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    ?????à??Ö?ÖÎÁÆÐÂ?øÕ? TPGÁÆ??ÖÎÁÆ?ùÍ??à??Ö?ºä??Ò?Ñ???ÌÚÑ?Å?ÐÔ?? ????http://lady.qq.com/a/20121123/000215.htm FAIRY TALES OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN THE LITTLE MERMAID by Hans Christian Andersen FAR out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as theprettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, verydeep; so deep, indeed, that no cable could fathom it: many churchsteeples, piled one upon another, would not reach from the groundbeneath to the surface of the water above. There dwell the Sea Kingand his subjects. We must not imagine that there is nothing at thebottom of the sea but bare yellow sand. No, indeed; the mostsingular flowers and plants grow there; the leaves and stems ofwhich are so pliant, that the slightest agitation of the watercauses them to stir as if they had life. Fishes, both large and small,glide between the branches, as birds fly among the trees here uponland. In the deepest spot of all, stands the castle of the Sea King.Its walls are built of coral, and the long, gothic windows are ofthe clearest amber. The roof is formed of shells, that open andclose as the water flows over them. Their appearance is verybeautiful, for in each lies

    a glittering pearl, which would be fit forthe diadem of a queen. The Sea King had been a widower for many years, and his agedmother kept house for him. She was a very wise woman, andexceedingly proud of her high birth; on that account she wore twelveoysters on her tail; while others, also of high rank, were onlyallowed to wear six. She was, however, deserving of very great praise,especially for her care of the little sea-princesses, hergrand-daughters. They were six beautiful children; but the youngestwas the prettiest of them all; her skin was as clear and delicate as arose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea; but, like allthe 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 amongthe living flowers that grew out of the walls. The large amber windowswere open, and the fish swam in, just as the swallows fly into ourhouses when we open the windows, excepting that the fishes swam upto the princesses, ate out of their hands, and allowed themselves tobe stroked. Outside the castle there was a beautiful garden, inwhich grew bright red and dark blue flowers, and blossoms likeflames of fire; the fruit glittered like gold, and the leaves andstems waved to and fro continually. The earth itself was the finestsand, but blue as the flame of burning sulphur. Over everything laya peculiar blue radiance, as if it were surrounded by the air fromabove, through which the blue sky shone, instead of the dark depths ofthe sea. In calm weather the sun could be seen, looking like apurple flower, with the light streaming from the calyx. Each of theyoung princesses had a little plot of ground in the garden, whereshe might dig and plant as she pleased. One arranged her flower-bedinto the form of a whale; another thought it better to make herslike the figure of a little mermaid; but that of the youngest wasround like the sun, and contained flowers as red as his rays atsunset. She was a strange child, quiet and thoughtful; and while hersisters would be delighted with the wonderful things which theyobtained from the wrecks of vessels, she cared for nothing but herpretty red flowers, like the sun, excepting a beautiful marble statue.It was the representation of a handsome boy, carved out of purewhite stone, which had fallen to the bottom of the sea from a wreck.She planted by the statue a rose-colored weeping willow. It grewsplendidly, and very soon hung its fresh branches over the statue,almost down to the blue sands. The shadow had a violet tint, and wavedto and fro like the branches; it seemed as if the crown of the treeand the root were at play, and trying to kiss each other. Nothing gaveher so much pleasure as to hear about the world above the sea. Shemade her old grandmother tell her all she knew of the ships and of thetowns, the people and the animals. To her it seemed most wonderful andbeautiful to hear that the flowers of the land should havefragrance, and not those below the sea; that the trees of the forestshould be green; and that the fishes among the

