An Idyl of the Sea, Wilhelm Kray


The fable of that imaginary inhabitant of the sea, the mermaid, is as old as fable itself. In one form or another it exists throughout the world. The islanders of the Indian Ocean and the South Sea; the Esquimaux of the North and the Patagonians of the South, as well as the coasst and maritime nations of the civilized world, have each their special version of the tale. It was, unquestionably, the foundation for the myths of the sirens, tritons, nereids, and the like in classic antiquity. Science, with its usual pitiless adherence to demonstrable facts, has traced its origin to those curious marine animals of which the seals and sea-lions are the most familiar types, but art does not permit science to rob it of its picturesque material, and with the painters the mermaid retains its legendary shape and attractiveness, and the world which loves pictures has no occasion to regret the fact. It has furnished the German artist, William Kray, with a charming motive, which he most charmingly works out in his "Idyl of the Sea." With him the mermaiden becomes a mermother, who sports in the waves with her baby mounted on her back. The baby is altogether human in form, however, so that the picture may safely be

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Chapter 4 Text

Wilhelm Kray

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