I’m sure I’m not the only one that when The Little Mermaid is mentioned thinks of Disney princesses and the beautiful Ariel. In Hans Christian Anderson’s tale, the little mermaid is a quiet, thoughtful girl although she longs to grow up quickly. She is the youngest of six royal mer-daughters. Whilst she’s stuck under the sea (can’t help but sing it!) her older sisters get to visit the world above. The Little Mermaid hears tales from above and longs to go there even more.
The Little Mermaid finally comes of age and is able to go up to the surface to explore. She is a little naive about the world up above. She falls head over heels in love with the Prince and spends quite some time looking at the palace. It’s pretty creepy. Although she is in love with the Prince, she is desperate for a soul after hearing about them from her wise grandmother who told her stories about the world up above. Her grandmother tells her that she would get a soul if she fell in love with a man who held her dearer to him than his mother and father. If this happened, his soul would flow into her body and she, too, could have part of his soul. After learning this, the reader might see The Little Mermaid as quite cold and conniving. Is it really love that she wants from the Prince?
In the original version, our Mermaid goes over to the sea witch and allows the witch to cut out her tongue (much more gruesome than stealing her voice!) in exchange for two legs. The Little Mermaid is well aware that if the Prince finds someone else then she won’t turn back into a mermaid, she will die and become ocean foam. Much drama occurs involving a rescue plan for the Mermaid- however, she doesn’t want to be rescued.
The Little Mermaid does not have a happy Disney ending. This Mermaid might have her eyes on the Prince, but she longs for an immortal soul, however she ends up killing herself to save another. Certainly not the ship sailing off into the distance with Ariel’s new Prince!
It was so interesting to read this tale as I’d never explored the original. I thoroughly enjoyed a darker tale!
Next Fairy Tale-The Old Street Lamp