en-fr  Hans_Christian_Andersen_Little_Mermaid
La petite sirène par Hans Christian Andersen
[ Depuis "Hans Andersen Forty-Two Stories (1930), traduit par M. R. James ].

En pleine mer, l'eau est aussi bleue que les pétales des bleuets, est aussi claire que le verre ; mais elle est très profonde, plus profonde que peut atteindre un câble d'ancrage, et plusieurs tours des églises devraient être mises les unes sur les autres pour atteindre la surface de l'eau à partir le bas.

Là, tout au-dessous, vit le peuple de la mer.

Now you must not think for a moment that there is only a bare white sandy bottom there; no, no: there the most extraordinary trees and plants grow, which have stems and leaves so supple that they stir at the slightest movement of the water, as if they were alive.

All the fish, big and little, flit among the branches, like the birds in the air up here.

In the deepest place of all lies the sea king's palace.

The walls are of coral, and the tall pointed windows of the clearest possible amber, but the roof is of mussel-shells that open and shut themselves as the water moves.

It all looks beautiful, for in everyone of them lie shining pearls, a single one of which would be the principal ornament in a Queen's crown.

The sea King down there had been a widower for many years, but his old mother kept house for him.

She was a clever woman, but proud of her rank, for which reason she went about with twelve oysters on her tail, while the rest of the nobility might only carry six.

For the rest she deserved high praise, especially because she was so fond of the little sea Princesses, her grandchildren.

There were six of them, beautiful children, but the youngest was the prettiest of them all.

Her skin was as bright and pure as a rose-leaf, her eyes were as blue as the deepest lake; but like all the rest, she had no feet—her body ended in a fish's tail.

All the love-long day they might play down in the palace in the great halls where live flowers grew out of the walls.

The big windows of amber stood open, and the fishes swam in through them, just as with us swallows fly in when we open the windows; but the fishes used to swim right up to the little Princesses and feed out of their hands and allow themselves to be stroked.

Outside the palace there was a large garden with fiery red and dark blue trees, whose fruit shone like gold, and their flowers were like a flaming fire, because they were always moving their stems and leaves.

The ground was of the finest sand, but blue like the flame of sulphur.

Over the whole expanse down there lay a wonderful blue sheen.

You could more easily imagine that you were far up in the air and could see the sky above you and below you, than that you were at the bottom of the sea.

In a dead calm you could see the sun: it looked like a purple flower out of whose cup all the light was streaming.

Each of the young Princesses had her little plot in the garden, where she could dig and plant as she liked.

One would make her flower-bed in the shape of a whale, another preferred to have hers like a little mermaid, but the youngest made hers quite round, like the sun, and would only have flowers that shone red like it.

She was an odd child, quiet and thoughtful, and whereas the other sisters would deck out their gardens with the quaintest things, that they had got from sunken ships, she would only have—besides the rose-red flowers that were like the sun far up in the sky—a pretty statue of marble.

It was of a handsome boy, carved out of bright white stone, which had come down to the sea bottom from a wreck.

Beside the statue she planted a rose-red weeping willow, which grew splendidly and hung its fresh branches over it, right down to the blue sand bottom, on which the shadows showed violet, and moved with the branches; it looked as if the top and the roots of the tree were playing at kissing each other.

She had no greater delight than in dreaming about the world of men up above.

The old grandmother had to tell her all she knew about ships and horses and men and animals.

It seemed to her particularly delightful that up there on earth the flowers smelt sweet (which they did not at the sea bottom), and that the woods were green and the fish which one saw among the branches could sing so loud and prettily that it was a joy to hear them.

It was the little birds that the grandmother called fish, otherwise they could not have understood, for they had never seen a bird.

"When you're full fifteen years old," said the grandmother, "you shall have leave to come up out of the sea and sit on the rocks in the moonlight, and see the big ships that come sailing by; and forests and houses you shall see."

During the year that was passing one of the sisters was fifteen years old; but the rest—why, each was a year younger than the next, and so the youngest had a clear five years to wait before she could come up from the sea bottom and see how things go with us.

But the first promised the next one to tell her what she had seen and had thought beautiful on the first day, for their grandmother didn't tell them enough: there were very many things they wanted to know about.

