Damme's Mermaid: A Tale of Curses and Destiny

Once upon a time, in the early Middle Ages, the quaint city of Damme, situated near the renowned city of Bruges, became the stage for a peculiar and tragic encounter with a mermaid named Cassandra. This mystical being was discovered washed ashore by the inhabitants of Damme, who, instead of extending compassion, chose to exploit her presence.

The captured mermaid was paraded through the bustling market square, where curious onlookers paid substantial sums to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary creature. Despite Cassandra's desperate pleas and visible distress, the people of Damme callously persisted in their spectacle. Little did they realize the gravity of their actions.

Picture by Pixabay

Day after day, as long as there were spectators to pay, Cassandra remained on public display. The mermaid's anguish deepened, and a heavy silence enveloped her, as she refrained from uttering a single word. However, on the third day, a transformation occurred. In a moment of desperation, she cast a spell and exclaimed, "Damme will die, Bruges will live!"

Cassandra's prophetic words did not go unanswered. As retribution for her perceived curse, she was cast into a pit, where she succumbed to the weight of grief. Ironically, the curse she had proclaimed unfolded unexpectedly. Damme, once a thriving city, found itself relegated to the pages of history, while Bruges emerged as the new epicenter of trade and beauty.

To this day, the remnants of this sorrowful tale linger in the Damme area. The Mermaid's pit, near the renowned restaurant The Siphon, serves as a somber reminder of Cassandra's tragic fate. For those with keen eyes, a glimpse of the mermaid can still be discerned, whether as a weather vane on the "Scellemeulen" mill or, perhaps, concealed in the waters of the Damse Vaart in front of the mill. The story of Cassandra, the mermaid of Damme, endures as a cautionary tale of the consequences of heedless actions and the enduring power of curses.