    trees could sing sosweetly, that it was quite a pleasure to hear them. Her grandmothercalled the little birds fishes, or she would not have understoodher; for she had never seen birds. "When you have reached your fifteenth year," said thegrand-mother, "you will have permission to rise up out of the sea,to sit on the rocks in the moonlight, while the great ships aresailing by; and then you will see both forests and towns." In the following year, one of the sisters would be fifteen: but aseach was a year younger than the other, the youngest would have towait five years before her turn came to rise up from the bottom of theocean, and see the earth as we do. However, each promised to tellthe others what she saw on her first visit, and what she thought themost beautiful; for their grandmother could not tell them enough;there were so many things on which they wanted information. None ofthem longed so much for her turn to come as the youngest, she whohad the longest time to wait, and who was so quiet and thoughtful.Many nights she stood by the open window, looking up through thedark blue water, and watching the fish as they splashed about withtheir fins and tails. She could see the moon and stars shiningfaintly; but through the water they looked larger than they do toour eyes. When something like a black cloud passed between her andthem, she knew that it was either a whale swimming over her head, or aship full of human beings, who never imagined that a pretty littlemermaid was standing beneath them, holding out her white hands towardsthe keel of their ship. As soon as the eldest was fifteen, she was allowed to rise tothe surface of the ocean. When she came back, she had hundreds ofthings to talk about; but the most beautiful, she said, was to liein the moonlight, on a sandbank, in the quiet sea, near the coast, andto gaze on a large town nearby, where the lights were twinkling likehundreds of stars; to listen to the sounds of the music, the noiseof carriages, and the voices of human beings, and then to hear themerry bells peal out from the church steeples; and because she couldnot go near to all those wonderful things, she longed for them morethan ever. Oh, did not the youngest sister listen eagerly to all thesedescriptions? and afterwards, when she stood at the open windowlooking up through the dark blue water, she thought of the great city,with all its bustle and noise, and even fancied she could hear thesound of the church bells, down in the depths of the sea. In another year the second sister received permission to rise tothe surface of the water, and to swim about where she pleased. Sherose just as the sun was setting, and this, she said, was the mostbeautiful sight of all. The whole sky looked like gold, while violetand rose-colored clouds, which she could not describe, floated overher; and, still more rapidly than the clouds, flew a large flock ofwild swans towards the setting sun, looking like a long white veilacross the sea. She also swam towards the sun; but it sunk into thewaves, and the rosy tints faded from the

    clouds and from the sea. The third sister's turn followed; she was the boldest of them all,and she swam up a broad river that emptied itself into the sea. On thebanks she saw green hills covered with beautiful vines; palaces andcastles peeped out from amid the proud trees of the forest; sheheard the birds singing, and the rays of the sun were so powerful thatshe was obliged often to dive down under the water to cool her burningface. In a narrow creek she found a whole troop of little humanchildren, quite naked, and sporting about in the water; she wantedto play with them, but they fled in a great fright; and then alittle black animal came to the water; it was a dog, but she did notknow that, for she had never before seen one. This animal barked ather so terribly that she became frightened, and rushed back to theopen sea. But she said she should never forget the beautiful forest,the green hills, and the pretty little children who could swim inthe water, although they had not fish's tails. The fourth sister was more timid; she remained in the midst of thesea, but she said it was quite as beautiful there as nearer theland. She could see for so many miles around her, and the sky abovelooked like a bell of glass. She had seen the ships, but at such agreat distance that they looked like sea-gulls. The dolphins sportedin the waves, and the great whales spouted water from their nostrilstill it seemed as if a hundred fountains were playing in everydirection. The fifth sister's birthday occurred in the winter; so when herturn came, she saw what the others had not seen the first time theywent up. The sea looked quite green, and large icebergs werefloating about, each like a pearl, she said, but larger and loftierthan the churches built by men. They were of the most singular shapes,and glittered like diamonds. She had seated herself upon one of thelargest, and let the wind play with her long hair, and she remarkedthat all the ships sailed by rapidly, and steered as far away asthey could from the iceberg, as if they were afraid of it. Towardsevening, as the sun went down, dark clouds covered the sky, thethunder rolled and the lightning flashed, and the red light glowedon the icebergs as they