I’m feeling cautious today so the listings for this one are just Death/Mermaid instead of The Little Mermaid. The fairytale is public domain, my version has literally no resemblance to the animated movie, but Disney will absolutely take it down based purely on a title or tags and then I have to wait months for an adjudicator somewhere to look at the damn thing and admit it’s not their IP. I went through it with an old Rapunzel painting, which featured a Japanese Rapunzel, actually named Mizuni (but with Rapunzel in parentheses) in a kimono, but still got pulled just in case it might have anything to do with Tangled. Sigh.
ANYWAY. This is one of the first cards that popped into my head and I’m pretty excited that it worked out almost exactly as I pictured it.
The Little Mermaid is, even for an HCA story, deeply obsessed with death. The reason the protagonist goes to the sea witch isn’t primarily because she’s fallen in love at first sight with a handsome pirnce – it’s because she wants and immortal soul. In Andersen’s story, mermaids live for hundreds of years, but when they die they dissolve into sea foam. The only way to gain an immortal soul is to win the love of a human, so it dovetails nicely that she has a crush on a human prince.
Most of the story progresses as you know it, though there’s no real trickery making the prince fall in love with someone else – he just does. But on that wedding night, the little mermaid’s sisters rise out of the sea to her, crying, to give her a special knife they traded their hair for. They tell her that if she’ll go stab the prince and let the blood fall on her legs, they’ll turn back into a tail and she can live out the rest of her natural lifespan with them. If she doesn’t do it, when the sun rises she’ll dissolve into sea foam and be gone forever. (Weird Disney wasn’t into this, huh?)
She makes the merciful choice and leaps into the sea as the sun rises, dissolving into foam but then rising up as a Spirit of the Air, ready to live again in a new form and with a new chance to gain an immortal soul. (The rules about that are, naturally, sort of moralistic and sanctimonious and basically blame crying children for lengthening the spirits’ limbo, so yeah, still an Andersen story.)
So you can see why this was such a natural choice for the card -she’s dying, transforming, and being reborn, all at once.
I’m finally watching The Great Pottery Throwdown and it is exactly as delightful and soothing as Great British Bakeoff, though I warn you that season one will force you to spend a fair amount of time looking at a white dude with dreads.