None of them was so full of longing as the youngest, the very one who had the longest time to wait, and was so quiet and thoughtful.

Many a night she stood at the open window and gazed up through the dark blue waters where the fish went waving their fins and tails.

She could see the moon and the stars; of course they were very pale, but, seen through the water, they looked much larger than they do to our eyes.

If something like a black cloud passed along beneath them, she knew that it was either a whale swimming above her, or even a ship with a number of people in it.

Certainly they never thought that beneath them there was a lovely little mermaid stretching her hands up towards the keel.

And now the eldest Princess was fifteen years old and could rise up above the surface of the sea.

When she came back she had a hundred things to tell; but the most beautiful thing, she said, was to lie on a sandbank in the moonlight in the calm sea, and to see close by the shore the big town where the lights twinkled like hundreds of stars, and to hear the sound of music and the noise and stir of carts and people, and see all the church towers and steeples and hear the bells ringing; and just because she couldn't go up there, she longed after all that, most of all.

Oh, how the youngest sister did listen!

And when, later on in the evening, she stood at the open window and gazed up through the dark blue water, she thought about the big town and all the noise and stir, and then she fancied she could hear the church bells ringing down to her.

The year after, the second sister had leave to rise up through the water and swim where she liked; she ducked up just as the sun was going down, and the sight of that she thought the most beautiful of all.

The whole heaven, she said, had looked like gold, and the clouds—oh! the beauty of them she could not describe: red and violet, they sailed past above her, but far swifter than they there flew, like a large white ribbon, a skein of wild swans away over the water, to where the sun was.

She swam towards it, but it sank, and the rosy glow died from the clouds and the face of the sea.

Next year the third sister went up; she was the boldest of them all; and so she swam up a broad river that ran into the sea.

Beautiful green hills she saw, with rows of vines upon them. Palaces and mansions peeped out from among stately woods.

She heard all the birds singing, and the sun shone so hot that she had to dive beneath the water to cool her burning face.

In a little inlet she came upon a whole crowd of young human children; they were quite naked, and ran about and splashed in the water.

She wanted to play with them, but they ran away in a fright, and then came a little black creature (it was a dog, but she had never seen a dog before) and it barked at her so dreadfully that she was terrified and took refuge in the open sea; but never could she forget the splendid woods and the green hills and the pretty children who could swim in the water, though they had no fish-tails.

The fourth sister was not so daring.

She stayed out in the lonely sea, and told them that that was the most beautiful of all.

You could see many many miles all round, and the sky arched over you like a great bell of glass.

Ships she had seen, but far away they looked like gulls.

The merry dolphins had turned somersaults, and the big whales had squirted up water out of their nostrils, so that it looked like hundreds of fountains all around her.

Now came the turn of the fifth sister.

Her birthday, it happened, was in winter, and so she saw what the others had not seen on their first visit.

The sea was all green to look at, and round about there floated large icebergs, everyone looking like a pearl, she said, and yet they were far bigger than the church towers that men built.

They showed themselves in the strangest shapes and were like diamonds.

She had seated herself on one of the largest, and all the ships made a wide circle in fear, away from the place where she was sitting and letting the wind set her long hair flying; but on towards evening the sky was covered with clouds, it lightened and thundered, while the black sea lifted the masses of ice high up, and made them glitter in the fierce lightning.

Aboard of all the ships they took in sail, and there was anxiety and fear, but she sat calmly on her floating iceberg and watched the blue flashes strike zig-zagging into the shining sea.

The first time any of the sisters came to the top of the water, each one of them was always entranced by all the new pretty sights she saw, but now that, as grown girls, they had leave to go up whenever they liked, it became quite ordinary to them, and they longed to be at home again; and after a month had passed they said that after all it was far prettier down at the bottom, and there one was so comfortable at home.

On many an evening the five sisters would link arms together and rise in a row above the water.

They had lovely voices, more beautiful than any human being's, and when a storm was coming on, and they thought some ships might be lost, they would swim before the ships and sing most beautifully of how pretty it was at the bottom of the sea, and bade the seafarers not to be afraid of coming down there.

But they could not understand their words; they thought it was the storm.

Nor did they see any beautiful things down there either, for when the ship sank they were drowned, and only as dead corpses did they ever reach the sea King's palace.

