Title: Men Who Wish to Drown
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Tor Books
From the Falmouth Historical Society Collection
Cited as the only extant firsthand record of a mermaid encounter in New England waters, this deathbed letter from a great-grandfather to his great-grandson is more likely an instructive fiction--a parable of regret. Supposedly corroborating the mermaid story, a ship's log (in the collections of the Provincetown Historical Museum) of the schooner Hannah, which plucked Mr. Stanton from South Weepecket in 1788, indicates that the crew saw two figures on the island prior to his rescue, but failed to locate a second victim. However, regarding accuracy and reliability, this is the same crew, under Captain John Merriweather, that reported sightings of a ghost ship and not one, but two sea monsters. ~~James S. Rucker, Archivist, Family Collections, Falmouth Historical Society, 1924 Companion story to Monstrous Beauty.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love short stories. Believe it or not, it's much harder to tell a compelling story in fewer words, and Men Who Wish to Drown is one of the most beautiful, most haunting stories I've ever read.
First of all, is it possible to pass up a story that has mermaids in it? For me, no. The story is actually a letter, written by a man to his grandson in 1872, telling him about his encounters with a mermaid in New England. I'm not going to go into details since it's already a short story, but I guarantee you will be going "so, what else happened?" after you read it. And the best part is, you can read it right now online here.
I also have great news for those of you who'll want more after reading the story. Author Elizabeth Fama has a book called Monstrous Beauty that explores the very same topic! I definitely want to read it as soon as I can, and I have a feeling it'll be just as magical as Men Who Wish to Drown.