Monday, November 11, 2013

The Banished Little Mermaid

The visual prompt:
Our main characters are:
A Ghost ~ His spectral shroud is unfinished business casual.
A Mermaid ~ Half fish, all woman.
The special object in this story is:
A Flying Carpet ~ This rugged flying vehicle can show you the world.
Our story takes place in:
The Foggy Bog ~ It's full of soggy logs and groggy frogs.
Many people know the tale of The Little Mermaid, written by Hans Christian Anderson in the 19th century. Many people are also familiar with the musical animated film The Little Mermaid, released in 1989. If you are familiar with both the original story and it's adaptation, you know that there are 2 ways that this fable ends.
In the Disney version we have our happy ending: our fish-tailed heroine defeats the evil sea-witch, marries the prince, and everyone lives happily ever after! Not much problem there, only there are some who would say that the little mermaid gets what she wants too easily, that there are little to no consequences for her breaking the mermaid rules of interacting with humans.
The way Mr. Anderson tells it, however, we have a slightly less than happy ending: the mermaid actually fails to win her prince's heart. In fact, he marries another princess! Her mermaid sisters urge her to stab the prince with a special knife and turn herself back into a mermaid again, but the little mermaid doesn't have the heart to kill him, so she commits suicide by drowning herself in the ocean. This ending is a lot more depressing, not to mention ironic!
I am here to tell you that there is another ending to this story, where the mermaid accepts her consequences, works hard for her prince, and gets her happy ending. Here's how it really happened...

