Myths of the sea and other legends are all types of stories that can be found in old books. However, unlike myths and tales, which have been passed down orally from generation to generation but have never been proven true, historical events are described in detail.
Legends, myths of the sea, or sagas, relate the history of heroes and their heroic deeds, whereas myths tell the origin stories of mythical creatures, deities, and gods. As such, myths are more akin to fairy tales for youngsters.
In many myths and stories, water plays a vital part. There are legendary water gods and gods, legends of heroes who have something to do with water, and stories of isles and continents that have sunk under the surface of the oceans. You’ll find some of the most well-known water myths and stories on this page.
And if you’re interested in many other symbols and creatures from and of the sea, visit Xinar’s Sea Life and Seashore charms collection!
Creatures from the Myths of the Sea
Ashrays, also known as Water Lovers in Scottish folklore, are ethereal aquatic myths of the sea frequently mistaken for sea spirits. They come in many varieties and can only be found in the ocean. Due to their nocturnal nature, these species are seldom seen during the day. Instead, Ashrays purportedly dissolve into a pool of water when captured and exposed to sunshine.
“Bäckahästen,” which translates to “brook horse,” comes from Scandinavian myths of the sea and refers to a mythological horse. Those who attempted to ride on her back in foggy conditions could not disembark. It would then leap into a nearby river, drowning the rider. Bäckahästen is supposed to be a kelpie, a mythical horse from a Celtic tradition that can change its appearance.
Charon was a legendary ferryman who transported the souls of the dead over the Acheron River (river of woe). Only those buried correctly and had a penny in their mouths were taken by him. In addition, a hellhound watched the river, ensuring that no soles ever left the land of the dead. Cerberus, a three-headed hound in Greek mythology, was depicted as the beast. Known as Garm in Norse mythology, this bloodthirsty hellhound had four piercing eyes.
Chessie, a mythical sea monster, is said to live in the Chesapeake Bay between Virginia and Maryland. Observers claim to have seen a serpent-like monster with scales and flippers. Unfortunately, there have been no recorded images of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, so far, despite the existence of some reportedly captured images of the creature.
King of the Dragons
The Chinese thought four distinct dragons ruled over each of the four seas in the north, east, south, and west. These dragon kings could take on human form and be guarded by shrimp and crabs in their crystal castles.
The Lady of the Lake
An aquatic specter known as the “Lady of the Lake” is mentioned in several myths of the sea, including the well-known story of King Arthur. The legend is that she revived Sir Lancelot of the Lake, handed over Excalibur to King Arthur, and escorted the dead King back to Avalon. At the beginning of King Arthur’s life, it appears that Viviane was Lady of the Lake, and Nimue took her place in the role later in her life. Against The Lady, Lancelot was given an enchanted amulet that protected him from magic.
The Loch Ness monster, sometimes known as Nessie, is rumored to live in Scotland’s Loch Ness, near the town of Inverness. Since it has a feminine-sounding appellation, the creature is typically viewed as female.
Even though many people have claimed to have seen the monster, and some have even taken photos that they believe to be its likeness, there is still no conclusive evidence.
The plesiosaur has finally been identified as the mysterious beast (a carnivorous aquatic animal from the dinosaur era). They argue that the water is too cold for a cold-blooded dinosaur to survive there and that there is not enough food in the loch for its preservation.
As a result, the dinosaur would have been spotted more regularly since it would have had to come up for air frequently. As far as some scientists are concerned, the presence of extinct animals in a lake that is only 10,000 years old makes no sense. On the other hand, many people maintain that animals can adapt to new environments over time.
Ancient Canaanite sea monster Leviathan was connected with Satan in biblical mythology. The creature was shown as a tangled sea serpent as a sign of disorder. According to other religions, Leviathan was a whale monster with seven heads who was regarded as the “king of falsehoods” or the “king of fish” by some. The word “Leviathan” means “whale” in Modern Hebrew.
According to German myths of the sea, Loreley was a lovely virgin who lived on the Loreley rock over the Rhine at St. Goar. It was dangerous for ships to pass through the river near the rock because it was so narrow. A common urban legend is that Loreley was risking shippers by singing, as she feared they might look up and abandon their vessels on the rocks if they did. Soldiers were dispatched to kidnap Loreley after the death of a nobleman’s son. After spotting them, she pleaded with the river to come to her help. Then, Loreley was swept away by the floodwaters and never seen again.