rocked and tossed on the heaving sea. On allthe ships the sails were reefed with fear and trembling, while she satcalmly on the floating iceberg, watching the blue lightning, as itdarted its forked flashes into the sea. When first the sisters had permission to rise to the surface, theywere each delighted with the new and beautiful sights they saw; butnow, as grown-up girls, they could go when they pleased, and theyhad become indifferent about it. They wished themselves back againin the water, and after a month had passed they said it was muchmore beautiful down below, and pleasanter to be at home. Yet often, inthe evening hours, the five sisters would twine their arms roundeach other, and rise to the surface, in a row. They had more beautifulvoices than any human being could have; and before the approach

    of astorm, and when they expected a ship would be lost, they swam beforethe vessel, and sang sweetly of the delights to be found in the depthsof the sea, and begging the sailors not to fear if they sank to thebottom. But the sailors could not understand the song, they took itfor the howling of the storm. And these things were never to bebeautiful for them; for if the ship sank, the men were drowned, andtheir dead bodies alone reached the palace of the Sea King. When the sisters rose, arm-in-arm, through the water in thisway, their youngest sister would stand quite alone, looking afterthem, ready to cry, only that the mermaids have no tears, andtherefore they suffer more. "Oh, were I but fifteen years old," saidshe: "I know that I shall love the world up there, and all thepeople who live in it." At last she reached her fifteenth year. "Well, now, you aregrown up," said the old dowager, her grandmother; "so you must letme adorn you like your other sisters;" and she placed a wreath ofwhite lilies in her hair, and every flower leaf was half a pearl. Thenthe old lady ordered eight great oysters to attach themselves to thetail of the princess to show her high rank. "But they hurt me so," said the little mermaid. "Pride must suffer pain," replied the old lady. Oh, how gladly shewould have shaken off all this grandeur, and laid aside the heavywreath! The red flowers in her own garden would have suited her muchbetter, but she could not help herself: so she said, "Farewell," androse as lightly as a bubble to the surface of the water. The sun hadjust set as she raised her head above the waves; but the clouds weretinted with crimson and gold, and through the glimmering twilightbeamed the evening star in all its beauty. The sea was calm, and theair mild and fresh. A large ship, with three masts, lay becalmed onthe water, with only one sail set; for not a breeze stiffed, and thesailors sat idle on deck or amongst the rigging. There was music andsong on board; and, as darkness came on, a hundred colored lanternswere lighted, as if the flags of all nations waved in the air. Thelittle mermaid swam close to the cabin windows; and now and then, asthe waves lifted her up, she could look in through clear glasswindow-panes, and see a number of well-dressed people within. Amongthem was a young prince, the most beautiful of all, with large blackeyes; he was sixteen years of age, and his birthday was being keptwith much rejoicing. The sailors were dancing on deck, but when theprince came out of the cabin, more than a hundred rockets rose inthe air, making it as bright as day. The little mermaid was sostartled that she dived under water; and when she again stretchedout her head, it appeared as if all the stars of heaven were fallingaround her, she had never seen such fireworks before. Great sunsspurted fire about, splendid fireflies flew into the blue air, andeverything was reflected in the clear, calm sea beneath. The shipitself was so brightly illuminated that all the people, and even thesmallest rope, could be

    distinctly and plainly seen. And howhandsome the young prince looked, as he pressed the hands of allpresent and smiled at them, while the music resounded through theclear night air. It was very late; yet the little mermaid could not take her eyesfrom the ship, or from the beautiful prince. The colored lanternshad been extinguished, no more rockets rose in the air, and the cannonhad ceased firing; but the sea became restless, and a moaning,grumbling sound could be heard beneath the waves: still the littlemermaid remained by the cabin window, rocking up and down on thewater, which enabled her to look in. After a while, the sails werequickly unfurled, and the noble ship continued her passage; but soonthe waves rose higher, heavy clouds darkened the sky, and lightningappeared in the distance. A dreadful storm was approaching; oncemore the sails were reefed, and the great ship pursued her flyingcourse over the raging