“Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, very deep [...] There dwell the Sea King and his subjects.”
Maybe because it’s summer back home in Canada, or perhaps it’s from seeing all of the beautiful Australian coastlines during my travels, but I’m on a major ocean/mermaid kick at the moment. When I was younger, I was obsessed with Disney’s The Little Mermaid.i I used to fancy myself Ariel and would constantly wail out her signature song, much to my parents’ dismay… their poor ears. As I grew up and branched out into other versions of the fairy tale, I became less absorbed in the land under the sea, and instead began to fear it. A lot. Water & aquatic life scares me. Irrational fear aside though, this tale is still very dear to my heart. Because even though it’s kind of terrifying to think about, things under water look so beautiful and peaceful. Look on for my visual interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s version (+1 of the red hair we all associate with mermaids now thanks to Disney).
“‘So I shall die,’ said the little mermaid, ‘and as the foam of the sea I shall be driven about never again to hear the music of the waves, or to see the pretty flowers nor the red sun. Is there anything I can do to win an immortal soul?’”
“‘I will prepare a draught for you [...] Your tail will then disappear, and shrink up into what mankind calls legs, and you will feel great pain, as if a sword were passing through you. [...] You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow. If you will bear all this, I will help you.’”
“The little mermaid lifted her glorified eyes towards the sun, and felt them, for the first time, filling with tears. On the ship, in which she had left the prince, there were life and noise; she saw him and his beautiful bride searching for her; sorrowfully they gazed at the pearly foam, as if they knew she had thrown herself into the waves.”
All quotations from the Hans Christian Anderson version. You can read the tale online here!
Click images for sources.
- The kind of obsessed where you have the t-shirts, the backpack, even crayons. (»)