Ask Madison: A most ridiculous tail

Pete Tarsi
Dear Madison,

I have always thought of myself as one of the most open-minded mermaids here on Colony Island and I almost always let my daughter read anything appropriate for her age. This summer, I noticed her reading a book on the family PC and I decided to have a peek at it myself.

What I found was the most ridiculous clap-trap about mermaids I’ve ever come across. This book called “Jumping The Scales”, or something like that, has all sorts of outlandish notions about mermaids being able to take their tails off like a skirt on the morning of the fool full moon and loan them to humans so they can be mermaids for a month. Have you heard of anything more absurd than that?

This human named Pete Tarsi has written two of these fairy tails and I think he must be out of his mind. I’m forbidding my daughter to read any more of this nonsense. Is there anyway we can suppress stories like these?

Absolutely Ridiculous

 

Dear Ridiculous,

Please don’t do that to your daughter. Not yet. Over the past months, I’ve read a number of titles from Penelope Tench’s collection of mermaid novels and while many of them are way off shore, I also find a bit of truth in these stories. For one thing, I am continually impressed by the sheer number of girls who want to be mermaids. There are plenty of grown women who wish they were one of us, as well.

Nowhere near as many boys wish they were mermen and the number of grown men who long for a tail is almost non-existent. Don’t they realise that we mermaids both need and want mates, protectors, and lovers?

I wish that somehow, more people from the mainland would be able to join us. I don’t want Colony Island to be overrun by newcomers – though that would certainly liven things up around here. However, it would be wonderful if more people were able to enjoy our world and being what we are. Maybe more mainlanders would understand just what is happening to our oceans. Maybe something could be done about the situation sooner rather than later.

I have now read both of Pete Tarsi’s books – Flipping the Scales and Skipping the Scales. Both are exciting fun filled stories. While his world is different from the world we know, the one he has created for mainlander girls – and hopefully, boys – to enjoy is full of real emotions; love, longing, fear, hope, and joy. In fact, the ache one character feels, when her month as a mermaid ends, is very palpable to me. I’m not sure how I’d deal with that loss.

The books also teach about loyalty, trust, fortitude, and acceptance; Things we want our children to learn no matter how the story is told.

As I said, I hope you will reconsider forbidding your daughter to read these stories. While the details may be way off shore simply because the authors don’t know what we’re really like, the message these stories convey is very real.

After work, I’m taking my mate, Allen, for a long swim and I’ll thank Poseidon for allowing me to have been born a mermaid. I’ll also thank Poseidon that my mate was able to become one of us.

Madison Bauer

 

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