When of an evening the sisters rose like this, arm in arm, up through the sea, their little sister was left behind quite alone, looking after them, and it seemed as if she must have wept, but a mermaid has no tears, and that makes her suffer all the more.

"Oh! if only I was fifteen," she said, "I know I shall become really fond of that world up there and of the people who have their homes there!"

At last she was fifteen years old.

"There now! We've got you off our hands," said the grandmother, the old widow Queen.

"Come here, and let me dress you out like your other sisters"; and she put a wreath of white lilies on her hair, only every petal in the flower was a half-pearl, and the old lady made eight large oysters take tight hold of the Princess's tail, to indicate her high rank.

"But it hurts so," said the little mermaid.

"Yes, one must suffer a little for smartness' sake," said the old lady.

Oh dear! She would gladly have shaken off all this finery and put away the heavy wreath.

The red flowers in her garden became her much better; but she dare not change it.

"Good-bye," she said, and rose bright and light as a bubble, up through the water.

The sun had just gone down when she lifted her head above the sea, but all the clouds were still glowing like gold and roses, and in the midst of the pale red heaven the evening star shone clear and beautiful.

The air was soft and cool, and the sea dead calm.

There lay a great ship with three masts; only a single sail was set, for no wind was stirring, and round about on the rigging and on the yard, sailors were sitting.

There was music and singing, and as evening grew darker hundreds of variegated lamps were lit.

They looked as if the flags of all nations were waving in the air.

The little mermaid swam straight up to the cabin window, and every time a wave lifted her, she could see through at the windows, clear as mirrors, numbers of gaily dressed people; but the handsomest of them all was the young Prince with the big black eyes: he was certainly not much over sixteen, and this was his birthday, and that was why there were all these fine doings.

The sailors danced on the deck, and when the young Prince came out there, more than a hundred rockets shot up into the sky.

They shone as bright as day, and the little mermaid was quite frightened and dived down beneath the water, but soon she put up her head again, and then it seemed as if all the stars in the sky were falling down on her.

She had never seen fireworks like that.

Great suns whizzed round, splendid fire-fish darted into the blue heaven, and everything was reflected back from the bright calm sea.

On the ship itself there was so much light that you could see every least rope, let alone the people.

Oh! how handsome the young Prince was; he shook hands with the crew and smiled and laughed, while the music rang out into the beautiful night.

It grew late, but the little mermaid could not take her eyes off the ship and the beautiful Prince.

The coloured lamps were put out, no more rockets flew up into the sky, no more guns were let off, but deep down in the sea there was a murmur and a rumbling.

Meanwhile she sat on the water and swung up and down, so that she could see into the cabin; but the ship now took a swifter pace, one sail after another was spread, the waves rose higher, great clouds came up in the distance, there was lightning.

Oh, there would be a terrible storm; and the seamen took in sail.

The great ship ploughed with the speed of a bird over the wild sea, the water piled itself into huge black mountains, as if to top the masts, but the ship dived down like a swan between the tall billows, and rose again over the heaving waters.

To the little mermaid it seemed just a pleasant jaunt, but not so to the sailors.

The ship creaked and cracked, the stout planks bent with the mighty blows that the sea dealt.

The mast snapped in the midst as if it had been a reed, and the ship heeled over on her side, while the water rushed into her hull.

Now the little mermaid saw they were in peril; she herself had to beware of the beams and broken pieces of the ship that were driven about in the sea.

At one instant it was so pitch-dark that she could see nothing whatever; then, when it lightened, it was so bright that she could see everyone on board.

Everyone was leaping off as best he could.

The young Prince above all she looked for, and she saw him, when the ship parted, sink down into the deep.

For a moment she was full of joy that now he was coming down to her; but then she remembered that men could not live in the water, and that he could never come alive to her father's palace.

No, die he must not!

So she swam in among the beams and planks that drove about in the water, quite forgetting that they might have crushed her—dived deep beneath the water, and rose high among the billows, and so came at last to the young Prince, who could hardly keep himself afloat any longer in the stormy sea.

His arms and legs were beginning to tire, his beautiful eyes were closing; but he would perforce have died had not the little mermaid come to him.

