Did you know that the famous animated film “The Little Mermaid” released by Disney in 1989 is actually an adaptation? In fact, it is a version that is quite far from the original story written by the Danish Hans Christian Andersen, in 1837. In his story, Disney tells the story of Ariel, a mermaid princess who, dissatisfied with her life under the sea, he ventures to discover the world that exists beyond the surface without knowing that true love awaits him out there.
However, in the original version, Hans Christian Andersen imagined an outcome very different from the one recreated by Disney in his film. Without a doubt, it is a much sadder and more hopeless outcome than the one popularized by Disney, but in which there is no lack of winks to kindness, acceptance, dedication and the purest love. A story that, without a doubt, the little ones at home should know.
The Little Mermaid: A heartbreaking story about love
Once upon a time there was a magical kingdom that stretched out into the depths of the sea. A place of extraordinary beauty surrounded by flowers and aquatic plants, where mermaids and fish of all species coexisted. The kingdom was ruled by the king of the sea, a merman who took care of all his subjects and tried to rule with justice and wisdom.
The king had six mermaid daughters who lived very happily in this aquatic paradise. The mermaids spent the day playing and caring for the flowers that grew in the palace’s majestic gardens of blue and red trees. They were all very special, but the smallest of them was the one that stood out the most. Her skin was so white and smooth and her eyes were big and blue that everyone looked at her as she passed. But, like the rest of the mermaids, she had a fish tail.
The little mermaid was fascinated by the stories that her grandmother told about human beings, so much so that when she found a statue of a man among the remains of a shipwreck on one of her excursions, she did not think twice and took it with her to put it in the garden. Her grandmother had told them that one day they would see the surface, and that encouraged her greatly.
– When you turn fifteen you will be able to go up to the surface and contemplate the forests, the cities and everything that is out there. But until then it is forbidden for you to go and explore that world.
The little mermaid was very excited to discover that other world, but she waited patiently until she reached the required age to be able to go up to the surface. Meanwhile, she spent long afternoons imagining what life would be like up there. Every time one of her sisters turned fifteen and she was able to go upstairs, she listened carefully to all the stories they told and that only increased her desire for her opportunity to come.
After years of waiting, the young mermaid finally turned fifteen. Highly animated, she said goodbye to her sisters and made her way to the surface. When she went up, she came across a boat where they were having a big party. She heard music and commotion and she couldn’t help but move closer to try to see through one of her windows. Among the people she distinguished a very handsome young man, who turned out to be the prince, and who she was captivated by observing her beauty.
There he stood admiring the young man until a storm suddenly fell upon them. The sea began to roar loudly and the ship began to stumble as if it were a paper boat, until finally she was shipwrecked and went to the bottom of the sea. In the middle of the shipwreck, the little mermaid desperately looked for the prince, managed to rescue him and take him safely to the beach. As she waited for him to recover, she heard some young women approaching, and she quickly swam out to sea for fear of being seen. In the distance she saw how her prince woke up and got up.
The little mermaid left peacefully knowing that she had saved her lover, but every day she rose to the surface in the hope of seeing her prince again. However, she could not find him and she returned sadder each time to the bottom of the sea. One day, determined to find the prince of her dreams, she plucked up the courage and decided to visit the sea witch to help her become human and be able to go to the surface to look for him. She was so in love that she was able to give whatever was necessary in return.
Arriving at the witch’s house, he told her his wish and asked her for help. She is she told him:
– Okay, I’ll prepare a potion with which you can have two legs. But in return… you will have to pay a price! I want your most precious gift, your voice! she told him.
– My voice? But if I don’t speak, how am I going to make the prince fall in love?, answered the siren.
– You’ll have to try without the voice. If not, I won’t help you.
– It’s okay, the siren relented without thinking too much.
The evil witch warned her that she could never return to the sea with her family and that if she did not manage to make the prince fall in love and he married another woman, she would die and turn into sea foam. The little mermaid was very scared, but despite everything, she accepted the deal.
The mermaid took the potion and woke up on the shore of the beach the next day. Her mermaid tail was gone! In her place he had two beautiful legs. Her happiness was so great that she didn’t even notice that the prince, who was walking on the beach, approached her. Seeing him, he could not contain her joy, but when he tried to speak to her, he remembered that he had given her voice to the witch and that he could not speak of her. The prince asked her who she was and how she had gotten there, but the little mermaid could not answer.
The prince then took pity on the young woman and took her to his castle as a guest. There the little mermaid she knew the customs of humans, she learned to walk, to use cutlery and all those accessories that seemed so strange to her before her. Every day she spent time with the prince and, although she could not speak to him, a beautiful friendship grew between the two.
Time passed and one day, on one of his frequent walks, the prince announced that he would marry the next day the daughter of the neighboring king. The poor mermaid was filled with sadness upon hearing her words, but in spite of that she accompanied him in her wedding celebration and celebrated her happiness like the rest of the guests.
However, he knew that this would be his last night, for as the witch had warned him, he would turn to sea foam at dawn. At about dawn, while she contemplated the horizon disconsolately, her sisters appeared with a knife in their hands. It was a magical knife that the witch had given them in exchange for her hair and with which if she managed to kill the prince she could become a mermaid again.
The little mermaid took the knife and returned to the castle. She entered the bedroom and crept up to the prince, who was sleeping next to his new wife, and raised the knife. But she realized that she was unable to kill her lover, even if this was her only chance to stay alive.
So he went back to the beach and jumped into the sea. As he turned to foam, he met spiritual creatures: the daughters of the air.
– You still have a chance to get an immortal soul, they told him.
– You will have to spend three hundred years doing good like us and then you can fly to heaven.
As she listened to them, she saw how the prince was looking for her on the ship, and in the distance she stood looking at him while a tear, the first of her life, began to flow down her cheek.