Region of origin: Thailand

“The Golden Fish,” Suvannamaccha is a daughter of the demon Ravana from versions of the Hindu epic Ramayana told in southeastern Asian countries. The monkey hero of the story, Hanuman, is sent by the god Rama to rescue his consort Sita after she was kidnapped by Ravana and kept prisoner on an island. To reach the island, Hanuman and his helpers began building a bridge but each day they would come and find their progress undone by Suvannamaccha and her fellow mermaids who had been sent by Ravana to hinder their progress. Instead of becoming angry, Hanuman began falling in love with his adversary and, eventually enticed her to stay and parlay, explaining why he was building the bridge. Learning the truth, Suvannamaccha reciprocated Hanuman’s love and ordered the other mermaids to return the rocks as well as assist in finishing the bridge. The two would have a son, Macchanu, who would go on to have his own adventures differing between versions of the Ramayana. In modern usages scrolls depicting Suvannamaccha are hung in Thailand as a good-luck charm.

Originally posted on Tumblr on May 24, 2016

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