Once upon a time, Triton, the Merman King of the ocean, had many daughters. His youngest daughter was named Aria (NOT Ariel), and she was his favorite and most beautiful daughter. Aria got her name because she had the best singing voice in the whole mermaid kingdom. She had perfect pitch, she could hit every note, and her voice was as sweet and pure as a child's voice. Everyone called her The Little Mermaid, because no matter how much she grew, Aria's voice still had that childlike quality to it.
Aria looked hardly anything like Ariel, her Disney counterpart. She had long, dark hair, as black as the deepest part of the ocean. It contrasted amazingly with her pale, pearly white mermaid skin (all mermaids are pale, since they hardly ever see the sun). Also, because she was a daughter of King Triton, the Little Mermaid's tail was not plain green or blue like the common merfolk, but bore the same beautiful pattern as the Royal Angelfish, yellow with blue stripes.
When she wasn't performing concerts for merpeople across the seven seas, the Little Mermaid dreamed about visiting the surface with her sisters, who took pleasure in singing to sailors and fishermen who passed them by. The humans were so charmed by the mermaids' voices that they would throw themselves into the ocean and drown. The mermaids would compete with each other to see how many sailors they could reel in. They didn't care that they were causing humans to drown themselves, believing that all humans were bad news, and the fewer humans there were running about, the better.
On Aria's 16th birthday, she received her own royal magic trident, just like King Trident and her daughters carried with them, with which she would rule the seas and all its inhabitants. She was also finally allowed to visit the surface! After doing a few musical warm-ups (in case she saw any sailing ships), she swam up to check it out.
Her head broke out of the water, and she was amazed! For the first time in her life, Aria saw seagulls flying above her, felt the warm sun on her skin, and tasted real air! In the distance, she saw a large and impressive ship with many white sails flapping in the wind. The Little Mermaid, excited to show off her voice and catch some sailors, swam as fast as she could towards the ship.
She didn't know it at the time, but this ship belonged to Prince Derrik (NOT Eric). Derrik was a young, handsome man who had a great love of sailing. He loved the sights of the dolphins splashing about and whales breaking the water's surface, the sounds of waves crashing and gulls shrieking, the feel of the ship gently rocking beneath his feet and gripping the handles of the steering wheel, and yes, the smells of the salty ocean breeze and that aromatic fishy smell.
Prince Derrik and his crew had been traveling and exploring the seven seas and were just sailing back to his home kingdom when they heard someone singing. It was the most beautiful voice they had ever heard, mesmerizing and hypnotizing. Every sailor, including the prince, couldn't help themselves, and they simply walked off the edge of the ship, following the enchanting voice.
Aria delightedly swam among the humans, counting up the number of sailors she had attracted with her voice, when she came upon Prince Derrik. He was a very handsome prince, better looking than any human she had set her eyes on, perhaps better looking than even the mermen in her father's kingdom! She took pity on him and saved him from drowning, using her magic trident to command the waves to carry him all the way to the shores of his homeland. She swam alongside him, to make sure he arrived unharmed.
He didn't seem to be moving, so she waved the trident over his mouth and pulled the water he had swallowed out of his lungs. This made Prince Derrik start to cough violently and he woke up, leaving the Little Mermaid to swim quickly away before he could see her.
After meeting and rescuing the prince, Aria started thinking about him all the time. She felt bad about the way her mermaid sisters sang humans off of their boats, and she started wondering about the human world. She wanted to see the prince again.
You might know how the story goes from here. The Little Mermaid went to the Sea Witch and asked if there were some way she could become human, at least temporarily, so she could meet the prince. The Sea Witch tricked her and made her a deal in which Aria traded her voice, her beautiful, wonderful, child-like voice, for a pair of human legs. The witch gave her a potion that promised to make her a human for 3 days, and she threw in a deal sweetener. If she liked the human world enough, she could be a human forever, IF she got the prince to fall in love with her and kiss her before sunset on the third day. As collateral, Aria let the Sea Witch hold onto her royal trident while she was gone. Not the wisest of choices, but the Little Mermaid was young and naive, so she didn't know any better.
Aria swam to Prince Derrik's kingdom, drank the potion, and became a human for 3 days. She quickly found the prince, who seemed to vaguely recognize her from somewhere and asked her to be his guest. He thought her the most fascinating girl he'd ever met, beautiful, charming and curious about absolutely everything around her. It was only a shame that she was as mute as a fish. Still, she wasn't like the other girls he'd met, and Derrik and Aria become instant friends, understanding each other in some special way.
Aria fell more and more in love with the prince with every day she spent on land, and he seemed to fall in love with her. By the second day they were holding hands, and Aria was sure she could easily get Derrik to kiss her and turn her human forever. But she began to miss her family, and she realized that they must be absolutely worried seasick over her. So just before the sun set on the third day, she left the prince without saying goodbye to him, went back to the beach she had taken her first wobbly human steps and dove back into the water, becoming a Little Mermaid once more. She went back to the Sea Witch, collected her trident and voice back, and returned to see her father and sisters.
As you would expect, King Triton was extremely upset with his youngest daughter. Not just because she'd disappeared entirely for 3 whole days, but also because he had heard through the sea grapevine that some fish had spotted her walking around on land as a human, fraternizing with the prince! He asked Aria if the fishy reports were all true, and when she confessed to having fallen in love with the prince, the king was absolutely outraged! No daughter of his would mix with humankind, so he disowned her and banished her, taking her royal trident away and using his own to transform her mermaid tail from it's royal colorful stripes to the sea green of the common mermaid, and her dark hair to red as blood, so any shark who spotted her might do away with her.
Okay, maybe Triton was being a little harsh with her, but just as Aria proved when she made her decision to trade her voice for legs, merfolk don't usually think about long-term consequences, and once they have made up their mind, it's made up.
A few of the Little Mermaid's sisters took pity on her. They too were upset that she had been gone for so long and associating herself with humans, but they were kinder than their father. They all swam together far, far away from home, protecting Aria with their tridents from the sharks and octopuses and any fish who would do her harm, until they finally came to the Foggy Bog, a murky and muddy swampland where The Little Mermaid would only have the swamp frogs as her companions. Her sisters wished her farewell and left Aria there, all alone, banished to live in the swampland for the rest of her Little Mermaid life.
But that isn't the end of the story just yet.

To be continued...

Edit: November 13, 2013, Saturday
Here's part 2 of the story!

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