Muromi, the Water Sprite
Muromi was the child of a fisherman and a mermaid.
The fisherman drew the mermaid up in his nets one day from the deeps. Terrified, the mermaid begged him to let her go but the fisherman, who had no children of his own to help him pull the nets, asked not for gold nor for jewels, but for a child. The mermaid agreed to his wish and many months later, when the winter wind whistled around his poor shack, there was a sharp knock at the door. When he hastened outside, he found a baby, seemingly human, wrapped in a robe of watered silk scattered with rich pearls, lying in a great pearlescent shell for a cradle.
The fisherman, who was a sensible man, sold the pearls and bought a great house by the shore from where he could watch the fleet of fishing boats he now owned. There was no need for Muromi to pull up nets, but all the fisherman’s bribes and loving scolds or threats could not keep the child from the water.
As soon as she could toddle to the water’s edge, she did. And beyond for, to the fisherman’s alarm, his little daughter toddled straight into the water–and under the water, too. By the time the fisherman had raced to the water’s edge, Muromi was swimming around in little circles, singing a strange song that sounded like the sighing of waves on a summer’s night.
From those early days, the fisherman was forced to accept that his beautiful daughter had two natures–the earth dwelling and the sea dwelling. If kept too long from the water, she pined and drooped like a sea plant taken out of its environment. But she would never stay overlong in the water either, save for once a year when she would–as she told her father–take her place beside her mother in the Great Swim that took her deep beneath the ocean waves to the Palace of Pearl.
When the Bard Queen needed a teacher who knew the waves for her daughter, the Princess Flora, who else could be chosen but Muromi?