The story of Melusine.
The story is subtle… but first get to know the myth or tale…
This is the story of Melisende, a Queen of Jeruselem, half french and half armenian,
According to historical evidence, Melisende was born the daughter of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (whose ancestry came from Rethel, France) and her mother was Morphia (daughter to Prince Constantine I of Armenia). Baldwin deferred to King Louis VI of France to recommend a Frankish vassel for his daughter’s hand. He then in turn recommended a rich crusader and military commander, and possible a threat to Louis VI himself, the Count of Anjou, Fulk V.
Melisende married Fulk Anjou V (Count of Anjou) and bore a son Baldwin III whom the King wanted to to make heir to the throne. In 1131 upon the untimely death of her father, Melisende became Queen of Jerusalem and co-ruler with her husband. Contemporaries of Melisende who did rule during the same time included Urraca of Castille, Empress Matilda (wife of Geoffrey, son of Fulk V-Count of Anjou) and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
She proved to be a mighty ruler and a very strong minded and intellectual woman. She watched over her son and helped him rule over the land, although not without complications. Her strong will and “matriarchal” tendencies truly left a legacy of her motherly care and determination to take care of her son and her people no matter what, even at the cost of upsetting her son’s feelings.
If there is a connection to Melusine (half human/half animal) and to half-Armenian, half-French, Queen Melisende it is one of ignorance on the part of the peoples. History shows that Melisende was a human being, not a mythological creature or fairy. She was a strong willed and independent woman who knew what she wanted and did what she needed to protect her people and her family.
An independent spirit, in today’s world, for a woman, is well respected, but mind you, this was the late medieval period and men didn’t like women to be rulers of kingdoms, speaking their mind and calling shots. Thus, I could see how the rumors or story telling could play into the fact that a half-blood woman (mixed European with Middle-Eastern) with a strong will could be thrown into a story as a half human-half animal creature who called the shots and was “evil” or “magical” in a sense. Its a shame that women couldn’t be given the credit for having a brain in their head and the guts to speak their mind at that time and era.
Quite possibly the story and fables of this water fairy, nymph, mermaid, whatever you want to call “Melusine” may have very well originated with Queen Melisende. Over the hundreds of years and all the fables, legends and lore of this mythical fairy or “Dames Blanches” that were told for so long, that the real story of Queen Melisende was forgotten and a fictional one was created.