sea. The waves rose mountains high, as ifthey would have overtopped the mast; but the ship dived like a swanbetween them, and then rose again on their lofty, foaming crests. Tothe little mermaid this appeared pleasant sport; not so to thesailors. At length the ship groaned and creaked; the thick planks gaveway under the lashing of the sea as it broke over the deck; themainmast snapped asunder like a reed; the ship lay over on her side;and the water rushed in. The little mermaid now perceived that thecrew were in danger; even she herself was obliged to be careful toavoid the beams and planks of the wreck which lay scattered on thewater. At one moment it was so pitch dark that she could not see asingle object, but a flash of lightning revealed the whole scene;she could see every one who had been on board excepting the prince;when the ship parted, she had seen him sink into the deep waves, andshe was glad, for she thought he would now be with her; and then sheremembered that human beings could not live in the water, so that whenhe got down to her father's palace he would be quite dead. But he mustnot die. So she swam about among the beams and planks which strewedthe surface of the sea, forgetting that they could crush her topieces. Then she dived deeply under the dark waters, rising andfalling with the waves, till at length she managed to reach theyoung prince, who was fast losing the power of swimming in that stormysea. His limbs were failing him, his beautiful eyes were closed, andhe would have died had not the little mermaid come to hisassistance. She held his head above the water, and let the waves driftthem where they would. In the morning the storm had ceased; but of the ship not asingle fragment could be seen. The sun rose up red and glowing fromthe water, and its beams brought back the hue of health to theprince's cheeks; but his eyes remained closed. The mermaid kissedhis high, smooth forehead, and stroked back his wet hair; he seemed toher like the marble statue in her little garden, and she kissed himagain, and wished that he might live. Presently they came in sightof land; she saw lofty blue mountains,

    on which the white snowrested as if a flock of swans were lying upon them. Near the coastwere beautiful green forests, and close by stood a large building,whether a church or a convent she could not tell. Orange and citrontrees grew in the garden, and before the door stood lofty palms. Thesea here formed a little bay, in which the water was quite still,but very deep; so she swam with the handsome prince to the beach,which was covered with fine, white sand, and there she laid him in thewarm sunshine, taking care to raise his head higher than his body.Then bells sounded in the large white building, and a number ofyoung girls came into the garden. The little mermaid swam outfarther from the shore and placed herself between some high rocks thatrose out of the water; then she covered her head and neck with thefoam of the sea so that her little face might not be seen, and watchedto see what would become of the poor prince. She did not wait longbefore she saw a young girl approach the spot where he lay. She seemedfrightened at first, but only for a moment; then she fetched anumber of people, and the mermaid saw that the prince came to lifeagain, and smiled upon those who stood round him. But to her he sentno smile; he knew not that she had saved him. This made her veryunhappy, and when he was led away into the great building, she diveddown sorrowfully into the water, and returned to her father'scastle. She had always been silent and thoughtful, and now she wasmore so than ever. Her sisters asked her what she had seen duringher first visit to the surface of the water; but she would tell themnothing. Many an evening and morning did she rise to the place whereshe had left the prince. She saw the fruits in the garden ripen tillthey were gathered, the snow on the tops of the mountains melt away;but she never saw the prince, and therefore she returned home,always more sorrowful than before. It was her only comfort to sit inher own little garden, and fling her arm round the beautiful marblestatue which was like the prince; but she gave up tending her flowers,and they grew in wild confusion over the paths, twining their longleaves and stems round the branches of the trees, so that the wholeplace became dark and gloomy. At length she could bear it no longer,and told one of her sisters all about it. Then the others heard thesecret, and very soon it became known to two mermaids whose intimatefriend happened to know who the prince was. She had also seen thefestival on board ship, and she told them where the prince camefrom, and where his palace stood. "Come, little sister," said the other princesses; then theyentwined their arms and rose up in a long row to the surface of thewater, close by the spot where they knew the prince's palace stood. Itwas built of bright yellow shining stone, with long flights ofmarble steps, one of which reached quite down to the sea. Splendidgilded cupolas rose over the roof, and between the pillars thatsurrounded the whole building stood life-like statues of

