I'm sure many of you are familiar with mermaids. These creatures are blamed for anything from shipwrecks to a bad fishing trip. Have you ever wondered how the mermaid came to be? Well, this is a tale of a young Chamorro Girl named Sirena and how her passion for swimming made her a legend.
Sirena was a beautiful young maiden. Her skin was golden brown and her long, black, shiny hair flowed and swayed gently behind her. Like many Chamorro girls, Sirena loved to play games and tried her best to be obedient. (She dared not anger her elders for their words, like many ancient Chamorros', were magical. Curses could easily become reality.) If she had a choice though, she could spend all day swimming near Agana Springs. Sirena loved the water...if she had one passion, it was to swim in the cool inviting waters of the river.
One day, Sirena's mother sent her to the Agana River to do some laundry. Obediently, she happily made her journey to the site and began washing clothes. She was humming a tune to herself when suddenly she heard something whisper her name. Sirena stopped humming and listened again.
"Sirena....Sirena...don't you love me? Wouldn't you like to swim in me? Come on, Sirena. Come now...I will offer you relief from the rays of the hot son...come, Sirena."
Sirena smiled to herself. "Okay," she replied. "I'll go for a swim, but I won't take long, else mother will become very upset." So Sirena went into the water and splashed around. She got so carried away, that by the time she noticed the time, it was nearly dark.
Meanwhile, back home, her mother was becoming very worried...and upset.
"Where is that girl? What if something happened to her? No! That can't be! I bet she's swimming again! I swear one day..." With that, Sirena's mother followed her daughter to the river.
"I'm here, mother. I'm almost finished...I'll be right there."
"Fniished? Finished?! You've barely started! Nevermind! Come home with me now and you will finish this chore tomorrow. It's getting late. Let's go!"
Sirena obediently followed her mother home. Her head was bowed and she could feel her face flushing. She silently mimicked her mother, but dared not answer her back.
"I swear Sirena! All you want to do is swim, swim, swim! What good will that do you? What respectable man would marry a girl who would rather swim than do her duties? Sirena, you have to start learning to be more responsible..."
The next day, Sirena was sent to finish her chore. She silently promised herself that if she finished early, she would spend the rest of the day swimming. Again, it was nearly night when Sirena went home.
Upon returning, her mother told her, "Sirena, tomorrow I want you to go to your Godmother's house and borrow some coal for the iron. Don't forget."
"Yes, mother. Go to Nina's house and get some coal..."
The next day, Sirena made her journey to her godmother's home. On her way, she passed the river.
"Sirena...Sirena...come. Come and swim...you won't take long. Your mother will never find out...come Sirena..."
Sirena began splashing around and again lost track of time.
Sirena's mother was becoming very upset. She stormed out of the house and headed for the river. She knew Sirena would be there splashing around again.
"Sirena! That's it! I've had it with you! I wish you'd become a fish! Do you hear me? You're better off a fish!"
At that moment, Sirena's godmother was also on her way to the river and heard the curse. "No! Sirena is half mine! Her upper half will remain human! She will not completely turn into a fish!"
With that, Sirena felt her legs turn to fins as she swiflty swam deeper and deeper into the ocean.
To this day, fishermen claim to spot the beautiful
maiden splashing around near the shore. Back Back to Sirena Home Page