Yes, I know, mermaids. Something straight out of folklore and old wives tales.
However I have always loved stories of old mythical creatures. The mermaid is up there with the best of them. We all have heard the stories of them in
the sea, luring seaman to their watery grave.
This story is a bit different though.
The Karoo is a massive semi desert area in South Africa. It is divided into the Great Karoo and the Little Karoo. These areas where submerged under
the sea about 250 million years ago, which caused it to have the huge mountain ranges and cave systems we see there today. It is in the Little Karoo
where many locals have claimed to have seen a mermaid sitting at a mountain pool.
Now, the Little Karoo is also the home of the Khoi San people, also known as the Bushmen. These people have lived there for centuries, and can live
and survive in a desert area forever. It is these San people that have recorded, like many tribes over the world, via their rock paintings, the images
of strange fish tailed humanoids, as part of their mythology.
It could be argued that it is merely a symbol of the importance of water to them. But then the question arises, how or where did these bushman, living
in such an arid area, ever see a fishtailed humanoid? It indicates that the myth of mermaids have been in their mythology for a long time.
Some argue that the pictures depict a swallow, which is also associated with rain and water. African folklore are full of images that are associated
with water, which is understandable. However, these fish tailed images are rather unique in that regard, and the tales and stories that goes with it
even more so.
There is a popular story still being told even today, of a local farmer near a place called Molensrivier. It goes that one day a bushman told this
farmer a story of evil water spirits, lurking in mountain pools of Eseljagtspoort. It would take on the form of a woman, luring passersby and then
drowning them in the pool.
I find it interesting that the people in such an arid desert like area, have tales of the legendary mermaids.
All a myth or not, I found the stories relating to these desert mermaids rather interesting.