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The Little Mermaid

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Once there was a little mermaid who fell in love with a human boy . . . The story may be familiar, but Lisbeth Zwerger's art makes this fairytale seem brand-new. This Jubilee edition, celebrating 200 years of Hans Christian Andersen, is superbly illustrated in Zwerger's signature style. Known for her popular and award-winning editions of classics such as The Wizard of Oz a Once there was a little mermaid who fell in love with a human boy . . . The story may be familiar, but Lisbeth Zwerger's art makes this fairytale seem brand-new. This Jubilee edition, celebrating 200 years of Hans Christian Andersen, is superbly illustrated in Zwerger's signature style. Known for her popular and award-winning editions of classics such as The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, Zwerger is herself the recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for lasting contributions to children's literature. The Little Mermaid is sure to win her new fans, and to delight her old ones. The text is an all-new translation by Anthea Bell, and includes many lovely and poignant details that may be new to even those who think they know the little mermaid's story well.


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Once there was a little mermaid who fell in love with a human boy . . . The story may be familiar, but Lisbeth Zwerger's art makes this fairytale seem brand-new. This Jubilee edition, celebrating 200 years of Hans Christian Andersen, is superbly illustrated in Zwerger's signature style. Known for her popular and award-winning editions of classics such as The Wizard of Oz a Once there was a little mermaid who fell in love with a human boy . . . The story may be familiar, but Lisbeth Zwerger's art makes this fairytale seem brand-new. This Jubilee edition, celebrating 200 years of Hans Christian Andersen, is superbly illustrated in Zwerger's signature style. Known for her popular and award-winning editions of classics such as The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, Zwerger is herself the recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for lasting contributions to children's literature. The Little Mermaid is sure to win her new fans, and to delight her old ones. The text is an all-new translation by Anthea Bell, and includes many lovely and poignant details that may be new to even those who think they know the little mermaid's story well.

30 review for The Little Mermaid

  1. 5 out of 5

    دعاء ممدوح

    واحدة من أفضل القصص التي قدمتها سلسلة الأطفال الرائعة؛ المكتبة الخضراء، والتي شكلت خيالنا ووجداننا في مرحلة الطفولة

