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- The sea is full of mysteries and rivers shelter the unknown. Dating back to ancient Assyria, folkloric tales of mermaids, sirens, rusalka, nymphs, selkes, and other seafolk are found in many cultures, including those of Europe, Africa, the Near East and Asia. Dangerous or benevolent, seductive or sinister — modern masters of fantasy continue to create new legends of these creatures that enchant and entertain us more than ever. Gathered here are some of the finest of these stories. Immerse yourself in this wonderful — and sometimes wicked — watery world!