Mermaids are important figures in Cornish folklore, and the ‘mermaid’s purses’ that can often be found on Cornish beaches were used as charms for protection and good luck. Lutey was a young man who was walking along the shore one day when he found a stranded mermaid, who offered to grant him three wishes if he carried her back to the sea.
Lutey asked for magical powers – the power to undo curses, the power to invoke the help of familiar spirits to perform healing and protection magic, and for these powers to be inherited by his descendants. The mermaid granted the wishes, but when Lutey carried her into the sea she began to sing, and he was so charmed by her voice that he almost allowed her to pull him under the water. Fortunately, his dog began to bark, saving him from the enchantment. Nine years later, however, when he was out in his fishing boat, the mermaid appeared to him again, and this time he leapt into the sea and swam away with her.