According to local legend, a beautiful Indian maiden named Sirena wished to marry an Indian brave who didn’t return her feelings. Sitting by the river looking at her reflections, she expressed her wish. A magical catfish overheard her, and promised to help her win the warrior if she would agree to become a mermaid on each full moon for a year, swimming with the catfish in the river. Additionally, while in the shape of a mermaid during each full moon that year, if human eyes ever saw her in the moonlight, she would then have to remain a mermaid forever (which the catfish secretly hoped would happen).
Sirena agreed and soon married the Indian brave. On each full moon Sirena dove into the river as a mermaid and swam the night with the catfish. On the last full moon of the year, Sirena caught a fishhook on her fin while swimming, and climbed onto a ledge near a bubbling spring remove it.
While working to unhook it from her fin, her husband saw her. As their eyes met, the catfish pulled her back into the river, to remain a mermaid forever. The spring keeps flowing, watered by her tears.
Troy Kelly created the sculpture of Sirena in 1985. Jackie Mills wrote the children’s story and the play. Jackie’s daughters commissioned the magical catfish in her honor around 2009.
Sirena was damaged in several floods and the last one, in 2010, moved her and the catfish approximately 30 yards down stream. She was recast and moved to her new location on higher ground in 2014. Eagle Scout Ryan Cook organized the scouts to build the new flowerbed that is maintained by KSB First Monday Gardeners.