The Little Mermaid

  • The Little Mermaid

  • Narrator

    FAR out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower and as clear as crystal, it is very, very deep;

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  • so deep, indeed, that no cable could sound it, and many church steeples, piled one upon another, would not reach from the ground beneath to the surface of the water above.

  • There dwell the Sea King and his subjects.

  • We must not imagine that there is nothing at the bottom of the sea but bare yellow sand.

  • No, indeed, for on this sand grow the strangest flowers and plants, the leaves and stems of which are so pliant that the slightest agitation of the water causes them to stir as if they had life.

  • Fishes, both large and small, glide between the branches as birds fly among the trees here upon land.

  • In the deepest spot of all stands the castle of the Sea King.

  • Narrator

    Its walls are built of coral, and the long Gothic windows are of the clearest amber.

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  • The roof is formed of shells that open and close as the water flows over them.

  • Their appearance is very beautiful, for in each lies a glittering pearl which would be fit for the diadem of a queen.

  • The Sea King had been a widower for many years, and his aged mother kept house for him.

  • She was a very sensible woman, but exceedingly proud of her high birth, and on that account wore twelve oysters on her tail, while others of high rank were only allowed to wear six.

  • She was, however, deserving of very great praise, especially for her care of the little sea princesses, her six granddaughters.

  • Narrator

    They were beautiful children, but the youngest was the prettiest of them all.

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  • Her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea;

  • but, like all the others, she had no feet and her body ended in a fish's tail.

  • All day long they played in the great halls of the castle or among the living flowers that grew out of the walls.

  • The large amber windows were open, and the fish swam in, just as the swallows fly into our houses when we open the windows;

  • only the fishes swam up to the princesses, ate out of their hands, and allowed themselves to be stroked.