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    The Little Mermaid, or "Den lille havfrue" is one of the most famous fairy tales by the Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen. It is a tale which has captured the imagination, sparking off numerous adaptations, and a ballet version of it inspired a statue which sits on a rock in the Copenhagan harbour in Langelinie. Even though the statue is quite small, it has itself become a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction. The tale was first published in 1837, along with "The Emperor's New Clot The Little Mermaid, or "Den lille havfrue" is one of the most famous fairy tales by the Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen. It is a tale which has captured the imagination, sparking off numerous adaptations, and a ballet version of it inspired a statue which sits on a rock in the Copenhagan harbour in Langelinie. Even though the statue is quite small, it has itself become a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction. The tale was first published in 1837, along with "The Emperor's New Clothes". Hans Christian Andersen generally published his fairy tales, or retellings of fairy tales, in small books containing only a small number. This particular pairing was a good one. This sad tale about yearning love and sacrifice, proves a perfect counterweight to the humour of "The Emperor's New Clothes". At the start, the story focuses on a very young mermaid, who lives in an underwater kingdom with her family. Her father is the mer-King, and she has five older sisters, each of whom had been born one year apart. Their grandmother helps to raise them all. When each mermaid becomes fifteen, she is allowed to swim to the surface of the sea for the first time, to glimpse the world above, and observe all that happens with the strange land-people. Each of the sisters in turn looks forward to reaching the memorable date. Then when she is old enough, each of them is keen to visit the upper world and to reports back on what she saw and did. The beautiful youngest daughter, quietly and eagerly, awaits her turn. And each time, as another sister returns, the Little Mermaid listens with longing to all they tell of the strange world above. (view spoiler)[ At last the little mermaid's turn arrives. She swims up to the surface, and sees a human prince on a ship, celebrating his birthday. Without his knowing, the little mermaid falls in love with this handsome prince with his jet-black eyes, from a distance. Like all mer-people, she is excited to see a violent storm approaching. But then she realises that because humans are different from mer-people, the handsome prince is actually in great danger. The little mermaid valiantly rescues him from drowning, and carries him to the safety of land, near a white building. Then she waits in hiding, to make sure he is found. Eventually a group of girls come out from the building and discover him, so the little mermaid returns to her home under the sea. But as time passes, the little mermaid sadly realises that the prince does not even know it was she who had saved his life. She is so quiet and thoughtful that her sisters begin to worry. When she tells them, one of her sisters helps her to find the kingdom where the handsome prince came from, so that she can watch him as he lives his day to day life in the palace. However, it does not really help. The little mermaid becomes even more melancholy after this, and asks her grandmother what would happen to humans if they did not drown. Would they live forever? Her grandmother explains that humans have only a short lifespan whereas mer-people live for 300 years. But when mermaids die, they turn to sea foam and cease to exist, whereas humans have an immortal soul, which rises up into the sky and lives on in heaven. According to her grandmother, the only way a mermaid can acquire an immortal soul, is if a human man falls in love with her and marries her. This makes the little mermaid determined to make the prince fall in love with her, but she needs help, so she sneaks away from a party and secretly visits the Sea Witch. She is very frightened, finding her way to the entrance through grasping polyps, and eels. One eel even has a dead mermaid in its clutches. Clearly the Sea Witch lives in a dangerous part of the ocean, "She had built her house from the bones of shipwrecked men, and here she sat, letting a toad feed out of her mouth, just as some people do with a pet canary ... She pressed [the vile slimy eels] close to her vast spongy chest." As with all stories of this kind, the hideous Sea Witch agrees that she can help, but demands a terrible price for her special potion. The little mermaid must give up her best talent - her beautiful singing voice. In return, the Sea Witch will give her the potion. The Sea Witch tells the little mermaid that drinking the potion will feel agonising, as if a sword is being passed through her body. But when the little mermaid recovers, she will still be beautiful and have two "pretty legs". She will also be able to dance more gracefully than any human has ever danced before. But every step she takes will feel as if she is walking on sharp knives. The conditions pile on. The Sea Witch warns that once the little mermaid becomes human, she will never be able to return to the sea. If the prince does not fall in love with her, and marries someone else instead, then the little mermaid will die the next day. At dawn on the first day after he does so, the little mermaid will die of a broken heart and dissolve into sea foam upon the waves. And, just to finally seal the bargain, the witch will cut out the little mermaid's tongue as payment. The little mermaid remains undeterred by all these terrible conditions. After she agrees to the arrangement, the little mermaid swims to the shore, near the prince's palace, and drinks the potion, fainting with the agonising pain. But when she comes to, she sees that she now has a pair of (what to her, look) very strange human legs, instead of her beautiful tail. The handsome prince discovers her, and says that she reminds him of the girl who (he assumes) had saved him - the girl from the white building who happened to be there when he woke up. Of course, the little mermaid has no voice, so cannot tell him the truth. Although the prince admires the little mermaid enormously and is fascinated by her beauty and grace, he does not fall in love with her. He likes to see her dance, and she dances for him even though her feet bleed and she suffers excruciating pain with every step. The prince is kind to the little mermaid, and has a boy's velvet suit made for her, so that he can take her everywhere with him on horseback. Soon, the prince's parents decide it is time for their son to marry, and encourage him to marry a princess from a neighbouring kingdom. The prince confides in the little mermaid that he is sure he will do no such thing. But when the prince meets the princess, in true fairytale fashion, she turns out to be the girl from the white building who found him on the beach - and hence the girl he believes saved his life. The prince unknowingly shares his joy in this with the heartbroken little mermaid, who still cannot convey the true story. He declares his love for the princess, and the royal wedding is announced at once. The little mermaid has no choice but to help with all the preparations, and even carry the bride's train up the aisle. After the wedding, the prince and princess celebrate on a wedding ship, and the little mermaid realises that she has lost everything, and will now die very soon, in a matter of hours. But unbeknownst to her, her sisters have a plan. They swim up to her, looking very different. The sisters have made a bargain with the Sea Witch. She demanded that they cut off all their long, beautiful hair in exchange for a special knife. The Sea Witch has promised that if the little mermaid plunges this knife into the prince's chest and kills him, then when his blood drips on her feet, her legs will turn back into a tail. If the little mermaid does this, and also lets the prince die, she will become a mermaid once more, all her suffering will end, and she will live out her full life in the ocean with her family as before. The little mermaid watches the prince as he sleeps, but the only word on his lips is the name of his bride. She cannot bear to kill him, and just as dawn breaks, the little mermaid tosses the knife into the sea. She follows it by throwing herself in after it, since she fully expects to turn into sea foam. However, she does not. She feels the warm sun and realises that she still exists, but as an earthbound spirit, a spirit of the air, instead. There are many other daughters of the air around too. They explain to the little mermaid that because she tried with all her heart to obtain an immortal soul, and because of her supreme selflessness and mercy in not killing the prince, she has become one of them instead of turning into sea foam. Additionally she will be given the chance to earn her own soul by doing good deeds for humans for 300 years. One day she will have earned her immortal soul and will rise up into heaven. And each time she visits the house of a good child, as a spirit of the air that time will be lessened. (hide spoiler)] So does this story have a happy ending? It certainly is a heart-breaking love story, and one which fulfils many satisfying features of fairy tales. The young mermaid is willing to give up her life in the sea - in fact her entire identity as a mermaid - in order to gain a human soul. The working title of the story was "Daughters of the Air". But the final message is unclear, and has been heavily criticised over the years. The little mermaid's eventual earning of an immortal soul depends on the behaviour of human children - whether they are good or bad. If they are good then that takes a year off her 300 years, but bad behaviour makes the spirits of the air weep, and a day is added for every tear they shed. This was a later revision by Hans Christian Andersen, as shown below, and it seems even more punitive that the first! P.L. Travers, in addition to writing the series about "Mary Poppins", was a noted expert on folklore. She wrote, "This final message is more frightening than any other presented in the tale. The story descends into the Victorian moral tales written for children to scare them ... a year taken off when a child behaves and a tear shed and a day added whenever a child is naughty? Andersen, this is blackmail. And the children know it and say nothing. There's magnanimity for you." It baffles me. Is it a tragic ending? Is it a happy one? I could accept either, although the events in this tale heavily point towards one rather than the other. What I dislike is the inconclusiveness, and indecision. Hans Christian Andersen's original manuscript shows that he has not deliberately written an ambiguous ending, but had a change of heart - and possibly not a final one. So four stars. The descriptive passages early in this longish tale are simply beautiful and the entire piece is very affecting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed Ejaz

    By now, I should be saying that I am used to reading Anderson's bitter-sweet tales. After all, I have read many of them. BUT HELL NO! I can't say it. The only reason I still read his tales is because his writing style is so vivid and beautiful. I am kind of addicted to his writing in such a way that I must have a dose of it once in a while. This tale is my favourite as far as description of scenes are concerned. He has a way with imagining awesome scenes. But for plot, I think almost every tale By now, I should be saying that I am used to reading Anderson's bitter-sweet tales. After all, I have read many of them. BUT HELL NO! I can't say it. The only reason I still read his tales is because his writing style is so vivid and beautiful. I am kind of addicted to his writing in such a way that I must have a dose of it once in a while. This tale is my favourite as far as description of scenes are concerned. He has a way with imagining awesome scenes. But for plot, I think almost every tale of his revolves around bitter-ending love story. This tale too has it. I felt nothing new. One thing I can say here is that for the first time, even though I was sad, I didn't mind this bitter-ending. 7 January, 2018

