Dec 14, 2011

Thursday's Quotables: The Little Mermaid (Original Story)

The Little Mermaid:
What Grandmother Tells Her
(from the original story by Hans Christian Andersen)

“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.”

“You must not think of that,” said the old woman; “we feel ourselves to be much happier and much better off than human beings.”

“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?”

“No,” said the old woman, “unless a man were to love you so much that you were more to him than his father or mother; and if all his thoughts and all his love were fixed upon you, and the priest placed his right hand in yours, and he promised to be true to you here and hereafter, then his soul would glide into your body and you would obtain a share in the future happiness of mankind. He would give a soul to you and retain his own as well; but this can never happen. Your fish's tail, which amongst us is considered so beautiful, is thought on earth to be quite ugly; they do not know any better, and they think it necessary to have two stout props, which they call legs, in order to be handsome.”

There are so many versions of The Little Mermaid in the world today. It's wonderful when people are inspired and create new stories, but please take the time to read the first and original Little Mermaid tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
It truly is a beautiful story.


  1. WOW I think I really should read the original story. I didn't even know it was written by Andersen, just shows you how much disney distorts the truth.

  2. Yeah, the original story is beautiful. I hope you like it! And I guess that's part of the beauty of stories --they can morph so much throughout time and become something different to different people. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is nice to go back to the roots of a tale once in a while.


So, what do you think, oh Lovely Reader?

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