin of the mermaid myth can be traced back to ancient folklore and mythology from various cultures around the world. Mermaid-like creatures appear in the mythology and folklore of civilizations such as Ancient Greece, Rome, Assyria, and Mesopotamia, as well as in the folklore of many other maritime cultures.

One of the earliest known depictions of a mermaid-like creature comes from ancient Assyria, dating back to around 1000 BCE. In Greek mythology, sea nymphs known as Nereids were often depicted as half-women, half-fish beings. These early representations laid the groundwork for the mermaid archetype that would later become widespread in European folklore.

Havfrue, a vision of beauty and melancholy

powers and abilities

Swimming and Agility: Mermaids are exceptional swimmers and are known for their agility and grace in the water.

Breath-Holding: Mermaids are believed to have the ability to hold their breath for extended periods, allowing them to remain submerged underwater for long durations.

Enchanting Voice: Mermaids are often depicted as possessing captivating voices that can mesmerize and enchant those who hear them. Their songs are said to be irresistible, luring sailors and travelers to their underwater realms.

Healing Powers: In some folklore traditions, mermaids are believed to possess healing abilities. Their touch or presence is said to have the power to heal ailments and injuries.

Telepathy and Communication: Mermaids are sometimes depicted as having the ability to communicate telepathically with sea creatures and other beings of the ocean.

Shape-Shifting: In some stories, mermaids have the ability to change their form, allowing them to take on human-like appearances or transform into other sea creatures.

Immortality or Longevity: In certain folklore traditions, mermaids are believed to possess immortality or greatly extended lifespans, living for centuries beneath the waves.

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