She held his head above the water, and let the waves drive her with him whither they would.
unit 1
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 3 days ago
unit 2
(from Hans Andersen Forty-Two Stories [1930], translated by M. R. James).
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 3 days ago
unit 4
Down there live the sea people.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 7
In the deepest place of all lies the sea king's palace.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 61
They showed themselves in the strangest shapes and were like diamonds.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 70
unit 93
Oh!

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen.
(from Hans Andersen Forty-Two Stories [1930], translated by M. R. James).

Far out in the sea the water is as blue as the petals of the loveliest of cornflowers, and as clear as the clearest glass; but it is very deep, deeper than any anchor-cable can reach, and many church towers would have to be put one on the top of another to reach from the bottom out of the water.

Down there live the sea people.

Now you must not think for a moment that there is only a bare white sandy bottom there; no, no: there the most extraordinary trees and plants grow, which have stems and leaves so supple that they stir at the slightest movement of the water, as if they were alive.

All the fish, big and little, flit among the branches, like the birds in the air up here.

In the deepest place of all lies the sea king's palace.

The walls are of coral, and the tall pointed windows of the clearest possible amber, but the roof is of mussel-shells that open and shut themselves as the water moves.

It all looks beautiful, for in everyone of them lie shining pearls, a single one of which would be the principal ornament in a Queen's crown.

The sea King down there had been a widower for many years, but his old mother kept house for him.

She was a clever woman, but proud of her rank, for which reason she went about with twelve oysters on her tail, while the rest of the nobility might only carry six.

For the rest she deserved high praise, especially because she was so fond of the little sea Princesses, her grandchildren.

There were six of them, beautiful children, but the youngest was the prettiest of them all.

Her skin was as bright and pure as a rose-leaf, her eyes were as blue as the deepest lake; but like all the rest, she had no feet—her body ended in a fish's tail.

All the love-long day they might play down in the palace in the great halls where live flowers grew out of the walls.

The big windows of amber stood open, and the fishes swam in through them, just as with us swallows fly in when we open the windows; but the fishes used to swim right up to the little Princesses and feed out of their hands and allow themselves to be stroked.

Outside the palace there was a large garden with fiery red and dark blue trees, whose fruit shone like gold, and their flowers were like a flaming fire, because they were always moving their stems and leaves.

The ground was of the finest sand, but blue like the flame of sulphur.

Over the whole expanse down there lay a wonderful blue sheen.

You could more easily imagine that you were far up in the air and could see the sky above you and below you, than that you were at the bottom of the sea.

In a dead calm you could see the sun: it looked like a purple flower out of whose cup all the light was streaming.

Each of the young Princesses had her little plot in the garden, where she could dig and plant as she liked.

One would make her flower-bed in the shape of a whale, another preferred to have hers like a little mermaid, but the youngest made hers quite round, like the sun, and would only have flowers that shone red like it.

She was an odd child, quiet and thoughtful, and whereas the other sisters would deck out their gardens with the quaintest things, that they had got from sunken ships, she would only have—besides the rose-red flowers that were like the sun far up in the sky—a pretty statue of marble.

It was of a handsome boy, carved out of bright white stone, which had come down to the sea bottom from a wreck.

Beside the statue she planted a rose-red weeping willow, which grew splendidly and hung its fresh branches over it, right down to the blue sand bottom, on which the shadows showed violet, and moved with the branches;

it looked as if the top and the roots of the tree were playing at kissing each other.

She had no greater delight than in dreaming about the world of men up above.

The old grandmother had to tell her all she knew about ships and horses and men and animals.

It seemed to her particularly delightful that up there on earth the flowers smelt sweet (which they did not at the sea bottom), and that the woods were green and the fish which one saw among the branches could sing so loud and prettily that it was a joy to hear them.

It was the little birds that the grandmother called fish, otherwise they could not have understood, for they had never seen a bird.

"When you're full fifteen years old," said the grandmother, "you shall have leave to come up out of the sea and sit on the rocks in the moonlight, and see the big ships that come sailing by; and forests and houses you shall see."

During the year that was passing one of the sisters was fifteen years old; but the rest—why, each was a year younger than the next, and so the youngest had a clear five years to wait before she could come up from the sea bottom and see how things go with us.

But the first promised the next one to tell her what she had seen and had thought beautiful on the first day, for their grandmother didn't tell them enough: there were very many things they wanted to know about.

