The Little Mermaid

Hans Christian Andersen


The Little Mermaid

At the bottom of the sea, very deep in the water, live the sea people. It is a beautiful world and the palace of the sea king is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. The sea king had been a widower for many years, but lived with his old mother and his six princesses in the castle.

The littlest mermaid was a wonderful girl. While her sisters were exuberant and happy, she dreamed of the world above the water. Her grandmother told her stories about the world of men, and the little mermaid could not wait to be allowed a visit to this mysterious world.

On her fifteenth birthday, the time had come. She had heard many stories from all her older sisters and now she could see it with her own eyes. On the waves, the little mermaid saw a huge ship bobbing up and down. There was the sound of laughter and singing. When she came a little closer, the little mermaid saw a breathtakingly beautiful Prince. His black hair and black eyes were enchanting, and the little mermaid could not take her eyes off him.


The Little Mermaid

But in the distance a storm approaching. The waves became higher and higher and the ship could not withstand them. It broke in two and sank to the bottom of the sea. The mermaid knew that people cannot survive in water, so she searched for the prince. She found him and held his head above the water. She kept it there until the storm had passed and they reached the mainland.


The Little Mermaid

On the shore there was a monastery. Carefully the mermaid laid the prince on dry land and kissed him on the forehead. Then she hid and waited to see if anyone would find her prince. Not much later, some girls came running out of the monastery. One of them immediately saw the Prince lying there and took care of him. Sadly, the mermaid returned home.


The Little Mermaid

At home, the little mermaid told the story to her big sisters. One of them knew where the Prince's palace was and took the little mermaid there the next night.

How she longed to be with him. Every night she returned to look at her prince.

One day, the little mermaid plucked up all her courage and asked the sea witch for help. “I can turn your fish tail into legs, but it is very painful," the witch said. “In return for your beautiful voice, I will give you a potion. But every step you take will feel like stepping on a knife. Also, you can never become a mermaid again, and if the Prince marries another, the next morning your heart will break and you will become foam on the water.” The Princess accepted it all..


The Little Mermaid

The mermaid swam to the prince's palace and went ashore. She drank the potion and fainted from the unbearable pain. The next morning, she woke up with the prince standing next to her. Of course she couldn't say anything, but the prince took her into his castle anyway. He gave her the most beautiful clothes and allowed her to live with him. Every day he loved her more and more, but it never occurred to him to marry her.


The Little Mermaid

The prince told her that he only wanted to marry the girl who had found him on the beach. One day his parents made the Prince meet a princess from another country. They hoped that he would want to marry her, but the little mermaid knew that he would only want to marry one girl. He would rather marry the mermaid than just any princess. So she went with him on the journey, full of confidence.

At last they were in the other country. They still had to wait for the Princess. She was still on her way from the temple where she had been brought up for years. As soon as the Prince saw her, he knew. This was the girl who had found him on the beach all those years ago. He would marry her. The little mermaid could already feel her heart breaking.

The evening after the wedding there was a big party on a ship. Sadly, the little mermaid looked across the water, knowing that the next morning she would become foam on the sea. Then suddenly she saw her sisters coming up to the surface. They gave her a sharp knife and told her to kill the Prince. Only then would she be able to live. But the little mermaid refused. She would never hurt her dear Prince. Then she threw herself into the sea.


The Little Mermaid

But instead of becoming foam on the waves, she turned into a floating creature. “What am I?” she asked the others she saw floating around her. “We are the daughters of the air.” they replied. “If we do good deeds for 300 years, we can get an immortal soul. You have already tried to do so much good that you can try to get it too.” And that is exactly what the little mermaid was going to do.

Download the PDF of The Little Mermaid with illustrations


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