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dominique

    Hmm... I think its wrong to compare it with the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, although I didnt expected Andersens version was so... what shall I call it... f*cked up... The point of view of the Little Mermaid herself was wonderful, she was sweet and good-hearted. But the prince, omg! Why would you love such a person?! I mean: The prince said she should remain with him always, and she received permission to sleep at his door, on a velvet cushion. What is she?! A dog?! And the ending was Hmm... I think it´s wrong to compare it with the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, although I didn´t expected Andersen´s version was so... what shall I call it... f*cked up... The point of view of the Little Mermaid herself was wonderful, she was sweet and good-hearted. But the prince, omg! Why would you love such a person?! I mean: The prince said she should remain with him always, and she received permission to sleep at his door, on a velvet cushion. What is she?! A dog?! And the ending was an anticlimax, but okay, I suppose that´s because I saw the Disney movie.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Inés Izal

    Disney nos tiene engañados completamente.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carlos De Eguiluz

    Desamor y tragedia, de eso está repleto este relato, lo opuesto a esa encantadora versión con la que crecí.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    In Andersen's version of the tale, at the bottom of the sea, five mermaid princesses lived with their father. While they all pined to go to the surface to explore, none of this was permitted until their fifteenth birthdays. One by one, the mermaids ascended on their fifteenth birthdays to explore the outside world, returning with wonderful tales. The youngest is the most excited of all, making her way to the surface, only to help a prince who falls into the sea during a storm. From that day forw In Andersen's version of the tale, at the bottom of the sea, five mermaid princesses lived with their father. While they all pined to go to the surface to explore, none of this was permitted until their fifteenth birthdays. One by one, the mermaids ascended on their fifteenth birthdays to explore the outside world, returning with wonderful tales. The youngest is the most excited of all, making her way to the surface, only to help a prince who falls into the sea during a storm. From that day forward, she vows to find him again and love him like no other. However, to do so would require her to turn in her fish tail for human legs and cause her eternal agony. She is prepared to do this and takes on a few more horrors in order to be a woman. After making the transformation, the former mermaid is unable to convince the prince to marry her, thereby ruining her chances to live happily ever after. There are other horrors, which seem to appear in the original version of children's fairytales. Noe was shocked that the story did not follow the Disney version, though it is interesting to see his reaction to the actual outcome. He liked the story, but admitted that it was sad. I still ask myself what Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and others who wrote these stories thought when penning such morbid themes into their work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    A hauntingly beautiful story paired with achingly gorgeous illustrations! I'm sorry to say that this is the first time I've read the "actual" story of the Little Mermaid, previously acquainted only with very general retellings and the Disney movie version (which is delightful in its way). This version purports to be closest to Andersen's original as it makes only slight adaptations from the mid-19th century translation by Mary Howitt, a correspondent and friend of Andersen who introduced his wor A hauntingly beautiful story paired with achingly gorgeous illustrations! I'm sorry to say that this is the first time I've read the "actual" story of the Little Mermaid, previously acquainted only with very general retellings and the Disney movie version (which is delightful in its way). This version purports to be closest to Andersen's original as it makes only slight adaptations from the mid-19th century translation by Mary Howitt, a correspondent and friend of Andersen who introduced his work to the English reading public. It is deeper, sadder, and more stirring than the happy-ever-after versions--indeed, this little mermaid not only seeks the love of the prince but the immortality that will be hers if she obtains it (otherwise, mermaids turn to seafoam after their three hundred year life!) Wow!!! Santore's illustrations are so beautiful! I snapped up this edition based on the cover art and am not disappointed by the rest of the illustrations!!! Some of the full-page spreads are so enchanting! I'm not sure I'd recommend this version to most children. The complex plot point of immortality aside (which some parents may or may not wish to delve into!), the story is extremely wordy and long (I even put off reading it since I could read about seven regular picture books in time it took me to read this!) and some pages have only basic margin illustrations and the rest is all text. Also, parents should note that the mermaids in this version have none of the Disney G-rated seashells covering their breasts--usually there is a wisp of hair over the center area, but it could still be viewed by some as too risque for children. Also, some of the parts with the sea-witch might be a little too creepy for sensitive youngsters. These parental cautions aside, I highly recommend this story to adults or older children seeking the "real" story of the Little Mermaid accompanied by artwork you will not soon forget! NOTE TO SELF: Search for Chihiro Iwasaki illustrated edition.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonnie

    Hah. This is going to be like the ragequit of book reviews. *calm deep breaths* *inhale* *exhale* *googling pictures of fluffy kittens* WHAT THE FUCK HANS? WHAT THE FUCK! No no no no no. NO. I need to bleach this version from my SOUL. Hans, I'M TAWKING TO YOU. Rise up out of your 140 year old grave right now AND FIX THIS SHIT. I'm hunting down the original, and setting it on fire. Or at the very least writing Sebastian into your story. YOU CAN'T HAVE THE LITTLE MERMAID WITHOUT THE SASSY JAMAICAN CR Hah. This is going to be like the ragequit of book reviews. *calm deep breaths* *inhale* *exhale* *googling pictures of fluffy kittens* WHAT THE FUCK HANS? WHAT THE FUCK! No no no no no. NO. I need to bleach this version from my SOUL. Hans, I'M TAWKING TO YOU. Rise up out of your 140 year old grave right now AND FIX THIS SHIT. I'm hunting down the original, and setting it on fire. Or at the very least writing Sebastian into your story. YOU CAN'T HAVE THE LITTLE MERMAID WITHOUT THE SASSY JAMAICAN CRAB OK. I can't even fathom how this is classed as a fairy tale. This wasn't meant for children, right? I mean, this is downright DEPRESSING. I mean, I need some chocolately snacks and counselling to get through this crap. I need a large milkshake and some cheesy fries, STAT. Rage partially subsided, I can now safely inform readers of this messy messy tragic tragic review that the next sentences will contain spoilers. So many spoilers they'll sting your eyes. In this lovely (and original, yuck) story of The Little Mermaid, she does trade her voice to the sea witch in exchange for legs, yes. However, our good pal Hans also sees to it that the sea witch actually cuts out her tongue, meaning she will never speak or sing again. She gets her legs though. But wait, what's this? Every time she takes a step it's as if she's walking on blades? OH HOW SWEET. AT LEAST SHE GETS HER LEGS THOUGH! But what about the Prince? OH that prince. The one who calls her dumb all the time, and constantly compares her to some other girl who he *thought* saved his life, when it was actually her all along. The one who drops her as soon as he sees someone who he *thinks* resembles his "rescuer". That DICK. He's an entitled prat with a punchable face and a punchable personality. Shoulda let the bitch drown. Let's see, what else? OH my favourite quotes! What's a book (good or bad) without my favourite quotes, RIGHT!? (Guys, I'm getting hysterical) The prince said she should remain with him always, and she received permission to sleep at his door, on a velvet cushion. HOW KIND. Only the best for The Little Mermaid, amiright? I mean, it's velvet. (I have such a poisonous tone to my voice right now) "If I were forced to choose a bride, I would rather choose you, my dumb foundling." *grumble* Her tender feet felt as if cut with sharp knives, but she cared not for it; a sharper pang had pierced through her heart. Imma take this moment to throw some shade at The Little Mermaid herself. Because Hans inadvertently made me. So you willingly leave your grandmother, father and sisters, whom you love, to try and win the affections of some dude you saved one time. Not only do you agree to cut your tongue out, you also subject yourself to a life of misery because every time you take a fucking step, you're basically stepping on knives. Your feet bleed all over the place, and you just go "oh well. The Prince is a babe so la dee da." You lady, are DUMB. Internet memes are speaking to me now. Let's just stick to the Disney version. The one where Prince Eric is a babe aaaaand they live happilyeverafter THE END. *starts humming under the sea*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Britany