None of them was so full of longing as the youngest, the very one who had the longest time to wait, and was so quiet and thoughtful.

Many a night she stood at the open window and gazed up through the dark blue waters where the fish went waving their fins and tails.

She could see the moon and the stars; of course they were very pale, but, seen through the water, they looked much larger than they do to our eyes.

If something like a black cloud passed along beneath them, she knew that it was either a whale swimming above her, or even a ship with a number of people in it.

Certainly they never thought that beneath them there was a lovely little mermaid stretching her hands up towards the keel.

And now the eldest Princess was fifteen years old and could rise up above the surface of the sea.

When she came back she had a hundred things to tell; but the most beautiful thing, she said, was to lie on a sandbank in the moonlight in the calm sea, and to see close by the shore the big town where the lights twinkled like hundreds of stars, and to hear the sound of music and the noise and stir of carts and people, and see all the church towers and steeples and hear the bells ringing;

and just because she couldn't go up there, she longed after all that, most of all.

Oh, how the youngest sister did listen!

And when, later on in the evening, she stood at the open window and gazed up through the dark blue water, she thought about the big town and all the noise and stir, and then she fancied she could hear the church bells ringing down to her.

The year after, the second sister had leave to rise up through the water and swim where she liked; she ducked up just as the sun was going down, and the sight of that she thought the most beautiful of all.

The whole heaven, she said, had looked like gold, and the clouds—oh! the beauty of them she could not describe: red and violet, they sailed past above her, but far swifter than they there flew, like a large white ribbon, a skein of wild swans away over the water, to where the sun was.

She swam towards it, but it sank, and the rosy glow died from the clouds and the face of the sea.

Next year the third sister went up; she was the boldest of them all; and so she swam up a broad river that ran into the sea.

Beautiful green hills she saw, with rows of vines upon them. Palaces and mansions peeped out from among stately woods.

She heard all the birds singing, and the sun shone so hot that she had to dive beneath the water to cool her burning face.

In a little inlet she came upon a whole crowd of young human children; they were quite naked, and ran about and splashed in the water.

She wanted to play with them, but they ran away in a fright, and then came a little black creature (it was a dog, but she had never seen a dog before) and it barked at her so dreadfully that she was terrified and took refuge in the open sea;

but never could she forget the splendid woods and the green hills and the pretty children who could swim in the water, though they had no fish-tails.

The fourth sister was not so daring.

She stayed out in the lonely sea, and told them that that was the most beautiful of all.

You could see many many miles all round, and the sky arched over you like a great bell of glass.

Ships she had seen, but far away they looked like gulls.

The merry dolphins had turned somersaults, and the big whales had squirted up water out of their nostrils, so that it looked like hundreds of fountains all around her.

Now came the turn of the fifth sister.

Her birthday, it happened, was in winter, and so she saw what the others had not seen on their first visit.

The sea was all green to look at, and round about there floated large icebergs, everyone looking like a pearl, she said, and yet they were far bigger than the church towers that men built.

They showed themselves in the strangest shapes and were like diamonds.

She had seated herself on one of the largest, and all the ships made a wide circle in fear, away from the place where she was sitting and letting the wind set her long hair flying;

but on towards evening the sky was covered with clouds, it lightened and thundered, while the black sea lifted the masses of ice high up, and made them glitter in the fierce lightning.

Aboard of all the ships they took in sail, and there was anxiety and fear, but she sat calmly on her floating iceberg and watched the blue flashes strike zig-zagging into the shining sea.

The first time any of the sisters came to the top of the water, each one of them was always entranced by all the new pretty sights she saw, but now that, as grown girls, they had leave to go up whenever they liked, it became quite ordinary to them, and they longed to be at home again;

and after a month had passed they said that after all it was far prettier down at the bottom, and there one was so comfortable at home.

On many an evening the five sisters would link arms together and rise in a row above the water.

They had lovely voices, more beautiful than any human being's, and when a storm was coming on, and they thought some ships might be lost, they would swim before the ships and sing most beautifully of how pretty it was at the bottom of the sea, and bade the seafarers not to be afraid of coming down there.

But they could not understand their words; they thought it was the storm.

Nor did they see any beautiful things down there either, for when the ship sank they were drowned, and only as dead corpses did they ever reach the sea King's palace.

