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"They die," came the reply, "only human lives are shorter than ours. We live for three hundred years then we turn into foam upon the waves. Humans have souls that live for ever in the skies."
"Why can't I be like that?" sighed the mermaid. "I'd like to exchange my three hundred years for one clay of human life. I'd rather live in the sky for ever than change into foam!"
"That's no way to speak," said her grandmother.
"Can't I ever get this human immortal soul?" the mermaid asked over and over again until in the end her grandmother said: "There is only one way. If a man loved you more than anyone or anything else then his soul could run into you and you would be immortal. But this won't happen because humans say that our tails are ugly. They only like something they call `legs'."
She glided away and the little mermaid looked sad y at her lovely tail. But now that she knew where he lived, many an evening and many a night she spent there in the sea. She saw some rocks next the shore. Here she used to sit and watch the young Prince when he thought himself quite alone in the bright moonlight. She couldn't forget the prince. Somehow she must become human. "I'll ask the sea-witch to help," she exclaimed. Off she swam to the whirlpool where the evil witch lived. When she got there, the little mermaid was terrified. It was really a frightening place with human skulls and sharks. Her heart thumped with fear and she nearly turned back, but then she remembered the Prince and the souls that men have, and she summoned her courage. Finally, the little mermaid met the witch and she explained to her what she wanted.
"I see." said the sea witch. "It is very foolish of you, but just the same you shall have your way, for it will bring you to grief, my proud princess. You want to get rid of your fish tail and have two props instead, so that you can walk about like a human creature, and have the young Prince fall in love with you, and win him and an immortal soul besides." "I'll mix something for you to drink. Your tail will shrink and divide into two funny things called legs. You will have a terrible pain like a knife cutting through you and this pain will never leave you. You will always be beautiful and you'll be the best dancer in the world but every step you take will be painful."
"I'll bear anything for the prince," the mermaid said bravely.
"There's something else," warned the witch, "once you've become a human you can never be a mermaid again. You can't return to your father's palace. If the prince doesn't love you, you cannot be immortal. You will The Little Mermaid turn into foam the day after he marries someone else."
The mermaid trembled. "I'll do it," she whispered. "In return for this drink I demand that you give me your voice, for it is the sweetest of all the mermaids. That shall be my payment."
"But how will I speak and charm the prince?"
"You're beautiful, you'll dance, you'll smile. Come, sing for me." The little mermaid shivered but her mind was made up and she began to sing. The witch casted a spell which allowed her to steal the voice of the little mermaid. The witch handed the potion to her.
The Little Mermaid (IiI)
Jun 19, 2012 by narro
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