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However, the male-dominated Christian Church used the symbol of the mermaid to turn people from sin and the temptations of the flesh.

From  http://marinebio.org/Oceans/Mysteries/

The Mermaid

'Twas Friday morn when we set sail, And we had not got far from land, When the Captain, he spied a lovely mermaid, With a comb and a glass in her hand. Chorus Oh the ocean waves may roll, And the stormy winds may blow, While we poor sailors go skipping aloft And the land lubbers lay down below, below, below And the land lubbers lay down below. Then up spoke the Captain of our gallant ship, And a jolly old Captain was he; "I have a wife in Salem town, But tonight a widow she will be." Chorus Then up spoke the Cook of our gallant ship, And a greasy old Cook was he; "I care more for my kettles and my pots, Than I do for the roaring of the sea." Chorus Then up spoke the Cabin-boy of our gallant ship, And a dirty little brat was he; "I have friends in Boston town That don't care a ha' penny for me." Chorus Then three times 'round went our gallant ship, And three times 'round went she, And the third time that she went 'round She sank to the bottom of the sea. Chorus

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