This statue is apparently NSFW

Mary
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Taking a page from John Ashcroft, the city of Warsaw recently deemed a depiction of its own symbol -- a half-naked mermaid featured in the city crest and two statues -- "too erotic" to appear on publicity materials for an upcoming international conference. In the approved version of the image, the mermaid's goodies will be covered with a sash.

The conference, by the way, is the Miss World pageant.

Miss_world_2005_final.jpg

More about the Warsaw mermaid after the jump, as if that's why you're reading this.

Here's a stab at explaining why Warsaw, over 200 miles from the sea, has a mermaid in its crest:

The origin of the legendary figure is not fully known. Tellers of many stories and legends have tried to explain where she came from.

The best-known legend, by Artur Oppman, is that Warsaw fishermen caught a mermaid in their net who sang beautifully. At the foot of today's Old Town, she left the water to rest on the sandy shore, and she so liked the place that she decided to stay. Soon the fishermen noticed that during their fishing someone was churning the waves of the Vistula, tangling the nets and releasing the fish. But the mermaid enchanted them with her beautiful singing, and they did not harm her. One day a wealthy merchant saw the mermaid and her lovely song. He quickly calculated how much money he could make if he captured the mermaid and displayed her at market fairs. He tricked the mermaid, seized her and imprisoned her in a wooden shed without any water. A young farmhand heard the mermaid's cries, and with the help of friends he freed her at night. Grateful that the townspeople had defended her, the mermaid promised that she would help them in time of need. This is why the Warsaw Mermaid is armed: She bears a sword and a shield to defend the city.

Among the lesser-known legends is the one written by Maria Krüger entitled "The Noble Griffin and the Beautiful Mermaid." According to the legend, the security of the medieval city of Warsaw was guarded by a manly and noble Griffin. When he once took a journey with the river boatmen to the Baltic, he met a beautiful Mermaid. They fell deeply in love and the Mermaid swam with them back to Warsaw. From then on, they both watched over the townspeople. When the Swedes attacked Warsaw, the valiant Griffin was treacherously wounded by the enemy and shortly died, and his companion, the brave Mermaid, seized sword and shield and courageously fought in defense of the city. Grateful residents of the city on the Vistula were smitten with her and placed her image on the arms of their city.

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August 29, 2006 - 9:02am
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