How well do you think you know the tale of the Little Mermaid? Chances are that like most people you are only familiar with the version presented by Disney. Well, like most other films they have produced, Disney have butchered and sanitized the story to a point where very little of the original story exists. Well, like the many of other stories we have mentioned before, the original story of the Little Mermaid is much more harrowing than the Disney version. To be precise, The original Little Mermaid Ariel dies, and that isn’t even her real name. The original story of the Little Mermaid written by Hans Cristian Anderson in 1836 is a story filled with pain, tragedy and heartbreak. You know how we just said that Ariel wasn’t her real name? The original story didn’t mention her name once and it is a clue as to the tragedy that will unfold throughout the original story of the Little Mermaid.
In Andersons original story the Little Mermaid is the youngest sister of seven girls and lives with her father, the sea king and her grandfather. Each of the girls are born exactly one year apart. On their 15th birthday the mermaids are permitted to go to the surface to experience the world above. On each occasion the Little Mermaid listens lovingly to the stories they bring back.
When it is her turn, the Little Mermaid goes to the surface and sees a handsome prince on a ship and falls in love with him. A viscous storm swells up and throws the prince overboard. The Little Mermaid is there to rescue the prince from drowning and takes him to the shore near a temple while he is unconscious. There she waits until a girl from the temple discovers the prince and he wakes having never seen the little mermaid.
The Little Mermaid asks her grandmother if humans live forever? She is told that they have much shorter lives than the 300 year lifespan of a mermaid, but when they die their soul lives on forever, while when a mermaid dies they turn into sea foam and cease to exist. In an attempt to meet her prince and live forever as a soul she approaches the sea witch who gives her a potion in exchange for her tongue. See, told you it is very different. Why her tongue you ask? She had the most intoxicating voice in the world. But becoming a mute was not the only twist awaiting the Little Mermaid. The witch warned her that once she became a human she would never be able to return to the sea. Surely it can’t get any crueller than that, can it? We’re talking an original fairy tale here, so of course it can.
When she drinks the potion given to her by the sea witch she feels an excruciating pain, like a sword passing through her. Once she recovers she will have two beautiful legs and be able to dance like no other human has ever done before. But there’s yet another cruel catch in this original version of The Little Mermaid. Se will feel as though she is constantly walking on swords, and her feet will bleed most terribly. Additionally, she will only get a soul if the prince loves her and marries her, as part of his soul will pass on to her. If the prince marries another woman she will die and turn into sea foam at dawn on the next morning.
Now we’re talking, right? This is vintage cruel fairy tale material. She meets the prince and he falls for her beauty and grace, even though she is a mute. He especially likes her dancing, despite the pain it causes her. The prince begins to fall in love with the Little Mermaid, but is ordered to marry the princess from a neighbouring kingdom. He tells the Little Mermaid he will not marry her as he can only love and marry the girl from the temple who be believes rescued him from drowning. Fate would have it that the princess is actually the girl from the temple and she was sent there by her father to be educated. The prince and princess fall in love and marry.
This has been a pretty messed up love story if you ask me. By rights she should have married the prince, but instead she gets her heart broken and awaits her death. But not yet content with a totally messed up love story Hans Cristian Anderson just kept on delivering. Her sisters traded their long hair for a knife from the sea witch. If the Little mermaid killed the prince and his blood dripped to her feet she would turn back into a mermaid and live out her life.
The death of the little mermaid in the original story
The Little Mermaid can’t bring herself to kill the prince as he is sleeping with his new bride and throws herself into the sea to turn into sea foam. Her body dissolves into foam, but instead of becoming nothing, she feels the warmth of the sun and has turned into a spirit, a daughter of the air. The other daughters of the air tell her that she turned out like them because she strove with all of her heart to gain a soul. If she continues to do good deeds she will one day earn her own soul and rise up into the kingdom of God.
If this fact surprised you take a look at these ones:
- Aladdin was Chinese
- Disney had a self destruct DVD. Did it go bang?
- Scrooge McDuck died in 1967. How old was he?
- Sleeping Beauty was a rape victim