The mermayde is a dedely beste that bringeth a man gladly to dethe. Frome the navyll up she is lyke a woman with a dredfull face, longe slymye here a grete body & is lyke the egle in the nether parte, havinge fete and talentis to tear asonder suche as she geteth. Her tayl is scaled like a fisshe and she singeth a maner of swete song and therwith deceyveth many a gode mariner for whan they here it they fall on slepe commonly & than she commeth and draweth them out of the shippe and tereth them asonder… but the wyse maryners stoppe their eares whan they se her for whan she playth on the water all they be in fear & than they cast out an empty tonne to let her play with it tyll they be past her. This is specifyed of them that have sene it.
Laurence Andrew, The Noble Lyfe and Natures of Man of Bestes, Serpentys, Fowles and Fisshes
The bad news is that the slimy-haired mermaid of dread wants to tear you asunder with her talons. The good news is that you can distract her with an empty barrel.