We’ve all heard of the Walt Disney 1989 animated movie “The Little Mermaid”. This movie is based on a Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. Although the book and movie have similarities, the movie has a “happily ever after” ending. In the movie, we see that the mermaid Ariel falls in love with the human Prince Eric, makes a deal with Ursula-the sea witch- and becomes human. In exchange for her voice, she gains a pair of legs. Her goal in the movie is to obtain love. In the end, after being turned back into a mermaid and having a big fight with Ursula, Ariel’s father transforms her back into a human and she marries Prince Eric.
In the book, after saving Prince Eric, Ariel becomes curious about humans and the afterlife. Her grandmother tells her that although mermaids live up to 300 years, they turn into seafoam after death, unlike humans whose souls go up to heaven. Curious, the little mermaid visits the sea witch that lives in a dark trench. In exchange for her voice and tongue, the sea witch grants her legs. She tells the little mermaid that after gaining her legs, she won’t be able to return to the ocean and that every step she takes would feel as if she is walking on knives. She may obtain a soul by marrying the prince, but if the prince chooses someone else she’ll die of a broken heart and turn to seafoam. In the end, the prince decides to marry a different prin-cess and the little mermaid’s heart breaks. At dawn as she awaits her death, her mermaid sisters pop up from the sea and hand her a knife that they obtained from the sea witch. They tell her that she must kill the prince and let his blood drip on her feet so that she can return to her mermaid form. At last, she could not bring her-self to murder him and throws herself into the ocean where she awaits her fate. However, she is given a second chance! She becomes an earthbound spirit and is given a chance to gain her own soul by committing good deeds for 300 years so that she can one day rise to the kingdom of God.