Oh, how glorious is knowledge! The King’s learnéd men hath been studying the Merfolk for many a year and hath divined many an intriguing way to learn about this unique aquarian race.
Perchance most exciting to know is that one can tell a Merman’s age simply by counting the rings on his merdong.
Unlike us land-dwelling folk, a Merman’s merdong grows longer and girthier with age. The passing of each twelvemonth adds a single ring to a Merman’s merdong, and from this many interesting facts about his lyfe can be observed.
For example, a wide and dark ring indicates that the tides were favourable that year and brought that particular Merman a wealth of krill and kelp upon which to feast. Whereas a thinner dark ring indicates that tymes were lean, and possibly he was forced to feed on less nutritious seaweeds and detritus.
If the rings of his merdong are thicker on one side than the other, it indicates something caused it to bend to one side whilst growing. Probably a passing ship accidentally dropped anchor on top of his merdong, a painful tragedy from which it takes many years to grow back.
If a ring is scarred and discolored it shows that he suffered an infection, likely from courting too many Mermaidens of disrepute. And if the rings are particularly narrow and pale-coloured, he likely suffered a dry spell in which he courted no Mermaidens at all.
So now thou knowest how to tell not only a Merman’s age, but many other interesting facts about his lyfe by gazing upon his merdong. The next tyme thou sees a Merman, ask him to whip out his merdong so thou can seest for thyself!