Mermaids were initially created as the personifications of the water deities of ancient civilizations. They were celebrated as the bringers of life and fertility because of the sea endless supply of food, and also as forces of great nature power and destruction.
The modern view of mermaids was shaped by Hans Christian Andersen 1836 fairytale "The Little Mermaid" which describes how mermaid princess gave up her voice for a chance to be together with the prince that lived on the land. The original story did not have a happy ending, which was changed in the very popular animated movie made by Disney.
Mermaids are the female members of the underwater race of merfolk. Males are called mermen and are supposedly ever more shy and secretive than their female counterparts. In almost every story about them they never come to the surface to the ocean.
Mermaids are always naked, but they carry some fashion accessories - pearl necklaces, crowns, bracelets, hand mirrors, combs and sometimes musical instruments.