The Little Mermaid

贡献者:龟背竹 类别:英文 时间:2023-05-01 19:19:16 收藏数:33 评分:2.1
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Far out in the ocean the water is as blue as the petals of the loveliest cornflower, and as clear
as the purest glass. But it is very deep too. It goes down deeper than any anchor rope will go,
and many, many steeples would have to be stacked one on top of another to reach from the bottom
to the surface of the sea. It is down there that the sea folk live.
Now don't suppose that there are only bare white sands at the bottom of the sea. No indeed! The
most marvelous trees and flowers grow down there, with such pliant stalks and leaves that the
least stir in the water makes them move about as though they were alive. All sorts of fish, large
and small, dart among the branches, just as birds flit through the trees up here. From the
deepest spot in the ocean rises the palace of the sea king. Its walls are made of coral and its
high pointed windows of the clearest amber, but the roof is made of mussel shells that open and
shut with the tide. This is a wonderful sight to see, for every shell holds glistening pearls,
any one of which would be the pride of a queen's crown.
The sea king down there had been a widower for years, and his old mother kept house for him. She
was a clever woman, but very proud of her noble birth. Therefore she flaunted twelve oysters on
her tail while the other ladies of the court were only allowed to wear six. Except for this she
was an altogether praiseworthy person, particularly so because she was extremely fond of her
granddaughters, the little sea princesses. They were six lovely girls, but the youngest was the
most beautiful of them all. Her skin was soft and tender as a rose petal. Her body ended as
a fish tail.
The whole day long they used to play in the palace, down in the great halls where live flowers
grew on the walls. Whenever the high amber windows were thrown open the fish would swim in,
just as swallows dart into our rooms when we open the windows. But these fish, now, would
swim right up to the princesses to eat out of their hands and let themselves be petted.
Outside the palace was a big garden, with flaming red and deep-blue trees. Their fruit
glittered like gold, and their blossoms flamed like fire on their constantly waving stalks.
The soil was very fine sand indeed, but as blue as burning brimstone. A strange blue veil lay
over everything down there. You would have thought yourself aloft in the air with only the
blue sky above and beneath you, rather than down at the bottom of the sea. When ther was a
dead calm, you couuld just see the sun, like a sccarlet flower with light streaming from its
calyx.
Each little princess had her own small garden plot, where she could dig and plant whatever
she liked. One of them made her little flower bed in the snape of a whale, another thougt it
neater to shape hers like a little mermaid, but the youngest of them made hers as round as the
sun, and there she grew only flowers which were as red as the sun itself. She was an unusual
child, quiet and wistful, and when her sister decorated their fardens with all kinds of odd
things they had found in sunken ships, she would allow nothing in hers except flowers as red
as the sun, and a pretty marble statue. This figure of a handsome boy, carved in pure white
marble, had sunk down to the bottom of the sea from some ship that was wrecked. Beside the
statue she planted a rose-colored weeping willow tree, which thrived so well that is graceful
branches shaded the statue and hung down to the blue sand, where their shadows took on a
violet tint, and swayed as the branches swayed. It looked as if the roots and the tips of the
branches were kissing each other in play.
Nothing gace the youngest princess such pleasure as to hear about the world of human beings
above them. Her old grandmother had to tell her all she knew about the ships and cities, and
of people and animals. What seemed nicest of all to her was that up ono land the floweres were
fragrant, for those at the bottom of the sea had no scent. And she thought it was nice that
woods were green, and that the fish you saw among their branches could sing so loud and sweet
that is was delightful to hear them. Her grandmother had to call the little birds "fish", or
the princess would not have known what she was talking about, for she had never seen a bird.
"When you get to be fifteen,"her grandmother said,"you will be allowed to rise up out of the
ocean and sit on the rocks in the moonlight, to watch the great ships sailing by. You will
see woods and towns, too."
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