The Mermaid’s End
Contrary to The Week (July 27), the Little Mermaid does not “live happily ever after” in the tale told by Hans Christian Andersen. The original tale is much stranger than the Disney adaptation. Because she refuses to commit a murder in order to save herself, the Little Mermaid goes to her death, expecting oblivion. But because she has won the love of a human, her corporeal life is succeeded by something like 300 years of sympathetic purgatory: “The daughters of the air fly unseen into the dwellings of men, where there are children. . . . Whenever we
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