“Far out in the ocean the water is as blue as the petals of the loveliest cornflower, and as clear as the purest glass.”
The opening lines of this fairy tale immediately set the tone. Reminiscent of fragrance and translucence, Anderson prefigures the ending of his tale, when the little mermaid will become an airy wind, flitting about the earth, and doing good deeps to gain an immortal soul. But in order to reach the heights, he must first bring us to the depths. So he brings us down, down, the height of many steeples stacked one upon the other, down to the depths of that world.
Then he describes it. In vivid, watercolor beauty, he takes four paragraphs (which I will not do) to paint the pristine and intricate image of life beneath the sea. This is a tale Anderson cared for, nurturing it like a mother with her…
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