In my most recent bout of insomnia, I read the ORIGINAL Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. I have not read it since I was a little girl. To summarize: badass mermaid cuts off tongue to be betrayed and still saves his sorry ass.
Here is the story in a nutshell:
Mermaids pierce their tails with shells according to social status. They throw awesome parties, and they come of age at fifteen. TLM is allowed to surface on her fifteenth birthday, with the blessing of her father and sassy grandmother.
She sees a party ship, thinks the prince is a dish, and watches the ship sink. She saves his life and drags him to shore, where his unconscious ass gets rescued.
TLM goes emo for a while, madly and mournfully in love. She lets her sea-garden die, and stalks the beach where she saved him in case he returns. Seasons go by. With her sister’s help she finds where he lives, and stalks him at his palace.
Then she goes to the sorceress, where she gets her TONGUE CUT OFF in payment. She is given a potion that will give her legs, but it hurts like a chainsaw cutting her torso to feet. Oh, and every time she takes a step it feels like she’s walking on knives. Awesome.
And then the prince leads her on. He lets TLM follow him around, kisses her, and tells her she will never be the woman of his dreams. Still, just to be close to him, the broken hearted little mermaid lives as happily beside him as she can, until he marries another woman. TLM holds the train of the other woman’s wedding dress as her handsome prince weds someone else. Then she dances at the wedding until her feet bleed, knowing she will die the next day. You see, the sorceress warned her that if the prince wed someone else, TLM would die and become foam on the sea.
Her last chance to save her own life is to stab the prince while he sleeps. Instead, she kisses the sleeping bride good bye, wishes him a final farewell, and falls into the ocean.
Happy ending? Kind of. She gets to spend the next 300 years in purgatory as an air-spirit trying to win an immortal soul by doing good deeds. But she now has the hope of earning an immortal soul, which mermaids cannot have on their own.
Clearly Disney took a few creative liberties. “Ariel” is not what Mr. Andersen had in mind. His story is one of self-sacrifice and solitude- the ultimate unrequited love.
Will someone please make this version a movie now?