The informant–MF–is a 39 year old male who was born and raised in Zagłębie, Poland but has lived in the US since 2016. He learned this legend having visited Warsaw numerous times and heard the legend from locals. The interview from which this legend was collected was conducted in English.
MF: Ok. So let’s start with the very old legend about the Warsaw Mermaid so which is the symbol right now of the of Warsaw, which is the capitol in Poland. There’s a very nice statue of the mermaid and she’s keeping the knife. Actually, this is the sword. And then and then shield. And it’s kind of protect the city from the from the, you know, like bad things that you could put, you know, like in from from the very, very old time. Like, people are thinking that the Polish mermaid is the sister of Copenhagen mermaid, which is well known symbol of Copenhagen. And she was swimming towards Poland through the Baltic Sea and then finally go into the river, which is going through Warsaw, which is the capitol of Poland. And then the story is telling that that there was a fisherman, old fisherman was catching the fish. And this mermaid actually decided to release this fishes. So as she thought, she she didn’t. And, you know, like, open the net and fish escape. So the fisherman was very, very angry. He was trying to catch the mermaid.But she was she was very smart in trying to escape. But what’s finally- fishermen catch her. So beautiful and so spectacular that the fishermen decided to release her. And and finally, actually, he fallen in love with her. But later, in the very, very rich person like Merchant, like he decided to cut her. And, you know, like to get some money to, you know, like to get her from the water. And he was trying to do it. And finally, he did but, you know, since her voice was so beautiful, the fisherman actually decided to do, you know, like release the mermaid. And then actually she said, “Oh, I’m gonna protect this city because you are so, so nice for me.” And then she became, like, a huge symbol of the capitol of Poland. So that’s that’s more or less the story about the mermaid important. So those of you who are interested, you can go to the capital of Poland and, actually close to the distillery there, there is the nice statue of Polish Mermaid.
This tale forms a nationalistic connection connection between the city of Warsaw and the river upon which it sits, the river Vistula. The tale also creates a sense of partnership between Warsaw and Copenhagen, both of which have rivers running through them and a famous statue of a mermaid said to have been found in those same waters.