    Wow-- I knew this would be drastically different the the flame colored heroine of Disney's creation, but I don't know that I was prepared for this. For most of the book (almost 3/4) the story remains mostly the same. A young daughter of a widowed merman and her grandmother are raising her and her multitude of sister mermaids. On her 16th birthday, she spies a prince on a ship and then rescues his life from the sea. She also makes a trade with the sea witch, but the terms of the deal are much mor Wow-- I knew this would be drastically different the the flame colored heroine of Disney's creation, but I don't know that I was prepared for this. For most of the book (almost 3/4) the story remains mostly the same. A young daughter of a widowed merman and her grandmother are raising her and her multitude of sister mermaids. On her 16th birthday, she spies a prince on a ship and then rescues his life from the sea. She also makes a trade with the sea witch, but the terms of the deal are much more gruesome than I would have imagined and the ending simply left me aghast. Really glad that I finally can say that I've read the original.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    The Little Mermaid I grew up with was a sweet and cheerful red head who I could sing along and be happy with, be happy for. She was one of Disney's greatest mutation projects, a character most kids born after the year 1989 would be most familiar with - that was the year of the adaptation of the originally dark and doleful tale of the youngest mer-daughter of the royal underwater empire into something much more luminous and chipper. Don't get me wrong, I loved and lived the Disney concept as a li The Little Mermaid I grew up with was a sweet and cheerful red head who I could sing along and be happy with, be happy for. She was one of Disney's greatest mutation projects, a character most kids born after the year 1989 would be most familiar with - that was the year of the adaptation of the originally dark and doleful tale of the youngest mer-daughter of the royal underwater empire into something much more luminous and chipper. Don't get me wrong, I loved and lived the Disney concept as a little girl, and God bless Ariel's happy soul, I really loved that kid. The Little Mermaid in Hans' original is quiet and pensive, reserved in an alienating manner, and unnamed. She's always and only ever addressed as that - The Little Mermaid, for she was the youngest of the six royal mer-daughters. By all accounts, she was the most beautiful, most graceful, most introverted, and the most musically talented(no one's voice could ever compare to hers). I felt no warmth from her character at all. The story starts out quite ordinarily, as any fairytale would. The narration wasn't whimsical, it lacked the power of mesmerism and wonder but it was strangely and soothingly beautiful, engaging just for the simple fact of being so. Firstly we're introduced to the underwater world, to the 6 royal mer-daughters and their grandmother. We later learn of the mer-tradition, a rite of passage and the great enduring adventure of a mer-child: At the age of 15, they are granted a long awaited permission to rise to the surface of the water and see the world above, they could feed their curiosities, watch and wonder at humans and the human ways that were so different from theirs. For 5 of the royal sisters, it was an adventure, a transitory exhilaration. But for The Little Mermaid - who had to wait the longest for her turn while enduring an hungry fascination only fed fat by the stories her sisters brought back - it was something much more. A calling. And when finally her day arrived, with the flower wreath of blessing from her grandmother, she set out to see her glass world (And here I could feel how impatiently joyous she was; Finally!). During her time above, she happens upon a ship, saves a prince and falls in love with him. He becomes the apotheosis of her dream to be a part of something greater than her. A world so different and uncharted, puzzling. She becomes even more obsessed, more determined to be a part of that world. And one day when her grandmother tells her about the fates of human souls, and the contrasting bleak nothingness of sea foam which awaits all mer-people after they die, she decides to stop wanting, she decides to have it and she pays a heavy price for it. "Then your tail will divide and shrink until it becomes what the people on earth call a pair of shapely legs. But it will hurt; it will feel as if a sharp sword slashed through you. Everyone who sees you will say that you are the most graceful human being they have ever laid eyes on, for you will keep your gliding movement and no dancer will be able to tread as lightly as you. But every step you take will feel as if you were treading upon knife blades so sharp that blood must flow. I am willing to help you, but are you willing to suffer all this?" "Yes," the little mermaid said in a trembling voice, as she thought of the Prince and of gaining a human soul.” ❎ A FAIRYTALE THAT'S MORE THAN JUST A FAIRYTALE "If human beings are not drowned,” asked the little mermaid, “can they live forever? do they never die as we do here in the sea?” “Yes,” replied the old lady, “they must also die, and their term of life is even shorter than ours. We sometimes live to three hundred years, but when we cease to exist here we only become the foam on the surface of the water, and we have not even a grave down here of those we love. We have not immortal souls, we shall never live again; but, like the green sea-weed, when once it has been cut off, we can never flourish more. Human beings, on the contrary, have a soul which lives forever, lives after the body has been turned to dust. It rises up through the clear, pure air beyond the glittering stars. As we rise out of the water, and behold all the land of the earth, so do they rise to unknown and glorious regions which we shall never see.” “Why have not we an immortal soul?” asked the little mermaid mournfully; “I would give gladly all the hundreds of years that I have to live, to be a human being only for one day, and to have the hope of knowing the happiness of that glorious world above the stars.” ⏩ It's that time again. The time when we have to differentiate between want and need. Did The Little Mermaid want or did she need? Because want is flippant, careless, too common and unserious. But with need her actions would be justifiable. Acceptable. It would be easier to feel pity. ⏩ I don't think it's crazy to want to belong, to feel like you could belong to something great, but I don't think it's okay to be selfish about it. And this was how The Little Mermaid began wrongly. It was honestly really sad to read. The extreme choices she made... I would like to say mindlessly, but it would be incorrect to say so, because even though the word would fall right into place, mindless isn't the word to use for - what I would from here on out refer to as - a need great enough to beget such extremeness. But reading her choices wasn't the most saddening part, it was following on helplessly as all her sacrifices and efforts came to naught. After The Little Mermaid becomes human, the Prince finds her and takes custody of her. Yes, custody, not care, because he only loved her as one would love a child. He made several references to the girl who saved him but he never realized she was right there under his very nose. And I swear I found this silly, did they not read and write during that time? But of course, this question was only a consequence of reading such a book in the time of my life when my mind favors logic above all else. So what do you do? Squelch it and read on. ⏩ Through Hans' tale, you find out that the witch who granted The Little Mermaid her wish was just a tool, a passive character in the flow of events. This really intrigued me because in the Disney version, the witch named Ursula was a very antagonistic villain. She became evil so Ariel could shine and be blameless. Hans showed us the reality of life and how choices work. Letting The Little Mermaid take responsibility for her actions. You do the deed, you pay the price and bear the responsibility. It's all you, it can be that linear and there's no villain sometimes, sometimes you become the villain, your very own antagonist. ⏩ Hans captured the beauty of life - and afterlife, the mystery of it's meaningfulness and meaninglessness. The Little Mermaid saw the human world through a glass window. She idolized that world. She wanted to have a soul, to bask in quality and damn quantity, for what is a hundred years if you have not love, hope, passion, happiness and equals in opposite to show for it? Is it wrong to aspire to greater, to look at life as beyond the horizon and not through myopic eyes? And if mundane contentment will not do, how much are you willing to give up to achieve such glorious living? How much is okay to give up? And this leads me to this old, lost word: Sacrifice. Leave your father, your sisters and the world you know, for a boy you don't know but place all your hopes on. Leave never to return again. Make him fall in love with you completely and marry him or you will die. Give up your voice, your tongue, and hurt every time you walk. All this for the unknown. Stupid isn't it? Nowadays no one makes such potentially destructive investments without guarantees. And to what end was it all? More sacrifice . Sacrifice is the thematic centre of this story. The Little Mermaid's final act of sacrifice was striking. She was offered one final chance to save herself after the Prince married a Princess from another land. Your life or the life of the one who failed you? The dream that failed you. It's one thing to take away from this tale. In spite of her pain, regardless of it, of her failures and losses, she made her last choice. And she was rewarded for it. ⏩ One little grievance of mine. If a man should fall so much in love with you that you were dearer to him than his mother and father… and he let a priest take his right hand and put it in yours, while he promised to be eternally true to you, then his soul would flow into your body and you would be able to partake of human happiness. He can give you a soul and yet keep his own HOW ABSURD I don't know why I found this idea absolutely appalling. But the thought of sharing my soul with anyone - even if it wouldn't mean fracturing it or living a half-life, even if I would still get to keep and own it - is an absolute and squeamish NO NO for me. They never mentioned it, but I imagine there will be consequences of such an aberrancy. So I guess you could say this was a bumpy ride. I'm happy I could read and appreciate this, personally, but no I will not read this to my little girl(when the time comes) because I don't want her thinking it's okay to cut your tongue and sell your voice to the local witch for the love of a boy who would rub your handicap in your face by calling you dumb - and it doesn't matter if he meant to be romantic about it because who amongst us knows how to associate the word dumb with romance? - and tells you you could sleep at his door, as if it's one mighty privilege. If you can't do it to your dog then don't do it to a human being(No, I didn't mean it the other way around). This story was really nice and faithful to the rules of fairytale land in the beginning...and then it turned sour, then ugly, then nasty, then morbid, then horrific, depressing and cathartic... in the end I got the significance of the story. Now it's time to be thoughtful and gauge if the hassle was worth it. 4/5 stars for the affect.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Simona