In European myths of the sea, Melusine was a female spirit of fresh water that appeared in sacred springs and rivers. Most often, she’s shown as some aquatic mermaid; in some instances, she may even have wings. When she was a child, she was transported to the island of Avalon, where she was raised by the fay Pressyne and an ordinary man. As soon as she learned that her biological father had betrayed her mother, she set out to get her retribution. Her mother cursed her to appear like a snake from the waist down after hearing about this. She was said to have been born with scaled arms and fins for hands and could not return to her prehistoric state.
In many myths of the sea, merpeople were shown as having a human head and upper torso but with a fishtail for a tail. Mermaids are female merpeople, and mermen are male merpeople. They attracted sailors to their deaths because of their attractiveness and allure. Mermaids are depicted in several stories as able to change their appearance to resemble humans.
Fosse dreadful, a water spirit from Scandinavian myths of the sea, was said to play enchanted violin music to lure women and children into lakes and streams where they would drown. On the other hand, some stories portray him as a benign character who merely sings for the amusement of adults, adolescents, and little children. Fosse gloomy even accepted to live with a human who fell in love with him, but he left after some time because he couldn’t live without a water source long enough, according to folklore
Men in Blue from the Minch
The Minch, a straight between Lewis, Long Island, and the Shiant Islands near Scotland, is claimed to be home to these mythical sea animals. Humans with blue skin appeared to be the Blue Men. It is said that they used to swim alongside passing ships, creating storms and luring sailors into the ocean to capsize them.
After all, that was the only way he could keep his ship afloat if he could finish their rhymes and solve their riddles. The Blue Men had a clear hierarchy, with a chieftain ruling them all. Merman-like characteristics led to the conclusion that they are connected to the creatures. The Blue Men have been compared to fallen angels by some.
A devil or a ghost is what the word “bunyip” denotes. It is an Aboriginal Australian legendary creature that was thought to hide in swamps, streams, riverbeds, and waterholes. It was a common belief among the Indigenous people that they could hear their cries in the dead of night.
They claimed Bunyip preyed on women when their herds were disturbed, and they blamed the Bunyip for the spread of sickness in the river area. Bunyip was rumored to have walrus-like tusks, horse-like flippers, and a tail like that of a horse. After all, the sounds they thought they heard came from Bunyips and were actually from possums or koalas, not authentic or imagined by the Aborigines. For example, a barking owl may have sounded like the cries of a woman being kidnapped.
Ceto, the ugly sea monster daughter of Gaia and Pontus in Greek mythology, was the daughter of Gaia and Pontus. She was revered as a symbol of the sea’s peril. They were known as Phorcydes after her husband, Phorcys. Aside from Medusa and other gorgon-like female creatures, there are the Hesperides (nymphs), other water deities, and sea creatures, such as Scylla and the sea nymphs and gorgons (female monsters with sharp teeth and vicious serpent hair like Medusa). Any sea monster has come to be known by the name Ceto.
The first time these water demons appeared in British folklore was in the Yorkshire county of Grindylows. The cold water in the vicinity prompted parents to tell their children stories about grindylows to keep their youngsters away from it. It was rumored that Grindylows possessed long fingers and would use them to dangle helpless youngsters overboard.
The Sawa, a Cameroonian ethnic group, believed in the existence of water spirits. They were said to look like merpeople, but they were also said to have gap-toothed faces and long, shaggy hair. The Sawa thought that these spirits might serve as a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds. When a child attained adulthood, Jengu were also considered to cure disease and play a vital role in various tribal rites. Various tribes in West, Central, and Southern Africa revered water spirits called Mami Wata. Some regard them to be similar to the Jengu.
In Japanese mythology, there are water spirits known as Kappas. Kappas are thought to be intelligent beings. It’s a monkey-like creature with saucer-shaped heads, long noses, and yellowish-green skin color. According to legend, kappas prey on children by luring them to the water, where they are dragged beneath and bled to death. One of their most significant flaws is that they have water-filled heads; if any of that water spills, they lose their unique abilities.
Kraken is a sea monster that frequently appears in pirate legends. Norway and Iceland’s coastlines were supposed to be its home. People imagined the creature was a giant squid lurking in the depths of the sea, ready to strike passing ships whenever it felt like it. Kraken sightings, it has been suggested, may have been responsible for the periodic appearance and subsequent disappearance of islands. Several of the Kraken’s characteristics, including bubbles and currents, are said to be based on underwater volcanic activity in Scandinavia.