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Sculptor and Author Team Up to Bring Salado, Texas, Mermaid to Life

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Among the books you should add to your reading list this year, “Maiden Mermaid: The Tale of Sirena” should be at the top. This keepsake children’s book in rhyming form is based on the same legend that inspired the popular bronze mermaid sculpture in Salado, Texas. The statue was completed by artist Troy Kelley, who read author Sheri Wall’s prior children’s books and personally requested that she write Sirena’s story – a legend that was told to Kelley by his grandmother when he was a young boy growing up in Texas. “At a chance encounter with Mr. Kelley, he casually asked me about rewriting his grandmother’s story about Sirena in rhyme. I literally could not stop thinking about it and began working on some ideas the same evening. He was surprised when I called a week or so later to say I had a draft for him to see,” Wall explained.

Coupling the captivating rhyming text with eye-catching watercolor illustrations, Wall partnered with Kelley to bring the inspiring story to life, which was a childhood favorite of the sculptor. “Weeping alone by the creek, Sirena whispered her plea, ‘If my bold, fearless brave would choose to notice me, Oh brilliant moon above, bubbling springs below, please send me a sign and make Brave my beau,’” is just a small sample of the brilliant work the author has pulled from the Kelley’s grandmother’s story.

Sculptor and Author Team Up to Bring Salado, Texas, Mermaid to Life

Photo: Facebook/A Matter of Rhyme

According to the Troy Kelley artist page, depicting the popular Salado sculpture, the details around the mermaid are that she was a beautiful Indian maiden who wished to marry an Indian brave who didn’t return her feelings. In her yearning for his love, she sat by the river. Gazing upon her own reflection in the water, she made the wish you see above. It was then that a magical catfish, hearing her wish, vowed to assist her in return that she agreed to become a mermaid during each full moon, swimming that night with the catfish. The catch, (and there’s always a catch!) was that if over the course of being a mermaid, a human should set eyes on her, she would remain in that form forever (which was a secret hope of the catfish). The two came to an accord, and the result was that Sirena and her love were soon wed. She lived up to her end of the bargain and, during each full moon, she swam with the catfish for the night as a mermaid. As luck would have it, however, during one of the full moon swims, a fishhook got caught on her fin. She climbed up on a ledge close to a bubbling spring to remove it, and her own husband caught a glimpse of her. Just as their eyes met, “the catfish pulled her back into the river, to remain a mermaid forever. The spring keeps flowing, watered by her tears.”

Sculptor and Author Team Up to Bring Salado, Texas, Mermaid to Life
Photo: Facebook/A Matter of Rhyme

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