    Rating: 3/5 Întotdeauna am fost atrasă de desenele animate, iar cele clasice, care m-au însoțit de-a lungul copilăriei, sunt printre preferatele mele. Unul dintre acestea este cel cu Mica sirenă, despre care sunt sigură că mai toată lumea a auzit. Nu știam povestea originală, și devenisem curioasă dacă aceasta se aseamănă sau nu cu desenele în care o regăsim pe Ariel. Mi-au plăcut cum arată cărțile ilustrate pentru copii de la Editura Univers Enciclopedic, iar printre ele am regăsit o adaptare a p Rating: 3/5 Întotdeauna am fost atrasă de desenele animate, iar cele clasice, care m-au însoțit de-a lungul copilăriei, sunt printre preferatele mele. Unul dintre acestea este cel cu Mica sirenă, despre care sunt sigură că mai toată lumea a auzit. Nu știam povestea originală, și devenisem curioasă dacă aceasta se aseamănă sau nu cu desenele în care o regăsim pe Ariel. Mi-au plăcut cum arată cărțile ilustrate pentru copii de la Editura Univers Enciclopedic, iar printre ele am regăsit o adaptare a poveștii lui Hans Christian Andersen. Primul lucru care m-a atras la această lectură au fost ilustrațiile frumoase realizate de Quentin Greban. Acest ilustrator îmi era familiar întrucât l-am întâlnit recent în cartea cu Peter Pan, unde am dat peste numeroase alte desene faine. Am pornit cu entuziasm lectura acestei cărți, știind că autorul m-a surprins plăcut atunci când am avut ocazia să fac cunoștință cu a lui Crăiasa-Zăpezii. De această dată nu am asistat la întreaga poveste a micii sirene, adaptarea textului fiind realizată de Muriel Molhant. Nu știu dacă traducerea în română, sau restrângerea textului (nu știu mărimea originală a poveștii) mi-au dat o senzație că ceva lipsește, dar, cu toate acestea, am terminat cartea cu drag. Surprinderea mi-a apărut la finalul poveștii, când am asistat la destinul tragic al sirenei care s-a sacrificat în numele iubirii. Elementele pe care le-am regăsit în carte îmi erau atât de familiare, dar atât de străine în același timp. Mă așteptam la un final fericit, așa cum îmi era indus din desenele animate, însă nu am avut parte chiar de ce îmi doream. Mi-a părut rău pentru mica sirenă, și i-am simțit tristețea. Fiind ținută mulți ani departe de lumea de deasupra apei, ea este plină de inocență și capătă curiozitate pentru ceea ce se află de cealaltă parte. Pe parcurs, dă dovadă și de o putere interioară demnă de invidiat, nu mulți fiind cei care ar prefera să se sacrifice de dragul celor iubiți. Ideea poveștii mi-a plăcut mult, însă adaptarea cam sărăcăcioasă pentru gustul meu nu m-a făcut să mă apropii îndeajuns de mult de lectură. Am fost mai mult absorbită de ilustrații, textul fiind pe planul secundar. Am terminat cartea repede de tot, și simt că ar fi potrivită mai mult pentru cei mici, povestea originală fiind probabil recomandată pentru noi, cei mai "mari" de vârstă. :) Citate: "- De ce nu pot să trăiesc și eu printre oameni? întrebă mâhnită mica sirenă. Aș da bucuroasă sutele de ani pe care le am de trăit dacă aș putea fi făptură omenească măcar pentru o zi!" (p.12) "Soarele ieși din mare și razele sale căzură blânde și calde pe spuma rece a valurilor, dar mica sirenă nu simțea nimic care să aducă a moarte. Vedea soarele luminos, pânzele albe ale corabiei, iar deasupra ei pluteau sute de ființe străvezii minunate. Zâmbind, li se alătura acestora și urcă pe un nor trandafiriu, care plutea în văzduh..." (p.27)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey the crazy cat lady

