Mermaids are legendary aquatic creatures with the head and torso of human female and the tail of a fish.
Much like the Sirens of Greek mythology, mermaids in stories would sometimes sing to sailors and enchant them, distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or cause shipwrecks. Other stories would have them squeeze the life out of drowning men while trying to rescue them. They are also said to take them down to their underwater kingdoms. In Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid it is said that they forget that humans cannot breathe underwater, while others say they drown men out of spite. The Sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes portrayed as mermaid-like; in fact, some languages use the same word for both creatures.