The mermaid could, we know, be vindictive if slighted or jilted.
Here is the story of an unprovoked and blood-thirsty siren.
The young Laird of Lorntie (in Angus) was riding home from a
hunt past a lonely loch when he heard a cry of ‘Help, Help,
Lorntie!’ Spurring to the water’s edge, he saw a beautiful woman
struggling in the water, and apparently about to drown.
Lorntie jumped from his horse into the water, and was in the act
of grasping the long hair ‘which lay like bands of gold upon the
water’, when he was dragged away by his man-servant. He was
about to rebuke his servant angrily, when the latter cried,
‘Bide, Lorntie, bide a blink! That wauling madam was nane other, God
sauf us! than the mermaid!’
In a flash, the Laird realized that his man was right, and they were
riding hastily away when the mermaid ‘in a voice of fiendish disappointment
and ferocity’, hurled after him:
Were it na your man,
I had gart your heart’s bluid
Skirl in my pan.’8
Gwen Benwell, and Arthur Waugh, *Sea Enchantress; the Tale of the Mermaid and Her Kin* (New York: Citadel Press, 1965).