Today, Tracy Deebs is here with a guest post as part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her book, Tempest Rising. Thank you for being here, Tracy! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!
Did you find any interesting folklore when researching the mermaid mythos? If so, can you share some of your findings with us?
First off, thanks Corrine for having me here today I love talking about mermaids!
I’ve loved mermaids since I was very young—when I was little (like three or four) I had a VCR tape of the Hans Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid. I watched it every day, at least once a day, and loved every second of it, every time. Most of us know the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, where Ursula loses out and Ariel gets her prince in the end, but in the original version of The Little Mermaid, things didn’t work out quite that way.
In the original fairy tale, the mermaid, though unable to speak, has the prince’s affections until he has to go to a neighboring kingdom and visit the beautiful princess. As soon as he sees her, he decides that it is she who had rescued him from drowning and not the Little Mermaid, and he pledges his love to her, marrying her. The little mermaid was supposed to die without his love—courtesy of her bargain with the sea witch-- until her sisters sacrifice their beautiful hair to the sea witch in order to buy their sister more time. She has three days to get the prince to fall in love with her or kill him with the sharp knife they had brought her. At the end of the three days, knowing she has lost the prince’s love for all time, the little mermaid sneaks into his room and puts the knife to his chest. She knows, if she wants to live, she has to kill him. But in the end, she loves him too much to harm him, so because he is silly and shallow and does not see her for what she really is, and because she is not willing to put herself before him, the little mermaid turns to sea foam and slowly floats away. The prince realizes too late (of course) what he’s done and the little mermaid is destined to be bubbles on the surface of the ocean for centuries …
Reciting it here, the story seems so sad, but as a child, I loved it, even though I cried every time when she became beautiful pink and lavender sea foam. There was just something about that fairy tale, that lore, that spoke to me—and if I’m honest, speaks to me still. Usually, I’m a sucker for a happy ending, but the said poignancy of unrequited love gets me every time. Plus the darkness of the tale echoes the darkness I love to write about, and that I brought to Tempest Rising.
While this is probably my favorite folklore when it comes to mermaids, and the story that prompted me to write Tempest Rising when my agent asked me one day, “So, how do you feel about mermaids …” it is not the only lore that I researched when coming up with Tempest’s underwater world. I love the story of the Sirens, who lured sailors to their deaths (I didn’t put this in Tempest Rising) and selkies, a shapeshifting aquatic animal who can shed it’s pelt. Lore says that whoever has control of the pelt has control of the selkie, for if a selkie has his pelt, he can never resist the pull of the sea. I really like selkies and couldn’t resist using the lore (with a little twist or two) in Tempest Rising as well.
So how about you? Is there any mythological creature that intrigues you? Leave a comment for a chance to win a Bath and Body Works bath set.
Many thanks for this guest post, Tracy! I've never actually watched the Hans Christian Andersen version of "The Little Mermaid." I think I should do that! Love the guest post and can't wait to read Tempest's story!
Comment for a chance to win a Bath and Body Works bath set, courtesy of Tracy.
Thank you, Tracy!
Giveaway is open to US residents only. (Sorry to those of you who are international.) :(
Giveaway will end May 26, 2011.