Appearing under many different guises, mermaids have a long, varied history dating back many centuries. Our modern day perception of mermaids is primarily based upon the mermaids and merrows of northern Europe, especially Scandinavia, Scotland and Ireland, as well as the sirens of ancient Greece. However, water spirits of some type exist in almost every culture situated near bodies of water, be they oceans, lakes, rivers or even wells and springs. This collection gathers together examples of the earliest scholarship on mermaids and their folkloric relatives, including several articles about their history from ancient times to the nineteenth century when mermaids captured the public and literary imagination during the folklore renaissance of the 1800s. In addition to the articles, over 150 tales and ballads about mermaids and other water spirits from around the world are compiled into this one convenient anthology. The emphasis is on the European mermaid in her many guises, but stories from Africa, Asia, and the Americas are also included. Whether you are a mermaid enthusiast or a student of folklore, this anthology offers a diverse array of tales with a unifying theme that both entertains and educates, all gathered for the first time in one helpful collection.