    marble.Through the clear crystal of the lofty windows could be seen noblerooms, with costly silk curtains and hangings of tapestry; while thewalls were covered with beautiful paintings which were a pleasure tolook at. In the centre of the largest saloon a fountain threw itssparkling jets high up into the glass cupola of the ceiling, throughwhich the sun shone down upon the water and upon the beautifulplants growing round the basin of the fountain. Now that she knewwhere he lived, she spent many an evening and many a night on thewater near the palace. She would swim much nearer the shore than anyof the others ventured to do; indeed once she went quite up the narrowchannel under the marble balcony, which threw a broad shadow on thewater. Here she would sit and watch the young prince, who thoughthimself quite alone in the bright moonlight. She saw him many times ofan evening sailing in a pleasant boat, with music playing and flagswaving. She peeped out from among the green rushes, and if the windcaught her long silvery-white veil, those who saw it believed it to bea swan, spreading out its wings. On many a night, too, when thefishermen, with their torches, were out at sea, she heard themrelate so many good things about the doings of the young prince,that she was glad she had saved his life when he had been tossed abouthalf-dead on the waves. And she remembered that his head had rested onher bosom, and how heartily she had kissed him; but he knew nothing ofall this, and could not even dream of her. She grew more and more fondof human beings, and wished more and more to be able to wander aboutwith those whose world seemed to be so much larger than her own.They could fly over the sea in ships, and mount the high hills whichwere far above the clouds; and the lands they possessed, their woodsand their fields, stretched far away beyond the reach of her sight.There was so much that she wished to know, and her sisters were unableto answer all her questions. Then she applied to her oldgrandmother, who knew all about the upper world, which she veryrightly called the lands above the sea. "If human beings are not drowned," asked the little mermaid,"can they live forever? do they never die as we do here in the sea?" "Yes," replied the old lady, "they must also die, and their termof life is even shorter than ours. We sometimes live to threehundred years, but when we cease to exist here we only become the foamon the surface of the water, and we have not even a grave down here ofthose we love. We have not immortal souls, we shall never liveagain; but, like the green sea-weed, when once it has been cut off, wecan never flourish more. Human beings, on the contrary, have a soulwhich lives forever, lives after the body has been turned to dust.It rises up through the clear, pure air beyond the glittering stars.As we rise out of the water, and behold all the land of the earth,so do they rise to unknown and glorious regions which we shall neversee." "Why have not we an immortal soul?" asked the little

    mermaidmournfully; "I would give gladly all the hundreds of years that I haveto live, to be a human being only for one day, and to have the hope ofknowing the happiness of that glorious world above the stars." "You must not think of that," said the old woman; "we feelourselves to be much happier and much better off than human beings." "So I shall die," said the little mermaid, "and as the foam of thesea I shall be driven about never again to hear the music of thewaves, or to see the pretty flowers nor the red sun. Is there anythingI can do to win an immortal soul?" "No," said the old woman, "unless a man were to love you so muchthat you were more to him than his father or mother; and if all histhoughts and all his love were fixed upon you, and the priest placedhis right hand in yours, and he promised to be true to you here andhereafter, then his soul would glide into your body and you wouldobtain a share in the future happiness of mankind. He would give asoul to you and retain his own as well; but this can never happen.Your fish's tail, which amongst us is considered so beautiful, isthought on earth to be quite ugly; they do not know any better, andthey think it necessary to have two stout props, which they call legs,in order to be handsome." Then the little mermaid sighed, and looked sorrowfully at herfish's tail. "Let us be happy," said the old lady, "and