The Little Mermaid
in the blue sparkling ocean, deeper than any human has ever gone,
the Sea King lived with his subjects in a splendid palace made
of rare seashells and pearls.
Now, the Sea King had six beautiful mermaid daughters. The youngest
one was the most beautiful. And she was much quieter and more
thoughtful than her sisters.
While her sisters enjoyed playing with silvery fish and making
wreaths of coloured seaweed, the youngest found no amusement
in such games.She liked more than anything to hear of the world
above the sea, and she often asked her grandmother what is was
The little mermaid loved to hear how flowers on land had a fragrance-so
different from those under the water, which had none. She was
also delighted to learn that the fishes on land-for that's what
grandmother called birds-sang beautiful sounds But best of all
she liked to hear about the human beings who lived in the world
above the waves.
When the daughters of the Sea King reached their fifteenth year,
they were allowed to go to the surface of the water. But the
little mermaid, being the youngest, watched all her sisters go
When the oldest sister came back, she spoke of the twinkling
stars. The second described a beautiful sunset. The third saw
garden full of flowers. The forth told about the vast blue sky,
and the fifth was amazed by giant pale icebergs floating in the
ocean. Yet despite the wonderful sights above the water, all
the little mermaid's sisters agreed that the world beneath the
waves was far more beautiful.
"I shall have to see for myself," the little mermaid
thought wistfully. "How I wish my turn would come."
At last, the little mermaid's fifteenth birthday came, and up
she went to the world above the waves.
It was evening and the sky sparkling with silver stars. A ship
lit with coloured lanterns sailed toward the little mermaid.
The people on board were having a party. The little mermaid swam
up and peered through the window of one of the cabins.
Inside she saw a handsome prince laughing and talking with his
friends. He had just turned sixteen years old, and the party
was in honour of his birthday.
The little mermaid fell in love with him at once. "If only
he could see me," she thought, "perhaps he would love
Just then the little mermaid saw that a terrible storm was blowing
up. The waves began rising higher and higher, and the wind whistled.
Soon the ship began to creak and groan, "We're going to
sink!" the little mermaid heard one of the sailors yell.
Finally the ship began breaking apart, and everyone on board
was cast into the water. At first, the little mermaid was glad,
since now the handsome prince would be with her. Then she remembered
that humans could not live underwater.
"I must save him!" the little mermaid thought. She
dove again and again. At last, she found the prince deep beneath
the waves. He was still alive.
She pulled him to the surface. She held his head above the water,
and they drifted all night.
By dawn, the storm had passed and the little mermaid saw a quiet
beach. Just beyond the beach, a white church nestled on a hill.
She swam to the shore while still holding the prince and dragged
him onto the sand. She kissed him on the forehead, but he did
not wake up.
Then the church bell rang and a group of young women ran out
of the church door.
The sound of their voices frightened the little mermaid and she
hid behind a rock.
One of the young women ran onto the beach and up to the prince
as he was opening his eyes. She was very beautiful, and the prince
smiled at her.
"You have saved my life!" he said, for he did not know
it was the little mermaid who had really saved him.
Then the young woman helped the prince to his feet and led him
away to the white church.
The little mermaid sighed and swam under the waves back to her
When her sisters asked her what she had seen above the waves,
she would not answer.But day and night she thought of the handsome
prince, and she grew sad and pale.
The little mermaid began to spend all her time roaming the world
above the waves looking for the prince.
One day, she came to a beach where a large marble palace stood.
To her joy, she saw the prince walking along the shore, for this
palace was his.
After that the little mermaid came every day to secretly watch
the prince. Her love for him grew But she dared not show herself,
because her grandmother had told her that humans were afraid
"They believe that everyone should have two of those props
they call legs," her grandmother had said. "And they
think our tails are very ugly!"
"Ah, if only I had legs," the little mermaid thought.
"Perhaps then I could make the prince love e!" Then
the little mermaid decided to do a terrible thing.
In the very depths of the ocean, there lived an ancient sea witch.
She was wicked but very powerful. So the little mermaid went
to seek her advice.
When the little mermaid entered the sea witch's
cave, the sea witch stared at her and cackled. "I know why
you have come, foolish princess," she said. "I can
give you legs, but it will not be easy for you. You will be as
graceful as you are now, but each step you take will feel as
if you are treading on sharp knives!"
"I don not mind," replied the little mermaid, thinking
only of the prince.
"There is more," the sea witch went on. "Once
you have taken a human form, you will never be able to live with
you family under the waves again. Moreover, if the prince does
not love you in return and agree to marry you, you will perish.
The morning after he marries another, your heart will break and
you will be nothing-only the foam on the waves!"