    The Disney version of The Little Mermaid is so much better. It’s a happy ending!! The original story, which is this, doesn’t end how I expected. It was so sad. I did enjoy the rest though.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paula W

    There isn't much to like about this story. A young mermaid finds out she doesn't have a soul and will end up as nothing more than sea foam after her death, so she goes about stalking a human she hopes will fall in love with her and give her part of his soul. Which could work, I guess, if she hadn't gotten her tongue cut out or if the human didn't see her as a pet instead of a serious love interest. He even had her sleeping outside his room on a cushion. \_(°_o)_/ There isn't much to like about this story. A young mermaid finds out she doesn't have a soul and will end up as nothing more than sea foam after her death, so she goes about stalking a human she hopes will fall in love with her and give her part of his soul. Which could work, I guess, if she hadn't gotten her tongue cut out or if the human didn't see her as a pet instead of a serious love interest. He even had her sleeping outside his room on a cushion. ͡¯\_(°_o)_/¯

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nalia

    “But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.” I actually re-read this, i've read this once i was a kid. Basically, i grew up with Hans Christian Andersen's book and The Little Mermaid is always be my favorite. If you know the little mermaid from Disney then think the ending was happy ending and they live happily ever after, you can't found it here. The little mermaid that i know was sad story. This is about the sacrifice that Little Mermaid made for her love. She left her “But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.” I actually re-read this, i've read this once i was a kid. Basically, i grew up with Hans Christian Andersen's book and The Little Mermaid is always be my favorite. If you know the little mermaid from Disney then think the ending was happy ending and they live happily ever after, you can't found it here. The little mermaid that i know was sad story. This is about the sacrifice that Little Mermaid made for her love. She left her beautiful life and her family for the man that actually never know what's her feeling or what she has done to him. He never know that he can live because The Little Mermaid save his life. For him, The Little Mermaid will do anything. She give up her voice to be a human who can live with her love. Not only that, she must win the prince's heart otherwise she would turn into the foam of the sea. So, you won't found the happily ever after between the Little Mermaid with the Prince, because the Prince didn't love the Little Mermaid, and when the Little Mermaid have a choice between her life and Prince's life in other to get her old live, still the Little Mermaid choose to save her prince and sacrifice herself. So she die and become the foam of the sea...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brian Hurst

    I choose to give it 5 stars because of the lovely way in which it is written, but, umm, still in a bit of a shock at the surprise ending, after being attuned to the blissful elixir of the Disney version all these years.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Merphy Napier

    I know this has really high ratings but I still feel like I shouldn't have loved this as much as I did. It was so tragically awesome. I love that it didn't have a happy ending. It was weird as snot but I loved it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is the first time I've read this original story (of possibly my favorite Disney movie). And obviously, it's a completely different experience, and the story is one that's been told in many forms throughout the last century at least. I did feel that it was closer to the Disney version than say, Snow White/Briar Rose. While I still don't like the less-than-happy ending, I enjoyed the story, imagery, etc enough to give it 4 stars. Probably my favorite of HCA's tales that I've read so far.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eman

