A mermaid is a creature that can live in the sea but also survive above the water. It has the tail of a fish and a body and head of a human. The name comes from the old English ‘mer’ meaning sea and ‘maid’ young female. However, there are also male members of the species so they are collectively called merpeople.
Merpeople appear in many legends where they attract sailors and wreck their ships. Some stories have the merpeople rescuing sailors others have them drowning any survivors they find.
Hans Christian Anderson wrote a very famous story titled ‘The Little Mermaid’, which has been turned into a Disney movie. Mermaids are even used in very modern day literature for example in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.