We probably all are familiar with the Disney version of The Little Mermaid. It’s a classic story: Girl meets boy, she moves to be with him, they fall in love, get married, and have all sorts of freaky marital relations after the wedding. The last part is from my imagination, but you get what I mean.
However, the Disney tale has its roots in a much darker story. In the original version of the story, written by Hans Christian Andersen, things do not go as well for the mermaid as it does for Ariel in the Disney version. Firstly, when the mermaid sells her voice to get legs from the sea witch, there is a very significant catch. When she has legs, whenever she walks, it will feel as if she is walking on knives with every step. Secondly, the prince and the mermaid do not fall in love; he meets another, very human, woman and marries her instead, leaving the poor mermaid tossed aside like chum over the side of a boat. It gets even better. In the original deal that the sea witch gives the mermaid, if she does not marry the prince, she will die and turn to sea foam. However, if she stabs the prince in the heart on his wedding night and lets his blood spurt over her legs, she’ll be able to turn back into a mermaid, saving herself in the process. Does she do this? No. Instead, she decides to be a total doormat and save him, sacrificing herself. After her death, however, she is transformed into a “spirit of the air” in reward for her “goodness”. Anyway you look at it, it’s a bum deal.