Dutch Fairy Tales for Young Folks Long ago, in Dutch Fairy Land, there lived a family of mere or lake folks dwelling not far from the sea. Their home was a great pool of water, half salt and half fresh -- for it lay around an island near the mouth of a river. Swimming out in the salt water, the mermaids would go in quest of pearls, coral, ambergris and other pretty things. These they would bring to their queen, or with them richly adorn themselves. Thus the Mermaid Queen and her maidens made a court of beauty -- famed wherever mermaids and merrymen lived. And they often talked of human maids. "How funny it must be to wear clothes!" said one. "Well, I should like to be a real woman for a while, just to try it, and see how it feels to walk on legs," said another, rather demurely -- as if afraid the other mermaids might not like her remark. Out rang a lusty chorus, "No! No! Horrible! What an idea! Who wouldn't be a mermaid".