Catching a Mermaid


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The Fishing Gazette 1887

The following legend is given publicity in the first number of Scottish Notes and Queries, and we commend its consideration to those of our readers who may be sojourning by the briny deep one of these during the summer, and who may be fortunate enough to "hook delightful demoiselles "early in the morning".

In the days long past, one morning early, a man named Campbell strayed down to the sea beach, to the spot where the harbour at Portmahomack now is. He saw a mermaid in the water, gave pursuit, and caught her. She struggled hard to get free, but her captor was too strong for her and held her fast. She then had recourse to pleading, and Campbell, at last, consented to let her go on three conditions: First, that there should never be a broken wave in the pool where she was caught; second, that not one of his descendants should ever be drowned; third, that his descendants should always have plenty of this world's goods. She evidently gave her promise true,' for the following are given as consequent facts.

First, the pool in which the mermaid was caught is now the harbour of Portmahomack and it is a fact, according to observation, that a broken wave has never been seen in the harbour. No matter how high the wave may be, the moment it strikes the outside of the pier it falls flat.

Second, so far as known, not a single descendant of Campbell has been drowned, though many of them have followed the occupation of fisherman or sailor. A good many years ago a ship was wrecked in the Bay of Aberdeen, and all on board perished with the exception of one man, whose mother's name was Campbell, and a descendant of. Campbell who caught the mermaid. He was unable to swim and had to float for an hour before being picked up by the lifeboat.

Third, those who have sprung from Campbell have never been known to have fallen into poverty and always seemed to find some money if it was really needed.