When of an evening the sisters rose like this, arm in arm, up through the sea, their little sister was left behind quite alone, looking after them, and it seemed as if she must have wept, but a mermaid has no tears, and that makes her suffer all the more.

"Oh! if only I was fifteen," she said, "I know I shall become really fond of that world up there and of the people who have their homes there!"

At last she was fifteen years old.

"There now! We've got you off our hands," said the grandmother, the old widow Queen.

"Come here, and let me dress you out like your other sisters"; and she put a wreath of white lilies on her hair, only every petal in the flower was a half-pearl, and the old lady made eight large oysters take tight hold of the Princess's tail, to indicate her high rank.

"But it hurts so," said the little mermaid.

"Yes, one must suffer a little for smartness' sake," said the old lady.

Oh dear! She would gladly have shaken off all this finery and put away the heavy wreath.

The red flowers in her garden became her much better; but she dare not change it.

"Good-bye," she said, and rose bright and light as a bubble, up through the water.

The sun had just gone down when she lifted her head above the sea, but all the clouds were still glowing like gold and roses, and in the midst of the pale red heaven the evening star shone clear and beautiful.

The air was soft and cool, and the sea dead calm.

There lay a great ship with three masts; only a single sail was set, for no wind was stirring, and round about on the rigging and on the yard, sailors were sitting.

There was music and singing, and as evening grew darker hundreds of variegated lamps were lit.

They looked as if the flags of all nations were waving in the air.

The little mermaid swam straight up to the cabin window, and every time a wave lifted her, she could see through at the windows, clear as mirrors, numbers of gaily dressed people;

but the handsomest of them all was the young Prince with the big black eyes: he was certainly not much over sixteen, and this was his birthday, and that was why there were all these fine doings.

The sailors danced on the deck, and when the young Prince came out there, more than a hundred rockets shot up into the sky.

They shone as bright as day, and the little mermaid was quite frightened and dived down beneath the water, but soon she put up her head again, and then it seemed as if all the stars in the sky were falling down on her.

She had never seen fireworks like that.

Great suns whizzed round, splendid fire-fish darted into the blue heaven, and everything was reflected back from the bright calm sea.

On the ship itself there was so much light that you could see every least rope, let alone the people.

Oh! how handsome the young Prince was; he shook hands with the crew and smiled and laughed, while the music rang out into the beautiful night.

It grew late, but the little mermaid could not take her eyes off the ship and the beautiful Prince.

The coloured lamps were put out, no more rockets flew up into the sky, no more guns were let off, but deep down in the sea there was a murmur and a rumbling.

Meanwhile she sat on the water and swung up and down, so that she could see into the cabin; but the ship now took a swifter pace, one sail after another was spread, the waves rose higher, great clouds came up in the distance, there was lightning.

Oh, there would be a terrible storm; and the seamen took in sail.

The great ship ploughed with the speed of a bird over the wild sea, the water piled itself into huge black mountains, as if to top the masts, but the ship dived down like a swan between the tall billows, and rose again over the heaving waters.

To the little mermaid it seemed just a pleasant jaunt, but not so to the sailors.

The ship creaked and cracked, the stout planks bent with the mighty blows that the sea dealt.

The mast snapped in the midst as if it had been a reed, and the ship heeled over on her side, while the water rushed into her hull.

Now the little mermaid saw they were in peril; she herself had to beware of the beams and broken pieces of the ship that were driven about in the sea.

At one instant it was so pitch-dark that she could see nothing whatever; then, when it lightened, it was so bright that she could see everyone on board.

Everyone was leaping off as best he could.

The young Prince above all she looked for, and she saw him, when the ship parted, sink down into the deep.

For a moment she was full of joy that now he was coming down to her; but then she remembered that men could not live in the water, and that he could never come alive to her father's palace.

No, die he must not!

So she swam in among the beams and planks that drove about in the water, quite forgetting that they might have crushed her—dived deep beneath the water, and rose high among the billows, and so came at last to the young Prince, who could hardly keep himself afloat any longer in the stormy sea.

His arms and legs were beginning to tire, his beautiful eyes were closing; but he would perforce have died had not the little mermaid come to him.

She held his head above the water, and let the waves drive her with him whither they would.