The Little Mermaid
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The Little Mermaid

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  785 ratings  ·  103 reviews
For Sulamith Wülfing, the world of fairy tales was always an inspiration for her beautiful paintings. Above all, she loved Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, with its poetic language and its poignant understanding of the transforming power of love. For children and adults alike.
The exquisite paintings by Sulamith Wülfing perfectly evoke the magical world of the...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 1997 by Bluestar Communications (first published April 7th 1837)
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Kathryn
Mar 08, 2010 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chandra and Abigail!!!
A hauntingly beautiful story paired with achingly gorgeous illustrations! I'm sorry to say that this is the first time I've read the "actual" story of the Little Mermaid, previously acquainted only with very general retellings and the Disney movie version (which is delightful in its way). This version purports to be closest to Andersen's original as it makes only slight adaptations from the mid-19th century translation by Mary Howitt, a correspondent and friend of Andersen who introduced his wor...more
Luxia
Nov 02, 2013 Luxia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All those who have only seen the Disney version
*This review is for The Little Mermaid, Charles Santore's edition.*

But the story itself is the most haunting fairy tale ever written. And a lot of people sadly don't know the real story. We shall journey under the sea and into the deep abyss, but there are no singing sidekick Crabs and fishie friends to accompany or help rescue this Little mermaid.

The story will play out slightly more darker in Hans Christian Andersen's tale...of unrequited love, hope and selflessness. A pretty lovesick Mermai...more
Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
dara
Dec 08, 2008 dara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: small children who should realize at an early age that not even fairy tales are all happy endings
The Little Mermaid is a short, rather sad story of sacrificing for love. After saving a prince from drowning, the little mermaid falls in love so deeply that she wishes to become human desperately enough to make a deal with the sea witch. She is told that if she fails to capture the prince's heart, then on the morning after he is married to another, she will turn into sea foam. Not only does she lose her voice to the sea witch in exchange for legs, but every step she makes is excruciatingly pain...more
Mandy Sickle
The little mermaid tells the story of the youngest daughter of the sea king. When her sisters turn sixteen they have their first view of the world above the sea. As her sisters each turn sixteen and return with stories the littlest mermaid can’t wait to explore the above world. On her first visit she comes across the handsome prince who she watches aboard his ship. When the ship is destroyed in the storm the little mermaid helps him to land. After returning to her home in the sea she can’t stop...more
Lynley
Hans, Hans, Hans, you sick fuck.

I haven't read the Disney version but I bet it ain't nothing like this.

The original (translated) version includes:

The cutting out of a tongue
Threats of murder
Black milk coming out of a witches breast
Hierarchy of sisterly beauty
Marital possessiveness

And perhaps most disturbingly of all, the overall message as explained in the final paragraph:

"Unseen, we glide into human homes where there are children, and whenever we find a good child, one who makes its parents hap...more
Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amber
This story is in a book called “Hans Andersen His Classic Fairytales”. When you open to the page to this story on the top is a picture of the mermaid’s kingdom with the title underneath and then the start of the story. This story was long so it contained two pictures one on the right side of page you have a full page of a drawing of the part in the Little Mermaid where the sea witch offers to give her legs in exchange for her voice. The second contained a picture of the young mermaid saving the...more
Miriam
I wouldn't go so far as to say I disliked Zwerger's illustrations, but neither did I feel they added anything to the text, which often went on for one or two pages with just words (and the occasional sentence highlighted in another color that was hardly noticeable in indirect light). It felt more like an art project than something for a child to enjoy.
Monda
Sad and Beautiful
I never knew the original story before and I found out that the book is totally different than what we heard in bedtime stories .. The original is way better and more living.
Ashley
The Little Mermaid has been my favorite movie since I was a child. I decided recently to read the original book on which the movie was "based" and I don't think I'll ever be the same. I'm actually quite depressed. This book was dark and depressing and nothing like the movie that I grew up with. I honestly don't know how the people of Disney got away with slaying this classic. I, however, prefer the movie over the book. I' m kind of a sucker for happy endings and that's probably Disney's fault. I...more
Lorena
This is the tale of the Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen; the story of a young mermaid who yearns for true love and an immortal soul, her quest to find it and her sacrifice for that love. It is the tale of romantic love that ends in abstinence.

A girl yearns to find the kind of love she has always dreamed of, for which she sacrifices the thing that most defines who she is – her beautiful voice –, suffers though pain, only to lose her beloved to another woman and ultimately sacrifices her...more
★Yosbe★
Que triste historia...prefiero a Disney hehe
Maggie
Talk about depressing. I've loved this tale since I was a little girl. I've always been partial to bittersweet and melancholy stories. Reading this again after several years, I definitely looked at it from a different perspective. The little mermaid sacrifices everything, including her voice (a metaphor for her identity) for a man that she really doesn't know AT ALL. Even though later she finds out that he's kind-hearted and loving, she didn't know that when she made the bargain with the witch....more
Stephanie
My husband and I are collectors of sorts. We get an idea about something in our heads and we must research, read, view every bit of it until we've devoured it from all angles. As a couple, I know it started with Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, pooling our collections together, we have several different versions of the movie; the Disney version being a must. We've watched the Syfy Alice and actually spent a Saturday looking through Netflix for strange versions, and new versions and a classic...more
Latie
I wanted to read the original tale that inspired one of my favourite Disney movies of the same title. Hans Christian Andersen has a beautiful, simple yet vivid writing style that speaks of tragic unrequited love. As much as I enjoyed the story I was not satisfied- The Little Mermaid gives up everything for The Prince- her tongue, her family, her world, her tail in exchange for painful human legs. The Sea Witch does not give her any real advantage to win the prince over other than permitting The...more
Cindy
"... mermaids have no tears, and therefore suffer all the more."

