Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Little Mermaid...are you kidding me?

So we all know the story The Little Mermaid, right? The story of sweet, innocent Ariel, and her friend Flounder, and how she charmed the prince into marrying her - even though she had no voice. Remember? I love that movie. Yes, I'll admit it. "Kiss the Girl" is my favorite part.

Anyway, my daughter, Ava, is into mermaids right now. We were at the library checking out books like we do every week - after I paid my ridiculous late fee. I swear the librarians that work there sneak into my house at night and hide my rented books under the bed, just so I will forget about them and then have to pay an unheard of amount of late charges.

Wanna know how much my last late charge was?

$22.00. Yep. Twenty two dollars.

Anyway, back to the story.

My kids and I were at the library, renting books, when I came upon The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. I thought "wow, this is a children's classic- Ava will love it." Apparently, I'm ignorant and didn't know that this classic tale is NOT the same story as the Disney version. Yikes.

Did you know?

In this version, the mermaid doesn't get to marry her prince- he marries another. In order for Ariel to get her voice back and turn back into a mermaid, she has to KILL the newly married prince.

Um, excuse me......what?


Did I just read that paragraph to my 2-year-old?

Yep, I did.

So she has to kill her prince, and her sisters - who come to the surface - coach her on. Nice. But, alas, the mermaid can not bear to kill him, and so instead she jumps in the ocean and drowns herself.

Is this seriously a kid's story?

I can just see and 8 year old asking her mom "mom, why did the mermaid kill herself for a dumb boy?"

After I read that book and put Ava to bed, I was kind of traumatized by the whole experience. I'm 31 and I couldn't handle it, so how on earth could Ava? Thank god she's 2, and not old enough to realize what just happened. The Little Mermaid offed herself.

I need to be more careful about my kid's selected reading. And mine, too, apparently.


Nicole said...

Wow! Interesting and you're probably not the first one to make that mistake. I would have done the same thing. That is really funny and I'm sure Ava had no clue what the story was even about. My kids listen to about every other page and just when you think they are listening they start with the 20 questions!

Anonymous said...

Yikes! Who knew? Sounds as bad as the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales! Guess I won't be picking up that version for Zoe (who is mermaid obsessed too)!

A Christian Mom said...

Wow, I don't think I would've finished reading it. I would've just made up the rest, lol. I'm glad Ava is to little to understand.

Sometimes I wonder what the heck people are thinking when it comes to kids books.

Cathie said...

$22 for a late fee???? That is when I would have told the library I will keep the book.

Sorry about the book selection, Demi was never into the whole mermaid thing or princesses for that matter.

Merrie said...

Wow...I knew the HCA versions were scarier, but I didn't know about the murder/suicide action. Did you know that in the original Cinderella, the stepsisters cut their own feet to make room in the glass slipper? But that might have been Grimm, not HCA. Either way, fairy tales were freaking scary back then.

Us said...

Oh my word! Seriously??? The "old" fairy tales are very scary, in my opinion! How about Snow White?? I'm glad she's only 2 also!

When I used to read to my daughter when she was younger, I would try to skip a didn't work! How do they know?? LOL!

NucMEd is Hot said...

Here's a little known fact...not all of his books were age appropriate. Think about Hansel and Gretel. I think secretly he didn't like kids at all.

A Big Ball of Stress said...

Holy Hell! Love the face you are making! LOL There have been many a books in my time that have been "purchased" by me from the library. LOL

Deb@Mommie Mayhem said...

wow . Yea ... that's freaky!! $22 late fee ?? I have had a book out for 2 yrs .. hmm wonder how much that comes to :)

::Sylvia:: said...

Oh my goodness!! I'm traumatized! I've done that with a few books too sadly enough. My son wanted to know why Pecos Bill's new bride had to live on the moon forever by herself and then told me he never wanted to read that dumb story again because it scared him.

Amy said...

That is crazy! How weird that I justed rented the Little Mermaid for Alina to watch this week! Great minds think alike. ;o)

TTownDiva said...

Ummmm were you in like the Goth section at the library?

Anonymous said...

You are definitely not the first person to make that mistake. As I was reading your recapse of the disturbing tale, my mind faintly flashed back to my early childhood days. When I was about 5-6, my mother (an overworked and oblivious parent) brought home what she thought was the Disney version of the Little Mermaid. In fact, what she had purchased was a very low budget, animated children's movie about a (but not the) little mermaid. The storyline must have been based off the book you accidentally brought home to your daughter because the order of events were exactly the same. Of course, the producers managed to tweak the ending to render a more age appropriate, "happy" ending, by having the mermaid emerge from the sea in a warm, heavenly aura--after she had diliberately drowned herself. I know, I know--what a twisted way of glorifying suicide. I have to admit, as a child, I was definitely confused by the story, but being that I was too young to understand the overall concept (girl offs herself over ungrateful boy), I walked away from the movie mostly disappointed that it wasn't the Disney version.

Just wanted to share my story with you because until I read your blog, I had completely forgotten about that movie and my mother's hilarious attempts at fulfilling our childhood demands. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

You will be pleased to hear that although you read a 'version' of Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Little Mermaid'; there were many editions of this story, printed, translated, then translated again and again in many languages. I would recommend a literal translation of the original story.

Yes it's true... The story probably is not what you remember, but I don't believe the real story involves killing, murder and the like.

The story is quite lengthy, and I doubt the illustrated book (looking at your picture) has all the pages translated from the original. Also... as you may have guessed the original is without illustrations.

By the way... Did that version cover her transformation to human form and the pain she endured when walking for the first time? If so... I would like to know the accuracy of it's description. When she first stepped onto the shore with her beautiful human feet; it was as if she had been walking on broken glass, but she was so amazed at her transformation that she did not let it bother her. When she danced it was more graceful than any other, though Hans made certain the reader understood the cost of this activity. It was very painful.

Not sure about the version you were reading, but the ending is one of mercy. Sadly... She did not accomplish her task of getting her prince, and returned to being a mermaid. However; She desperately wanted to obtain a human soul, and by the graces of the 'Spirits' was
permitted to perform good deeds for 300 years lest she become simply 'foam on the ocean' when she passed on. This was the potential fate of all mer people who lived a very long time, but ultimately without a human soul.

Hope this helps ease the memory of the story you cherished. It is a good one. One of the best.

Amanda said...

I know this is an old post, but I came across this because of the pictures that you posted. Do you happen to know exactaly which book this is? I know it's by Hans Christian Anderson, but do you know who the auther is of the particular book you're showing? or illustrator?
I know it's a weird request, but I've been trying to find that particular version for a while now. I used to read it all the time when I was little and I think this is the one. Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Tasha said...

Hi Amanda,

I'm sorry, I have NO idea who the author of this particular book is! I wish I could be of more help. :(

Amanda said...

It's ok :)
thank you for getting back to me so fast!!

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