Salado, Texas might be on your list to find unique Texas art or perhaps an antique or two, but rarely do people realized that Salado is also home of one of Texas’ more unique stop. Driving through you might be taken aback by the waterfront or the quaint downtown, but rarely do people stop for a moment to soak in the legend of Sirena the Crying Indian Mermaid.
The legend goes that an Indian maiden once desired to catch the gaze of a certain strong brave. She had tried everything within her power but simply was not managing to do so. It was at this time magic catfish appeared in the creek and promised to help her win her man if she agreed to spend one night a month in the creek with the fish as his mate.
Desperate to have her wishes come true she reluctantly agreed. Time passed and she continued to be dutiful to her obligations to the fish as one night a month she would slip into the waters and become a mermaid.
That was until one night a fisherman’s hook snagged her. As she attempted to remove the hook from her tail, her human husband saw her and angered. He shunned and rejected her leaving her crying with a broken heart.
No one seems to know why this legend was depicted in Salado, Texas but in 1986, artist Troy Kelly opted to recreate the Indian Princess and place her in the waters of the shallow Salado Creek. The bronze statue depicts Sirena with a sorrowful face mourning the loss of her love with a desperation in her eyes as she looks downward into what was the pooling water beneath her.
The statue was later moved in 2016 to a slightly more elevated space above the flood plain area after a series of rains which left her nearly submerged. She now rests atop the higher ground with flowers which attract butterflies. It seems a beautiful way to honor such a somber tale in the small town of Salado.
You never know what you will find when you stop and take a walk in a sleepy town.