"Is there nothing I can do to obtain an immortal soul?"
"No, said the old sea queen, "unless a human being loved you so dearly that you were more to him than either his mother or father"



I've had fond memories of the little Mermaid for as long as I can remember. Ariel was my favorite Disney princess since the beginning of time. One of my fondest childhood memories is when my mom and I went to see The Little Mermaid on Ice. I was about...more
Ms. Bridget
I know that many times, books are different than the movies. Especially when it comes to Disney making the movies. But I wasn't expecting this much of a difference!

I won't tell the differences because I know there are people who have not read this book but have seen the Disney's version of the Little Mermaid.


The book for me was good, but not great. I don't know why, it just wasn't something I could totally get into. But, of course, I didn't really expect to get into it totally. It wasn't the tot...more
Lisa
3.5
Moral of the story, don't give up your entire life for a guy.
I really liked seeing that the major points of this original version of the story made it into the actual movie! It was cool to see how Disney tried to tie in as much as possible from the original plot while keeping it PG. And while the Little Mermaid didn't end up with the prince in this version I still think the story had a beautiful, and arguably happy, ending.
Kalen
I have read this story before and my dad read it to me and my sister several time when we were younger. The picture in this version are absolutely stunning! The story is different and sadder than the Disney version but still very enjoyable.
The book has a Christian moral to it at the end but I'm not sure how some Christians would feel about mermaids and other spirits being able to make it into the kingdom of god for being good to humans.
Elizabeth
What a sad story! But, she did love him so much! At least he wasn't a jerk; he just didn't realize it and didn't feel the same way about her. I always hated him because it seemed like he just ditched her for someone else, but this clears up a lot of misconceptions.... I feel much more amicable toward him now that I know that he didn't love her and never told her so.
Tevilla
This is a very old version on the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. I picked it up at a Goodwill store, wondering if I had ever really read this story.

I don't think I did--I don't remember the story--just more about the statue that is in the harbor in Copenhagen.

The story is a bit dismal and unhappy. I am not sure why it has endured since 1837--but maybe that is the answer--it was written in 1837 and there was nothing else like it at the time.

This version of the story has a very lo...more
Esther
Jul 25, 2014 Esther rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Picture books lovers
This is the version of The Little Mermaid story I read when I was a child. It is such a beautiful love story. I see why Disney's version is made different but personally I prefer the original story much better. The writing/translation in this book is beautiful and the illustration is amazing. It's like reading a book with beautiful paintings!
Honey Halliwell
I was raised on this story in its original form, but in my teens it was Disnified and given a happy ending. I find it sad how the original tragedy has been forgotten. The sacrifices, and ultimate sacrifice, of the mermaid was an important moral and one any reader will carry with them. I have for over 30 years.

Abby
Disney made me believe that happy ever after exists but this made it all shattered. My childhood shattered.

This was a very tragic book about my favorite fairytale ever. Little Mermaid. I didn't expect it to be this sad. Plus, I listened to Exo K's Baby Don't Cry (Mermaid's Tears) and it made my mood worse. I feel so broken and hurting. I really just can't express how much I felt sad for Little Mermaid. Her irrevocable love for the prince charming is something commendable and truly heart-flutteri...more
Janey
Fun to read the original story and by "fun" I mean interesting--not for kids from this day and age. This one is more like "The Little Mermaid" episode from Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theater, but this one had a sort of happier ending with a quick lesson for kids to be good and not naughty.
Elen
Här finns en del riktigt fina illustrationer och några som är sådär, men det är en tjusig utgåva av min favoritsaga. Jag har tidigare gett en femma till H.C. Andersens saga, betyget på den här utgåvan går främst till bilderna som jag kanske ändå väntat mig lite mer av.
Mercy Martinez
Una hermosa y a la vez triste historia de una sirena que hace todo por amor pero que sacrifica algo más que su propia cola, su felicidad y su vida. Muy bonita y a la vez muy triste, no se parece en nada a la de disney pero si te deja un buen mensaje.
Jason
I was seriously moved by reading this. I had a clue as to where the ending was headed but I had no idea how rich Anderson could be. I'm going to read it again soon. I highly recommend it for anyone who treasures sorrow and appreciates its inherent value.
A.F.
This ain't the Disney version of The Little Mermaid. I read this years ago and recently re-read it. It's one of my favorite non-Disney version fairy tale. But remember, this one is much darker and the ending is pretty horrifying.
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Hans Christian Andersen (Danish: [ˈhanˀs ˈkʁæsdjan ˈɑnɐsn̩]; often referred to in Scandinavia as H. C. Andersen; April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author and poet. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children; his stories—called eventyr, or "fairy-tales"—express them...more
More about Hans Christian Andersen...
The Complete Fairy Tales The Little Match Girl The Little Mermaid The Emperor's New Clothes The Snow Queen

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“Never had she danced so beautifully; the sharp knives cut her feet, but she did not feel it, for the pain in her heart was far greater.” 3 likes
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