The Little Mermaid

The story of the Little Mermaid tells us there is no way back when the heart wakes up from its unconscious slumber. When the heart is awakened, a journey across the earth starts leading to love’s perseverance. Even when she is not acknowledged. To follow your heart, when everything seems lost, demands a lot of courage. This, however, brings about the transformation in which love reveals itself. 

Once there lived in the great ocean a Sea King with his six daughters. The little mermaid was the youngest daughter and on her sixteenth birthday she was allowed, as was the practice in her sea, to swim to the surface of the ocean and look at the birds in the sky, the sun, the rocks and the land. The little mermaid looked forward to that moment, for she felt there had to be more than just the sea with it’s slow rhytms and currents. The little mermaid looked very forward to her birthday. But at last the time had come and early in the morning she swam, further than she had ever been, towards the surface of the sea. Once arrived at the surface the little mermaid saw a ship.

She swam towards it and looked inside through a small cabin window. There she saw people who were dancing and enjoying themselves. And then she saw a prince, with eyes so beautiful she could not look away from him. Meanwhile the sky became overcast and thick clouds gathered. A heavy storm broke and the waves rose high. But however wild the sea the little mermaid wouldn’t even think about returning. The storm aggravated, the crew couldn’t control the ship anymore and the ship was wrecked. Everywhere pieces of wreckage were floating onto which people desperately tried to save themselves.

Then the little mermaid saw her prince between the wreckage. He tried to stay afloat but lost the struggle against the savage waves. He passed out and sank into the sea. The little mermaid dived and carried the prince to the surface so he could breathe again. She swam with the unconscious prince to the shore, laid him upon the sand in a little bay and waited behind a rock to see if someone would find him. From a temple down on the coast a few girls, as old as she, went up to the beach. One of them saw the prince and walked up to him. Just when she bent over, the prince opened his eyes and looked gratefully at her. The girl called the others and together they carried him to the temple.

The little mermaid went to her home in the sea with pain in her heart. But her home in the sea didn’t feel as her home anymore. A deep desire for the beautiful prince was eating her heart away. More and more she spoke about her desire, but her sisters told her to forget about the prince, for mermaids belong to the sea and princes to the land; that was something nobody could change. Afterwards the little mermaid kept silent about it and she became more and more quiet and, at last, sick with desire. She decided to visit the sea witch to ask if she knew a means to turn her fish-tail into legs so she could go ashore to search for her prince. The sea witch said: ‘I expected you already, I know the reason of your visit but I have to advise you against it strongly. Because people possess an immortal soul. If the prince falls in love with you, you too will acquire an immortal soul. You will have to suffer from pain a lot, though. At every step your feet will feel like stepping on sea urchins and you have to give up your gorgeous voice.

And furthermore: if you do not win the prince’s love and he marries another woman you will become foam on the sea the day of his wedding.’ The little mermaid didn’t hesitate for a moment. How could the pain in her feet be worse than the pain of her desire?

Then the sea witch gave her a potion. At high tide she had to swim to the shore and stay behind on the beach when the tide turned. Then she had to drink the potion.

The little mermaid did as she was told. In the light of the moon she came ashore and drank the potion. A sharp pain went through her body, so fierce that she fell down and passed out. When she regained consciousness the sun was shining and just before her stood the prince. She saw how her fish-tail had turned into a pair of slender legs.
She wanted to rise to her feet and felt how every step burnt into her feet like knife cuts. She wanted to say something to the prince but she was dumb. No word came out of her mouth.

The Prince was enchanted by the beauty of the little mermaid. He took her to his palace. The little mermaid danced for the prince and he kept her close to him all the time. He told her all his intimate feelings, how he loved the girl who had saved him from the sea. That he had seen her only once. A girl from a temple and therefore unreachable. ‘You look like her’, the prince said, ‘I love you almost as much as I love her.’ The little mermaid always listened carefully and tried to tell him with her eyes she was the one who had saved him, not the girl from the temple. But the prince didn’t understand her looks and when the time had come for him to marry, he choose a princess from a neighbouring country, just how it should be.

The day before the marriage the prince went aboard a ship to fetch his bride. The little mermaid was allowed to accompany him. She now knew she wouldn’t be able to win the love of the prince anymore and that she would perish to foam on the sea the very next day.

She stood on the side of the ship and looked out over the sea. Then she saw her sisters swam by. She almost didn’t recognize them because they had lost their beautiful long hair. The sisters had come to save the little mermaid and had received, in exchange for their beautiful hair, a knife from the sea witch with which she had to stab the prince in his heart while he was asleep. Thus she would regain her fish-tail and could she return to the sea.

The ship arrived in the city of the princess. The moment the prince saw the princess he was delighted. This was the girl of his dreams. She was raised in a temple near the sea. The prince was totally full of his bride and when the ship returned, the prince and his bride were lying in each others arms. The little mermaid softly walked towards the bed on which the princely couple lay asleep waiting for the day of their wedding. She held the knife in her hand. She looked at both sleeping people. She understood she could not use the knife. Also she didn’t want to go back. She flung the knife far away, into the sea and then threw herself into the foaming waves.

The little mermaid felt more and more lightheaded. She felt how she was lifted up and carried upwards. She heard voices which told her she now was in the element of the soul and she could acquire a soul by doing good deeds. Three hundred years it would take. But what is three hundred years compared to eternity?