Notes on Superstition and Folk Lore
Jeanie M. Laing

. . .

Mermaids were believed to have the power, like the fairies, of kidnapping children. A woman, says an old legend, was one day bathing her infant in a pool on the sea-beach near a town, when suddenly, with a cry of joy, it jumped from her arms into the sea. She thought it was drowned, but in an instant it came to the surface, and she received it back again, more beautiful and bright than ever.

She took it home, and cared for it as usual, never dreaming for a moment that it was not her own infant; but some old folks in the town knew that it was a mermaid's changeling.

The child grew up a lovely woman, and the lord of the place fell in love with her. After a time he treated her very badly, and deserted her, and she died of a broken heart.

But Nemesis was on his track.

Returning late one moonlight night from a revel, by way of the sands, he saw a beautiful lady seated on a rock by the seaside. She bore such a striking resemblance to his lost love that he was frightened at first, but she smiled and beckoned to him, and when he went near her she clasped him in her arms, jumped with him into the sea, and held him beneath the waves till he was drowned.

That same night a great storm arose, during which the mermaids, her sisters, choked up the harbour bar.