Once upon a time, deep below the ocean waves, there was a world full of mystery and wonder. Mermaids and mermen lived in this world. These fantastic creatures looked like people, but had strong, beautiful tails like fish.
In the kingdom of mermaids and mermen lived a family with six beautiful girls,
or mermaids. But the littlest mermaid was the most beautiful of all. She also had the loveliest singing voice.
The six mermaid sisters dreamed of life above the waves. Whenever one of them turned fifteen years old, she would swim to the surface to watch the humans.
When it was the little mermaid’s fifteenth birthday, she rushed to the water’s surface. Peeking her head above the waves, the sky was even more beautiful than she had imagined! Soon she spied a ship, its sails fluttering like the fins of a dolphin.
The little mermaid bobbed, like a delicate cork, up and down with the water. She watched the humans walk and run, skip and dance aboard the ship. She heard strange music played on instruments she had never seen before. The sound was loud and brash, but at the same time wonderful! This must be a party! she thought.
As she wondered at the sight of these humans, she suddenly spotted the most handsome human. He was like nobody she had ever seen. She quickly realized that he was a prince! The little mermaid fell in love with this human, watching him dance and laugh at his birthday party.
She knew that she must be part of his life. Suddenly, the sky became dark. A wind picked up and knocked over the prince’s birthday cake. The prince’s ship was torn to pieces by the pounding waves. The little mermaid knew that the prince could not live in the water. She used all her strength and pulled him out of the water. She took him safely to shore.After the prince was safe on dry land, the little mermaid brushed his hair from his face. She looked into his eyes and kissed his forehead. After a moment,
she heard a girl’s voice and knew she must leave.
She quickly dove into the water and swam back to her sisters. The girls were excited to hear about their little sister’s journey above the waves.
“What did you see?” they asked her.
The little mermaid wanted to tell her sisters about the handsome prince, but she was afraid they would laugh at her. Instead, she told them about the boat she saw. She did not tell them that she was in love with a human!
The sisters noticed that the little mermaid had been quiet since her journey above the waves. The little mermaid decided to tell her sisters about the prince. As she told her story, she realized that she could not live without the prince.That night, the little mermaid snuck away to see the sea witch. She knew the sea witch could give her what she wanted the most.
The journey to the sea witch was horrible. Slimy sea snakes wound around the little mermaid’s arms as she swam. As she got closer to the sea witch’s lair, terrible plants that looked like monsters reached out and tried to grab her.
Once at the sea witch’s lair, she asked her for help. The sea witch told the little mermaid that she would be happy to give her legs to walk and dance with the humans. But the sea witch told her that there was a price for such a special gift.
She told the little mermaid that all she wanted was her beautiful voice. The sea witch explained that the little mermaid would have the loveliest human legs. She would be able to dance like an angel, and even when she walked, the humans would be amazed at her graceful beauty. But, she added, the little mermaid would not be able to speak or sing.The little mermaid was so happy with the thought of being with the prince that she quickly agreed to the sea witch’s demand. The sea witch made a powerful potion. She tightly sealed the potion in a gold bottle.
The sea witch told the little mermaid that once she drank the potion, her tail would split in two. The little mermaid would then have human legs. What the little mermaid would not have, however, was a human soul. “You must get your true love, the prince, to pledge his love to you,” said the sea witch, “then you will share his soul forever.”
The sea witch went on to say that if the little mermaid’s true love married another, the little mermaid would not live to see the next day.
The little mermaid was frightened, but she knew deep in her heart that the prince would love her back. Before the sea witch gave the potion to the little mermaid, she made one more potion. This one was to capture the little mermaid’s voice. The little mermaid quickly drank it. Then she tried to speak, but her voice was gone.
The little mermaid took the potion in the gold bottle and swam to the surface. Once there, she drank it without hesitation. The little mermaid felt very strange, and her tail began to ache. Before her eyes, her tail became two beautiful human legs!Happy that the sea witch was true to her word, she stood up just like a human. She danced and glided on her new legs, as if she were swimming on land.On his morning walk, the prince discovered a beautiful girl on the beach. The prince was enchanted by the way she moved.
The prince slowly approached the little mermaid. She could not believe that the prince was standing before her. She reached out to touch him, and he took her hand and lightly kissed it. The little mermaid blushed. Soon she realized, however, that she was wearing only a few seashells and flowers. She shivered.
“Where did you come from?” the prince asked. “You must be cold.” He took off his cloak and wrapped it around the little mermaid. She tried to tell him who she was, but she made no sound. The prince took her back to the castle.
The prince was enchanted by this lovely girl. He spent every moment with her. He took her horseback riding and hiking up into the mountains. The prince felt that he had met the little mermaid before. Then he realized that she reminded him of the young girl who had taken him to a nearby church and nursed him back to health after the shipwreck. Then, without a word, she had completely vanished.
One day, the prince and the little mermaid went for an afternoon walk through the gardens. When they arrived back at the castle, the king and queen were waiting to talk to the prince. The prince was told that he had to meet a princess in the neighboring kingdom. The king and queen believed this princess would be the one he should marry.
The prince insisted the little mermaid come with him for companionship. The little mermaid was happy to be with the prince, but she felt nervous that the prince would fall in love with the princess.
Soon they arrived at the neighboring kingdom. When the prince saw the princess, his mouth dropped open. The princess was the girl who had nursed him back to health! The prince and the princess immediately started talking. It was as if the little mermaid were no longer there. She walked off to sit and watch the water.Oh, what am I to do? the little mermaid thought. She cried into her hands as the waves crashed below her feet.
The next day, the castle was filled with activity. The two royal families were so sure that the prince and the princess were already in love that they had begun to plan the wedding.
When the prince awoke, he saw the little mermaid sitting alone. He sat down next to her and held her hand. When the little mermaid looked up at him, she expected to see pity in his eyes. But what she saw was a look she had been waiting to see. It was a look of pure love!
The king and queen came into the room. They saw the prince and the little mermaid sitting together holding hands.
“Mother, Father, the princess and I will not be married,” announced the prince. “This is my true love. I’ve known it for a long time but could not see it. I wanted too much to find the girl who took care of me after the shipwreck. Once I found her, I realized that my happiness was staring me in the face.”The prince got down on one knee and proposed to the little mermaid. The little mermaid jumped up and kissed the prince’s cheek.
The prince and the little mermaid were married that very day on the cliff overlooking the ocean. The little mermaid’s family came to the surface to watch the happiest day of the little mermaid’s life.