Walt Disney the little mermaid vs Hans Christian Anderson’s version

Hello I’m Brandi Housden and welcome back to Disney vs author.


Did you know the original little mermaid story? Or did you just watch the Disney film? they are both good in their own way but which one do you prefer? Leave a comment down below.


So let’s get started with the story written by Hans Christian Anderson.


The story starts off in an underwater palace with a widowed king, his mother and her six granddaughters. The youngest granddaughter is the main character.


Her grandmother told her stories of life above the sea.


Unfortunately she had to wait for her fifteenth birthday to go above the water. 

She waited impatiently for her fifteenth birthday and finally swam to the surface!


She saw a prince on a boat celebrating his 16th birthday. Then a terrible storm came and the little mermaid saved him.


As time went by she began to grow fonder of human people.


“If the human people don’t drown," the little mermaid inquired, "can they go on living always? Don't they die as we do down here in the sea?"  "Yes," said the old lady, "they have to die, too, and besides, their lifetime is shorter than ours. We can live for three hundred years, but when we cease to be here, we only turn to foam on the water, and have not even a grave down here among our dear ones. We have no immortal souls, we never live again; we are like the green weed: once it is cut down it never grows green again. Human kind, on the other hand, have a soul that lives always after the body has turned into earth. It rises up through the clear air, up to all the shining stars; just as we rise out of the sea and look at the human people's country.”​


“Why do we have no immortal souls given us?" said the little mermaid, very sadly. "I would give all my hundreds of years that I have to live to be a human being for only one day, and then get a share in the heavenly world."​    "You mustn't go thinking about that," said the old lady, "we have a much happier and better lot than the people up there."​


So after the disagreement the little mermaid decided to go meet the sea witch.  So the sea witch made her a potion and said, “every step you take will be as if you were treading on a sharp knife, so that you would think your blood must gush out. If you can bear all that, I will do what you wish."​


So the little mermaid agrees. Even after the sea witch wanted her tongue for payment. Yeah that’s going to hurt. 


When she went to the prince’s palace. She drank the potion, unfortunately when the sun rose she was naked. 


But as time went by the prince only loved her in a non romantic way.  When the prince married someone else 

The little mermaid awaited her death but when her sisters got a knife from the sea witch and said to kill the prince and become a mermaid again. The little mermaid threw the knife into the water and then threw herself in. But rather than turning into foam on the sea, she became a daughter of the air.


Now it’s the movie that Disney made


The story starts off with a concert performed by his daughters but the seventh sister, Ariel, who is at a wrecked ship, forgot about the concert and went out collecting human items and getting incorrect information about these objects from a bird named scuttle.  Unlike the book, human contact is forbidden, even saving a prince is deemed wrong in the eyes of her father. Yet Ariel does it anyway, she’s willing to do anything to get out of the water and live on land. So when her father ruined her collection, Ariel went to see Ursula, the sea witch. I’m really glad that Disney made Ursula more active in the movie than in Hans Christian Anderson’s book. My favorite song in that entire movie is poor unfortunate souls. The payment for being human is the same except she uses magic to remove Ariel’s voice. However if you watch real carefully you can see Ursula put a tongue in the caldron.


Ariel is still naked and can’t talk but with the help of her sea friends and battling Ursula when she takes Triton’s staff,  Ariel’s father turns her back into a human and she marries the prince.


Now I’m not going to even bother comparing the second movie and the prequel, because there’s no books based off them.


So back to the question, which version of the little mermaid do you like better?

Dhruv patil - Aug 27, 2021, 7:26 PM - Add Reply


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About Author

I took creative Writing class in high school and I’m a self published author who almost always has a story idea or something to write about