    Disney's The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite animated movies. The book is even better. I personally assume that when Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid, he didn't intend it for little children even though the theme is kinda childish. It's more suitable for teens, or can fit in the YA genre more than Children's Literature. The book is so beautifully written with a creative touch on the mer-people and a deep take on self-sacrifice. It doesn't have your typical happy ending we're Disney's The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite animated movies. The book is even better. I personally assume that when Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid, he didn't intend it for little children even though the theme is kinda childish. It's more suitable for teens, or can fit in the YA genre more than Children's Literature. The book is so beautifully written with a creative touch on the mer-people and a deep take on self-sacrifice. It doesn't have your typical happy ending we're used to in fairy tales. It also contains some nudity, so when The Little Mermaid realizes that she's naked she basically covers herself up with her long hair. Morals of the story: - Blind/unconditional love sucks. If you sacrifice yourself for the one you truly love, he/she may not be worthy of your sacrifice. - Some men are selfish jerks. Even if you're drop-dead-gorgeous, they turn their back on you as soon they lay their eyes on another hot chick.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Having visited The Little Mermaid statue on a visit to Copenhagen in 2014, this was an obvious choice for Denmark in my #WorldCupInBooks challenge this summer. It’s hard not to compare it to the Disney version, but I was quite surprised how of the animated movie owed to the original story. Once a Mermaid reaches 15 years of age, they’re allowed to go up to the surface. When The Little Mermaid reaches this age, she rises up and watches a prince celebrating he’s birthday on a ship. During a storm the Having visited The Little Mermaid statue on a visit to Copenhagen in 2014, this was an obvious choice for Denmark in my #WorldCupInBooks challenge this summer. It’s hard not to compare it to the Disney version, but I was quite surprised how of the animated movie owed to the original story. Once a Mermaid reaches 15 years of age, they’re allowed to go up to the surface. When The Little Mermaid reaches this age, she rises up and watches a prince celebrating he’s birthday on a ship. During a storm the ship sinks and the Mermaid saves the prince. She soon falls in love and wishes to live on the land as a human. The story has a darker ending as The Little Mermaid’s pact with the Sea Witch is much more sinister, in the context of the short fairy tale I felt that it worked quite well. Thought of course I prefer the Disney version!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    Well I had heard this version was very different from the Disney version and oh was it different. I think it's a little bizarre if I'm honest but definitely not our ordinary happily ever after which I think I like.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amina

    He loves her like a pet, because she's devoted to him. She's allowed to sleep on his doorstep on a velvet cushion He will marry because he can't marry the one he loves Mr. prince:

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anastasja Kostic

    Ova mala bajka je jako tužna, i jako mi je krivo što nisam imala prilike da se pre domognem ove originalne verzije.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Natsu

    This is a re-read. My parents bought me a book of fairy tales when I was a kid. Even then I found it waaaaaaay better than the deluded "happily-ever-after" thing which Disney presented (I've read the Disney book, but I never watched the animated movie). Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against Disney, I love "Frozen" and Belle's (actually The Beast's) Library. It shows that life isn't all peachy. There's pain, sacrifice, and defeat in between and sometimes... there is no happy ending unless you l This is a re-read. My parents bought me a book of fairy tales when I was a kid. Even then I found it waaaaaaay better than the deluded "happily-ever-after" thing which Disney presented (I've read the Disney book, but I never watched the animated movie). Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against Disney, I love "Frozen" and Belle's (actually The Beast's) Library. It shows that life isn't all peachy. There's pain, sacrifice, and defeat in between and sometimes... there is no happy ending unless you look at the big picture.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Scarlet Cameo

    "Las sirenas no tienen lagrimas y por eso su sufrimiento es mayor" Una historia muy triste pero muy bella, del tipo que yo considero de obsesión y no de amor, no sólo obsesión con el príncipe sino con todo el mundo humano, pero eso mismo es lo que hace que el final no pueda ser distinto.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maha

    عجبني الخيـال فيها والمعني الجميـل المقصود منها :))

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    A perfect fairy story. Sweet but brutal and full of allegorical Christianity. Probably not a suitable version for modern children's bedtime.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nouf *LostinFantasy*

