One of the first things that I did upon completing the novel Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon was to go look up the original tale by Hans Christen Andersen. If you are interested, you can check out the full text version here. Especially with fairy tales I like to be able to know what the author was working with when they wrote their novelized version. Obviously Turgeon had to add a lot to the story, as it went from about 11 pages to somewhere over 200. One of the biggest additions to the novel was that it was told from two different perspectives, that of the mermaid and the human princess (who is only mentioned in about 2 sentences in the original tale). From these two sentences, Turgeon created a character that fit well into the predescribed story. The other major change was with the ending, and all I will say to that was I thought it was much more fulfilling for the reader.
And did you know that The Little Mermaid was originally designed for a ballet? – The fairy tale was adapted from the ballet that was written. I am including below a clip from a ballet performance of this tale. In this scene the Little Mermaid finds her legs and first meets her prince.
The Disney animated feature of the same name, released in 1989, does follow the basic plot of the fairy tale it is emulating. Of course they create a villain where there was not really one in the tale – but it would not be a Disney without a clear good and bad.
Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court