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In the old days, fisherman took advantage of the ships destroyed by the cruelly rocky coast by combing the beaches for valuables washed ashore from the wreckage. One day, while walking along the rocks, a fisherman named Lutey came upon a beautiful mermaid stranded in a tidepool.

A lovely creature, she easily persuaded Lutey to carry her down to the sea and as she snuggled against him, she offered three wishes for his kindness. Lutey chose first the power to break witchspells, second he chose the power to force a witch's familiar to do good for others and lastly that these two powers be inherited by his descendants.

These wishes were granted and because the first wishes were wise and unselfish, the mermaid added two gifts--that none of his family should ever want and second, a magic comb for him to call her when needed. Gravely, he thanked her and continued to pace toward the sea, effortlessly carrying her.

Lutey was a handsome man, and strong... and the mermaid, as she was in his arms, began to wish that she might see more of him. She was a beautiful creature indeed, with silky silvery hair, wide green eyes and a throaty liquid voice. Coming at last to the edge of the receding sea, she pleaded with him to come into the water a little further just a little further and when he would have put her down, she held him tightly about the neck. So gentle was her voice and so sweet the movement of her lithe body in his arms, that Lutey would have continued walking into the sea and been lost forever had his dog not barked. The frantic barking pulled him back to the present and reminded him of his own wife and children. But now, the mermaid clung more fiercely to Lutey and would have dragged him into the heavy sea if he had not threatened to kill her with his knife.

The knife he unsheated was made of iron, a metal repulsive to merfolk and she swam into the sea, singing:

Farewell, farewell!
And keep thee well, my love!
For nine long years I'll wait for thee
And hold thee in my heart, my love
And then I shall return!

All of Lutey's wishes came true. His family and descendants became famous healers but the mermaid's promise also came true. She returned nine years to the day from the time Lutey had cast her off.

Lutey was out fishing with one of his sons when the mermaid rose high in the water water as green as her liquid eyes and beckoned. Turning to his son, he said, "It is time. I must pay my debt."

But, as he leapt into the green depths with his sweet-voiced love, he did not seem in the least unhappy.

It is said that since that day, every nine years a Lutey is lost to the sea. Whether, though, they go as joyfully as the first Lutey no one knows.

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