The little mermaid turned pale, "I will still do it,"
"But I must be paid," said the sea witch. "In
return for giving you legs I must have you voices."
The little mermaid faltered. Her voice was the loveliest of all
the sea creatures, and far more beautiful than that of any mortal.
"But how will I make the prince love me without my voice!"
"You are very lovely," said the witch. "Use that
to charm him."
"Very well," said the little mermaid. So the little
mermaid gave her voice to the sea witch, and in return the sea
witch gave her the magic potion that would make her legs.
The little mermaid waited until night and sadly bid farewell
to her sleeping father, grandmother, and sisters. Then she swam
to the beach near the prince's palace and swallowed the sea witch's
She felt as if a sword had been passed through her, and she fainted.
When she awoke it was morning, and to her surprise the prince
was standing over her. The little mermaid looked down and saw
that she had two pretty legs and dainty feet.
"Who are you?" the prince asked, but the little mermaid
could not answer. She was so lovely and her blue eyes looked
so sad that the prince took pity on her and led her to his palace.
As the sea witch had promised, every step the little mermaid
took was as painful as stepping on sharp knives. But she bore
The prince ordered his servants to dress her in fine robes. When
this was done, the little mermaid was the most beautiful; young
woman in the palace. Yet she still could not utter a word, only
stare at the prince with her sad, blue eyes.
"You poor creature," the prince said. "If only
you could speak to me. You remind me of a girl I met once who
saved my life when I almost drowned.She is the only woman I can
ever love, but I shall never see her again. "So will you
stay with me instead?"
When she heard that, the little mermaid's heart almost broke.
She wished she could tell the prince that it was she who had
saved his life. But she could not say a word.
The prince made the little mermaid his closest companion. She
did all she could to please him, but he spoke only of the could
to please him, but he spoke only of the one who had saved him.
"I shall never see her again," he told the little mermaid.
"But I am glad that you at least have been sent to me, my
beautiful silent friend."
Then the little mermaid danced for him, though it hurt her terribly.
She danced so gracefully the prince was enchanted and said she
must stay with him always.
One day the king announced that the prince must marry the daughter
of the neighbouring king. The prince told the little mermaid
that he would never do so. "I cannot marry that princess
when I love only the girl who saved me," he said. "I
would rather marry you than anyone but her." Then he kissed
the little mermaid on the cheek.
The next day the king prepared a ship to travel to the nearby
kingdom. The little mermaid accompanied the prince on the journey.
When the ship reached the shore, the neighbouring king and the
princess were there to greet them.
When the prince saw the princess, he cried, "But she is
the one who saved my life! All my wishes have come true!"
As soon as he was on land, he ran to the princess, leaving the
little mermaid standing alone.
The princess was very beautiful and her eyes were kind and gentle.
The little mermaid stared at her. "She is lovely and she
seems good," the mermaid thought. "The prince loves
her, for how can he know that it was I who saved his life and
not she? So now I must prepare to die."
The wedding of the prince and the princess was celebrated that
The prince asked the little mermaid to stand close to him during
the wedding. "You must share in my happiness," he said.
So the little mermaid held up the bride's veil and smiled, even
though her heart was broken.
"Tomorrow I must die," she thought. "I will never
see my dear sisters or my father or grandmother again!"
And a tear rolled down her cheek.
Late that night the prince and her bride went to bed on the ship
that was to carry them back to the prince's kingdom. Mean while,
the little mermaid stood on the deck and gazed at the sea.
Then she saw her sisters swimming
toward her. Their beautiful long hair had all been cut off. The
eldest one carried a sharp knife in her hand. They were all weeping
as they called to the little mermaid, "Dear sister, we gave
our hair to the sea witch in exchange for this knife. Before
the sun rises, you must kill the prince with it. Then your legs
will disappear and your tail will grow back. After that you may
come and live with us under the waves again!"
The little mermaid took the knife and went inside the ship to
the prince's room. He lay there asleep beside his bride.
When she saw him, tears came to the little mermaid's eye, and
she ran to the deck and flung the knife into the sea. Then as
the sun was rising, she threw herself into the water. She waited
to die and become like the foam on the waves. But instead she
felt herself being lifted high into the air.
"Where am I?" she cried.
"You are with us, the spirits of the
air," replied a host of musical voices. "Because of
your good deed, little mermaid, your have been made one of us.
You will not die. Instead you will travel around the would spreading
peace and kindness, and you will live with us forever."
The little mermaid felt full of joy. Looking down, she saw the
prince gazing sadly into the water as if he were looking for
her. She flew down to him and whispered, "Do not be sad!
All is well!"
As the prince's face grew peaceful again, the little mermaid
joined hands with the other spirits of the air and rose into
illustrated by Robyn Officer