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Traveling in Search of Stories - The Merman's Curse



Now that the lockdowns are lifting here in Europe, my family and I are out exploring again. We visited the Zeeland (Sealand) region of the Netherlands in search of seafarer's lore, and we were fortunate to find a good story on the shores of the North Sea. The building in the picture is called "Pompe Toren" in Dutch, which translates to "Plump Tower" in English. It is all that's left of Koudekerke, a prosperous fishing village that was washed away by a merman’s curse.


Once upon a time a fishing boat caught a beautiful mermaid in its net. The mermaid’s husband (a merman) begged them to set her free. He told them how much he loved her and explained that their tiny mer-baby was still breastfed and would surely die without her. The heartless fishermen would not listen. They refused to set the mermaid free and instead brought her back to the shore where they boasted about their most unusual catch. There, in the heat of the summer sun, the mermaid withered and died. The fishermen tossed her lifeless body back out to sea with their torn nets and fish bones and stale bread, as if she were nothing more than garbage. Seething with anger and vengeance, the merman placed a powerful curse on the town. That very night, a vicious storm rolled through Zeeland and washed the town into the North Sea. The Plompe toren was spared, but only as a reminder of the destruction of this small fishing community, and a warning to the fishermen in the Oosterschelde to never again treat a beautiful sea-family with such cruelty.


Travel Notes: The coast was quite windy, so if you visit, bring a jacket, even in the summertime. Watch the water and the sandbank for gray seals. Our favorite beach near Plompe Toren is Domburg, approximately 30 minutes away by car.

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