Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 16th, 2010
December 5, 1810
DOUGLAS, ISLE OF MAN.
[FROM A CORRESPONDENT.]
A letter from Douglas contains a curious account of two Merchildren, lately discovered by three respectable tradesmen of that town, during an excursion on the Calf of Man, in quest of sea-fowl. Attracted by a sound somewhat resembling the cries of a young kitten, they found, on searching amongst the rocks, two small marine animals, exactly resembling in their form that species of creature, so often described and known by the name of the Merman.
One of them was dead and much lacerated by the violence with which it had been driven on shore, during a strong gale of wind on the preceding night; the other was, however, conveyed to Douglas, where it still remains, and seems likely to do well. It is one foot eleven inches and three quarters in length, from the crown of its head to the extremity of its tail; five inches across the shoulder; its skin is of a very pale brown colour, and the scales on its tail are tinged with violet; the hair (if it may be so called) on its head, is of a light green cast, it is attached to the crown of the head, only hanging loose about the face, about four inches in length, very gelatinous to the touch, and somewhat resembling the green sea-weed commonly growing on rocks; its mouth is small, and has no appearance of teeth. It delights much in swimming about in a large tub of sea-water, and feeds chiefly on muscles [sic; mussels] and other shell-fish, which it devours with great avidity; it also now and then swallows small portions of milk and water, when given to it in a quill.