Featured Fairy Tales, Young Adult

Featured Fairy Tales: The Little Mermaid

little mermaid statueFeatured Fairy Tale: Once upon a time, deep under the sea, a little mermaid lived in an underwater kingdom with her father, who was the sea king, her grandmother, and her five older sisters, fairy tale theatre little mermaidwho were born one year apart. When mermaids turned 15 they were allowed to visit the surface. Every year the little mermaid listened to her sisters’ tales of the surface and grew excited for her own visit. On her 15th birthday she swam to the surface, where she saw a ship. A celebration in honor of a prince was being held on the ship and the little mermaid fell in love with the prince, whom she saw from a distance.little mermaid

But a violent storm hit and the ship sank. The little mermaid rescued the prince from drowning and took him to the shore near a temple. She waited with him until a maiden from the temple discovered him on the beach. The prince never saw the little mermaid and believed the temple maiden had saved his life.

The little mermaid returned to the sea, despaired, and asked her grandmother if humans can live underwater and live forever. Her grandmother explained that humans have a much shorter lifespan than mermaids, but when mermaids die they become sea foam and cease to exist; humans, however, have a soul that goes on to live eternally in heaven when they die. The little mermaid, desperate for her prince and a soul, sought out the sea witch.

The witch agreed to help her by offering the little mermaid a potion that will give her legs. The only price she asked was for the little mermaid’s tongue. The sea witch told the little mermaid that sea witchonce she has drunk the potion, she can never return to the ocean or she will turn into sea foam. She also warned that consuming the potion will make the little mermaid feel as if a sword is being passed through her body. When she recovers she will have two legs and be the most wonderful dancer but will feel as if she is walking on knives and as if her toes are bleeding. In addition to this, in order to obtain a soul, she must make the prince fall in love with her and marry her, for if she does a piece of his soul will slide into her. Otherwise on the morning when he marries another woman the little mermaid will die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam on the waves.little mermaid 2

The little mermaid agreed to this and allowed the witch to cut out her tongue. She swam to the shore where she drank the potion. The prince found her on the beach and became enchanted by her beauty; however, by others in the kingdom she was considered to be dumb and mute. As the sea witch promised, the little mermaid had become a wonderful dancer and the prince loved to watch her dance. She soon became his favored companion. The king told his son that he must marry the princess of a nearby kingdom, but the prince told the little mermaid he will not marry the princess because he does not love her; he can only love the girl from the temple whom he believes saved his life.little mermaid 3

The princess from the neighboring kingdom arrived and is discovered to be the temple maiden. The prince announced he will marry her and the wedding took place shortly after on a wedding ship. Heartbroken, the little mermaid reflected on all the things she has done to win the prince’s heart and of her impending death. At dawn, her sisters appeared and gave her a dagger from the sea witch. They had gone to her and traded their hair for the dagger. The sisters explained that that if the little mermaid uses the dagger to slay the prince and lets his blood drip onto her feet, she will turn back into a mermaid and be able to return to the sea as if nothing had happened.

little mermaid 4The little mermaid, however, could not bring herself to slay the prince. She hurled the dagger and herself into the sea, where her body dissolved into sea foam. But instead of ceasing to exist, she felt the warm sun and discovered that she became an ethereal being, a daughter of the air. As she ascended into the heavens, she was met by other daughters of the air, who explained that because she strove to obtain an immortal soul and because of her selflessness, she will be able to earn her own soul by doing good deeds for mankind and one day be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

Why I love it: The Little Mermaid is my FAVORITE Disney movie, so it may surprise you to learn that I pretty much hate this fairy tale. It’s sad and it strikes a little too close to home for me. I honestly cannot get to the ending without getting emotional over it. The fact that here this girl has given up so much and striven so hard to be with the man she loves, only to have him basically use her for fun and then tell her he loves some random girl instead. Just strikes way too close to home.

Why you’ll love it: You may not like this story for the reasons I don’t like it, but here’s something you may love about it: the ending. After all the crap the little mermaid has gone through and after all the despair she feels from being passed over by the one she loves, she still acts loving towards the prince. She knows that taking vengeance out on him isn’t what she wants because she still feels love towards him, despite him not choosing her. This is like the ultimate “he’s just not that into you” lesson: accept rejection with grace and don’t murder your ex on his wedding night.

Awesome Retellings: There are some GREAT retellings of The Little Mermaid out there! Check these out!

fathomlessFathomless by Jackson Pearce
Review – Me

 

 

book mermaidMermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon
 

 

 

Did you review any of these retellings? Let me know and I’ll add your review link on here!

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3 thoughts on “Featured Fairy Tales: The Little Mermaid”

  1. I don’t think it’s odd, at all, that you like the Disney movie but not Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. While his story may be realistic, in that a girl can work as hard as she wants to get a guy, it’s not going to work if he’s just not that into her and he’s not paying attention, it also sucks that this girl who just turned 16 has to die because she made a mistake and the guy she’s into is an asshole.

    Supposedly, Andersen himself wasn’t too fun. (Although this Toast article about him is: http://the-toast.net/2014/10/01/dirtbag-hans-christian-andersen-2/.)

    The Disney movie is great, but only because they perverted the fairy tale, twisting it to get a happy ending that isn’t often found in Andersen’s tales. The Disney movie is also great, however, because of the characterization found in it, particularly with the teenage mentality they successfully perpetuate in Ariel.

    Interesting post – I didn’t realize people had done Little Mermaid re-tellings. 🙂

    Like

  2. The LIttle Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney movies too. In fact it used to be my favorite for years and years. It wasn’t until college that my favorite switched to Beauty and the Beast. I find the original tale to be sad too.

    Like

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