    “I know what you want,” said the sea witch; “it is very stupid of you, but you shall have your way, and it will bring you to sorrow, my pretty princess. You want to get rid of your fish’s tail, and to have two supports instead of it, like human beings on earth, so that the young prince may fall in love with you, and that you may have an immortal soul.” This dark but sad fairytale is definitely not the Disney version we grew up on. There's suffering, sacrifice, and maybe there's a happy ending o “I know what you want,” said the sea witch; “it is very stupid of you, but you shall have your way, and it will bring you to sorrow, my pretty princess. You want to get rid of your fish’s tail, and to have two supports instead of it, like human beings on earth, so that the young prince may fall in love with you, and that you may have an immortal soul.” This dark but sad fairytale is definitely not the Disney version we grew up on. There's suffering, sacrifice, and maybe there's a happy ending of sorts but it's not easily won by gallant heroics. When I was in school, I did a fun presentation for my class revealing the darker side of fairytales (it was a real hit and shocker too)... And I remember that the one that stuck with me most was Hans Christian Andersen's "the Little Mermaid". It was so sad but also so different from the Disney version in all the ways we don't want it to be. Anyway, I've recently picked out a dark retelling of the fairytale: Drown: A Twisted Take on the Classic Fairy Tale and decided to read the original first, since I never read the full version before. It starts a little similar to the Disney version. The Little Mermaid (no name mentioned) is the youngest of six mermaid princesses. She's always been curious about life above the sea, but she's not allowed to swim up to the surface until she turns fifteen. When she finally does, she looks in on a ship celebrating the sixteenth birthday of a handsome prince she finds instantly captivating. The ship is soon torn apart by a storm and she pulls the drowning prince to the safety of a beach. But then she has to hide because several girls walk out from a nearby church. And guess what? She watches him wake up and mistake one of the girls as his rescuer. Later after watching him from a distance for a while, she has a talk with her grandmother. She learns that while mermaids live longer than humans, they don't have an immortal soul and simply dissolve into sea foam when they die and cease to exist - unless a human loves them enough to marry them and therefore share their soul with the mermaid. So, she goes to the sea witch (who is ten times creepier than Ursula), and is promised legs, but what are the conditions. Let's list them: --She not only loses her voice (her most defining feature), but gets her tongue literally chopped off. Yeah. --the transformation from fins to legs will be as painful as being sliced in half. --of course the pain doesn't end there. She'll walk gracefully but with every step it'll feel like stepping on sharp knives that cut her open. And this is supposed to be a Children's book?! *shivers*) --if the Prince marries someone else, she will immediately turn into sea foam and nothingness. It's an all or nothing deal. And maybe you can say she's completely stupid for agreeing but I just couldn't not sympathize with her. She's young, afraid of dying and being forgotten, and wants the love of someone who just happens to be the answer to her wishes. And does all that pay off? The Prince takes her in to stay at his palace, but he is still fixated on the idea of the girl he saw on the beach - who he thinks saved him. He doesn't know who the mermaid really is, and all she's done for him, she can't sing to impress him - she can't say anything at all. So to get him to notice her, she dances for him (ouch ouch). After that, he does start to really like her. But how does he show it? He lets her sleep "at his door" (because that means she's special to him - like a Golden Retriever, maybe), he calls her "dumb" a lot - and I know he's not referring to her intelligence but to her disability but how is that better in any world and century? I don't know if it was an acceptable term back then but it's like he kept throwing it in her face and I wanted to smack him every time. He apparently loves her like a "child". Man, she's only a year younger than you! But then he has the gall to basically tell her that she's his consolation prize for not finding his actual savior. Later he tells her he'd choose her if forced to marry (because she looks like said-savior), calls her dumb again, and kisses her. But what happens when it turns out this other princess he's being arranged to marry is the girl from the beach (the false rescuer)? Where does that leave the Little Mermaid? (view spoiler)[He dumps her, of course. But that's not all of it... Does he let her down nicely? I'm sure he thinks he does when he demands she be happy for him: "Oh, I am too happy,” said he to the little mermaid; “my fondest hopes are all fulfilled. You will rejoice at my happiness; for your devotion to me is great and sincere.” How is any of this fair?? The Little Mermaid gets a chance to fix everything in the end. Her sisters tell her they've bargained with the witch for her to come back to the sea, and she's agreed with the instruction that the mermaid has to kill the Prince. But the mermaid doesn't do it. She jumps into the ocean instead, where she would die. She doesn't take the easy way out even though she's obviously terrified. (hide spoiler)] I know some will say the moral of the fairytale (they all have those) is probably to be satisfied with what you already have, to be careful what you wish for.... Okay, sure, that's all fine. But the Little Mermaid is not whiny or selfish or greedy at all. She's determined, suffering in literal silence, taking on the worst obstacles and in the end she'd rather lose it all than be selfish or vicious. She wasn't only pining for a boy, she wanted so much more for herself, but she doesn't sacrifice anyone but herself to get it. And that's why there's a pretty appropriate twist to the ending of her story. (view spoiler)[Her struggles are noticed by spirits/beings called the 'Daughters of the Air' who live to do good in order to earn an immortal soul. They let her join them instead of fading away, and she lives on - with no pain. I remember that while I was researching this years ago, I read that in the original ending the mermaid simply jumps into the water, fading into sea foam forever. I'm not sure about this info, but that ending would have really been depressing and pointless. (hide spoiler)] This Mermaid's happily ever after is not exactly like Ariel's but it's more in line with her own hopes and struggles. In some ways I liked her a little more than Ariel because she was really and truly challenged because of her choices. I like the story as it is, written when it was. But if I ever have children, I'd let them see the Disney version instead. I'd choose for them the version without the princess dancing on knives for the prince when he's not even worth a paper-cut. A version with no knife-stepping at all is good enough! :D

  29. 4 out of 5

    Set

    This is my favorite illustrated book of the story of the Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. The artwork depicting the sea, mermaids, and the medieval court is absolutely beautiful. Again, this version illustrated by Charles Santore of the Little Mermaid is a must have for any library collection of fairy tales. This is the original story by Hans Christian Anderson of a young mermaid that fell in love with a human prince and how she endeavors to gain his love through sacrifice and eventuall This is my favorite illustrated book of the story of the Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. The artwork depicting the sea, mermaids, and the medieval court is absolutely beautiful. Again, this version illustrated by Charles Santore of the Little Mermaid is a must have for any library collection of fairy tales. This is the original story by Hans Christian Anderson of a young mermaid that fell in love with a human prince and how she endeavors to gain his love through sacrifice and eventually the ultimate one to save his life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mihaela

    Oh, well, this is going to be a harsh review... "The little mermaid" is my favorite Disney movie since FOREVER. I knew the original story had a tragic ending, despite that I prepared myself to love, or at least like it anyway. But wow, this is NOT what I expected. And I knew that this story was inspired by a real one, in which our dear Hans Christian Andersen is metaphorically the little mermaid, more exactly, a gay who was in love with a straight man, who chose a woman over him. I mean, yeah, it' Oh, well, this is going to be a harsh review... "The little mermaid" is my favorite Disney movie since FOREVER. I knew the original story had a tragic ending, despite that I prepared myself to love, or at least like it anyway. But wow, this is NOT what I expected. And I knew that this story was inspired by a real one, in which our dear Hans Christian Andersen is metaphorically the little mermaid, more exactly, a gay who was in love with a straight man, who chose a woman over him. I mean, yeah, it's sad and I'm sorry for you, Hans, but what the hell did you expect? Anyway, our beloved writer put his whole frustration on this story. “Why have not we an immortal soul?” asked the little mermaid mournfully; “I would give gladly all the hundreds of years that I have to live, to be a human being only for one day, and to have the hope of knowing the happiness of that glorious world above the stars.” Our princess has a kind,poetic soul, but oh, she's not the smartest fish in the sea. To be honest she's dumb, dumb enough to sacrifice everything she has for a guy she barely knows. Let's move on to the prince. In the movie, Eric ( the prince) is such a nice guy, but in the original story he is the biggest jerk I've ever seen. The prince said she should remain with him always, and she received permission to sleep at his door, on a velvet cushion. What's next, Your Grace? Teach her how to bark? Too bad that she'd lost her voice, couse he would be able to do that too. I mean, I get it, you think the girl is dumb and you weren't afraid to make that crystal clear, but seriously, treat her like a dog or, even better, an accessory? And I didn't say he must miraculously love her too, but to treat her like a human being, at least, would be nice. (view spoiler)[And his jerkness doesn't end here. He kisses her right after saying that he could never love her and that he's going to marry another woman soon. ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS? (hide spoiler)] And after destroying everything, the author throws at us a wannabe happy ending. And you just want to scream: I'll just stick to the Disney version and act like the original one doesn't exist at all.

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