Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid, 
the Underwater Kingdom, 
C/o Hans Christian Andersen

Dear Little Mermaid,

Of all the characters I have ever read in fairy tales, you were the only one that struck a chord with me. You were the only one that didn’t win the heart of Prince Charming. 

Your peers became princesses and lived happily ever after. One kiss and their lives changed for the better. You were the only one who started out with a great life and gave it all up for love. 

True love. 

But nary a happy ending in sight.

We humans are blessed with a soul, and most of us don’t spare a thought to its sustenance. You were willing to give up your life of privilege in the sea, your very identity as a mermaid, to be with a human prince, whose fickle memory held nothing for you.

But you were only a mermaid. How were you to know that we humans are quick to receive and slow to give?

You committed the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of your love for the prince. You saved his life when he fell off the ship, and he, foolish prince, fell in love with the girl who discovered his insensible body at the temple, right after you rescued him and left him there. The temple girl turned out to be a neighbouring princess, and the prince allowed his gratitude to turn into love, never realizing that he owed that gratitude to you.

The human prince saw what he wanted to see. The debt he owed you piled up, as you gave up your voice, the sweetest and most enchanting in the sea kingdom, in exchange for legs. You bore the pain that came from walking on your new legs. Willingly. Punishing yourself for love. 

All you had was hope. That the prince would fall in love with you, and that in marrying you, a part of his soul would sustain you.

But the story didn’t end the way you hoped it would. Even then you had a solution. 

Your four sisters cut off their beautiful long hair, and gave it to the Sea Witch in order to obtain a reprieve for you in the shape of a dagger. Here I must digress. 

Your sisters too offer a shining example of the self-sacrificing love that you displayed so exemplarily. Your parents have raised fine young women indeed. If only the menfolk deserved your goodness.

All you had to do was to plunge it into the heart of the prince and let the drops fall on yourself in order to return to your life as a mermaid. Did you accept that solution?

No, for that was not your way.

My only grouse: after all you did, I think you deserved to get a soul right away, instead of transforming into an ethereal spirit. Why make you serve time, doing good deeds for another 300 years, in order to win yourself the ultimate prize and enter the Kingdom of God?

If I were the author, you wouldn’t have had to wait.



  1. I have never thought to the little mermaid this way, but I see your point.

    I always found this fairy tale so very sad.

  2. Yes, indeed, Sarah, it is sad. She does all the hard work and someone who just happens to be in the right place at the right time reaps the rewards.

  3. That was superb! who would have thought about things from the mermaids point of view? after all that selfless love, she gets almost nothing! Ah! only if you were the author...

  4. A sad and tragic story, but sometimes it's good to have a sad and tragic story to remind us that there are no happily ever afters in real live.

  5. Yes, if only I were the author, LittlePrincess, there'd be a happier ending for the Little Mermaid. No, not that doofus prince. Someone better.

  6. Sigh, Jeffrey, unfortunately, sad and tragic stories are all around us. That is why I expect better behaviour from my fiction. :)

  7. I love the way you have written this letter Cynthia. There is no way one can read this and don't feel sorry about the poor mermaid :(



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