The original Little Mermaid story & its great ending - A spiritual lesson on happiness & letting go.
When mentioning about the little mermaid, I guess most of you would think of the famous Disney animation. But I am actually referring to the original story written by Hans Christen Andersen. I personally think the story has a great ending. And I will tell you why.
So, just in case someone doesn't know the story, I doubt this! But just in case... it is a story about a teenage mermaid living under the ocean. And she is always dreaming of what it's like on land. In the original story, the little mermaid was obsessed with the story that humans have immortal souls. After the physical body dies, the soul of an human can keep on its journey and the good souls can go to heaven. Meanwhile, mermaids don't have immortal soul. Once they die - naturally death can be after 300 years, they will become foam, blending into the ocean and disappear forever. Knowing this story, the little mermaid has a desire or say a life mission is to become an immortal soul and go to heaven. At the same times, she has her interest in dating a handsome prince the one she saved from drowning a while ago.
She later found out from the ocean witch that the only way she can date this man is to have legs to walk on land. And not stopping at that, she learned that she can also attain an immortal soul by making a human being falling in love with her and marrying her. So, the handsome prince could be the one that helps her get the immortal soul. But anything comes with a trade off. The price she needs to pay for this is her tongue and her tail. Ocean witch cut her tongue off and gave her some chemical to swallow in order to change her tail into two legs.
Fast forward to the end, to the biggest difference of this story and the Disney version, the prince felt in love with another women. Sadly, he only ever saw little mermaid as a little sister, a little child - who can't talk and needed protection and care from him. It is heart breaking at this point. But doesn't' this sound familiar to you?.. Feeling in love with someone, trying so hard to get their love in return, but the person just think of us as a friend, or a younger sibling. Or this even more relevant... working so hard for a job application but by the end of the interview, the interviewer says: sorry! I can only see you as an intern.
Back to our story, little mermaid has some instructions from her mermaid sisters who has traded their long hair to the ocean witch to get this solution. The little mermaid need to stab the prince in the heart to be able to return to the ocean as a mermaid, or after the wedding night of the prince and his new wife, our little mermaid will dissolve into foam and disappear forever. So, either option she chooses, she wouldn't have the immortal soul anyway. At this point, she already lost. This is when I think the story has a great ending.
Mermaids in many tales are nothing like an innocent creature. They has been described as cold hearted and cruel. But little mermaid is her own mermaid with her own belief - she even has her own value and life mission: to attain an immortal soul, and be a good soul that can go to heaven. So, in my opinion, it makes total sense that she can't betray her own value, and decided to not kill the prince - someone she loves.
When little mermaid was starting to dissolve into the ocean, slowly becoming foam. She saw the daughters of the air came to her. They took her with them. These guys are like angels. Since little mermaid has done a good deed by not murdering an innocent person, she can tag along with them travelling in the air for 300 years to do many more good deeds and later go to heaven. So there we go! It is a happy ending for her. When she sticks to her own value and lets go of the outcome, something unexpectedly beautiful happens.
In 1973, Hans Andersen actually wrote to a friend about the ending of his story. He said something along this life: Instead of having the mermaid to become an immortal soul by depending upon the love of a human being which would depend on chance, he would permitted his mermaid to follow a more natural, more divine path.
There were quite a lot of criticism on how dark the ending is for a children's fairytale. And Disney decided to make it a lot lighter and happier for kids to enjoy. In Disney animation, Ariel - the little mermaid, is extremely lucky to get everything she wants by the end after sacrificing her voice to be with her first love. In reality, the chance is a lot lower, and the stake is so high if we don't own, don't honor who we are but change and adapt into someone else's life. The ending of the original Little Mermaid reminds us about what life is. Our own happiness is within and is something we have full control of by looking after it ourselves, staying true to our value and life purpose but letting go of external outcomes that is out of our hands.