dart andspring about during the three hundred years that we have to live,which is really quite long enough; after that we can rest ourselvesall the better. This evening we are going to have a court ball." It is one of those splendid sights which we can never see onearth. The walls and the ceiling of the large ball-room were of thick,but transparent crystal. May hundreds of colossal shells, some of adeep red, others of a grass green, stood on each side in rows, withblue fire in them, which lighted up the whole saloon, and shonethrough the walls, so that the sea was also illuminated. Innumerablefishes, great and small, swam past the crystal walls; on some ofthem the scales glowed with a purple brilliancy, and on others theyshone like silver and gold. Through the halls flowed a broad stream,and in it danced the mermen and the mermaids to the music of their ownsweet singing. No one on earth has such a lovely voice as theirs.The little mermaid sang more sweetly than them all. The whole courtapplauded her with hands and tails; and for a moment her heart feltquite gay, for she knew she had the loveliest voice of any on earth orin the sea. But she soon thought again of the world above her, for shecould not forget the charming prince, nor her sorrow that she hadnot an immortal soul like his; therefore she crept away silently outof her father's palace, and while everything within was gladness andsong, she sat in her own little garden sorrowful and alone. Then sheheard the bugle sounding through the water, and thought- "He iscertainly sailing above, he on whom my wishes depend, and in whosehands I should like to place the happiness of my life. I willventure

    all for him, and to win an immortal soul, while my sisters aredancing in my father's palace, I will go to the sea witch, of whom Ihave always been so much afraid, but she can give me counsel andhelp." And then the little mermaid went out from her garden, and took theroad to the foaming whirlpools, behind which the sorceress lived.She had never been that way before: neither flowers nor grass grewthere; nothing but bare, gray, sandy ground stretched out to thewhirlpool, where the water, like foaming mill-wheels, whirled roundeverything that it seized, and cast it into the fathomless deep.Through the midst of these crushing whirlpools the little mermaidwas obliged to pass, to reach the dominions of the sea witch; and alsofor a long distance the only road lay right across a quantity of warm,bubbling mire, called by the witch her turfmoor. Beyond this stood herhouse, in the centre of a strange forest, in which all the trees andflowers were polypi, half animals and half plants; they looked likeserpents with a hundred heads growing out of the ground. Thebranches were long slimy arms, with fingers like flexible worms,moving limb after limb from the root to the top. All that could bereached in the sea they seized upon, and held fast, so that it neverescaped from their clutches. The little mermaid was so alarmed at whatshe saw, that she stood still, and her heart beat with fear, and shewas very nearly turning back; but she thought of the prince, and ofthe human soul for which she longed, and her courage returned. Shefastened her long flowing hair round her head, so that the polypimight not seize hold of it. She laid her hands together across herbosom, and then she darted forward as a fish shoots through the water,between the supple arms and fingers of the ugly polypi, which werestretched out on each side of her. She saw that each held in its graspsomething it had seized with its numerous little arms, as if they wereiron bands. The white skeletons of human beings who had perished atsea, and had sunk down into the deep waters, skeletons of landanimals, oars, rudders, and chests of ships were lying tightly graspedby their clinging arms; even a little mermaid, whom they had caughtand strangled; and this seemed the most shocking of all to thelittle princess. She now came to a space of marshy ground in the wood, where large,fat water-snakes were rolling in the mire, and showing their ugly,drab-colored bodies. In the midst of this spot stood a house, builtwith the bones of shipwrecked human beings. There sat the sea witch,allowing a toad to eat from her mouth, just as people sometimes feed acanary with a piece of sugar. She called the ugly water-snakes herlittle chickens, and allowed them to crawl all over her bosom. "I know what you want," said the sea witch; "it is very stupidof you, but you shall have your way, and it will bring you tosorrow, my pretty princess. You want to get rid of your fish's tail,and to have two supports instead of it, like human beings on earth, sothat the young prince may fall in love with you,

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