Legend of the Cajun Mermaid (TM)


Cajun Mermaids

The Legend of the Cajun Mermaid

By JK Schwehm (2000)

65115 Highway 41   Pearl River, La. 70452


Some time ago I asked my Grand Uncle Dominique, who was the
first Cajun to eat écrevisses ( a crayfish)? He told me this story
and it make sense to me.
‘Grand Uncle, who was dat who ate dem first crayfish?

Well Nephew I once asked dat same question of my Grand Pere Jean who was your Great
Grand Pere. He told dat when he first settled here on da Bayou he had to
fish and trap to feed his family. Being from another place with
different critters he set out early one morning to make a scoop net to
see what critters were found in the Bayou and Marsh. As he walked along
the Bayou toward the Marsh he scooped into the water. With each net he
laid all the things he found onto the bank. As he got farther into the
Marsh he thought he heard some whispering, but continued to scoop things
up out of the water. Along with petits poissons (small fish), he found
petite crevette (small shrimp), and petite langoustine (small lobster).
From where he was raised all these critters were larger and a person could
eat them. He decided to try and use each one as bait to see if he could
catch bigger fish. As he reached on the ground to pick up the very small
lobster he still heard whispering so he picked up the one that made a
sound. To his amazement it had a woman’s head and in a small voice
said ‘Monsieur please do not harm me. If you do as I ask I will help
you find all the bait you need for the winter fishing and in spring a
delicious écrevisses to eat.’ Startled Grand Pere Jean could not
speak at first, but then he agreed not to harm this small crawfish
woman. As he placed her near the Bayou she gave him directions to an
area in the marsh where the crawfish were as large as a small lobster.
She told him in winter they would be small and can be used as bait for
larger fish but by spring they would be large enough to boil in spicy
water and eat so he and his family would never be without food all year long.

This Nephew is the story I was told as a child by a man who lived
both here along the Bayou and in Nova Scotia where crayfish are as large
as a mans arm. And still today our family can have a feast of these
small lobsters in the spring thanks to the directions of the Cajun
Mermaid and the waters of the Marsh.

 


Information  Links:

  1. Cajun Mermaid Gift Shop

  2. I Love Crawfish Gift Shop

  3. Fig Street Art Studio

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