I guess it’s the Fairy Tales that have poisoned our minds with the so unrealistic and typical “happily ever afters”. I was much like the boring disciplined girl- never wanting to hear a bedtime story. Anytime I insisted upon hearing one during the afternoon nap, after reaching home from school and lunch, I would give mom a condition- not to begin with “Once upon a time”. She would find it highly annoying and perhaps in retaliation, she would narrate a story where an elephant would want to cross that river. What then? That would then take atleast the whole of that afternoon, so I was to sleep for then and ask about it the next noon, since evening was study time.
I read my bunch of fairy tales when I had reached an (old) age of 7 years. I had brought a few folk- tale books home from my dad’s office library. A few I had insisted to buy from the school book- fair. I had to be very careful about the books I picked. I was slammed for reading animal- stories! I ought to be reading realistic non- fiction biographies. I am that one kid who has not read a comic book yet- sob
Coming back to fairy tales, I have read only a few fairy tales. I happen to read that pigeon story in one of those folk tale books alongwith the Cinderella’s story.
- Cinderella- I had known of the story but had read that only then.
- The Sleeping Beauty- I found it highly unrealistic.
- Beauty and the Beast- After reading this one then, I had watched it on Faerie Tale Theater presented by Shelly Duvall exactly on my birthday- 15th maybe! Oh well, couldn’t find anything even remotely close.
- The Frog Prince- Despite several opportunities, I didn’t kiss any!
- The Little Mermaid- I had loved the form of mermaid. The story had moved me. I loved drawing her.
The one I had read ended that she remained in her human form and utterly silent; since the witch had told her that if she spoke, she would turn back to a mermaid. So she spent the rest of her life sitting on the rock at the shore since she couldn’t go back either!
At the tender age of 7, I could not help feeling sorry for her! I had also loved how she transformed herself to look out for her love. But how she chose to remain quiet was something I couldn’t buy. That little feminist inside me had screamed loud. What was the use of that humanly form if she was to remain all by herself. I mean all the silence and not even the Prince! She ought to have spoken up and then lost her shape and then walked out on him, if the Prince had not accepted the reality.
One other lesson I drew of it was that the “Prince” was one fool hardy man. Just because someone kissed him when he came to sense doesn’t mean she saved him. Shouldn’t he have probed further? How he would have survived as a King if he lacked the power to exercise his judgement then?
Yet another learning was that it would always be the mermaid who would be forced to bargain self.
Today while writing this post, I found yet another version of this fairy tale; the end part to be precise. So whatever version I had held in my mind is now slowly getting released. I wonder how that pain had stayed in me for the last 25 years now. As though to almost ease my anxiety that I had carried for this long; I got to read a very different version. It typically seems that that particular end was written by some one like me, who believes in becoming divine and indifferent after one’s taken unbearable pain and in her stride.
The one I had read had cleverly removed the portion that while walking or dancing, her feet would hurt. There was no mention of the mermaid having to die the following morning! Instead, very softly it had transitioned to that often people would see her sitting by the shore- but no one heard of her ever since.
Reading this version, my mind had numbed. I could hear any sound. The screen had turned hazy and I realized I was crying.
This was one fairy tale that had appealed to me and I am glad that this is how it had ended instead of the undecided ending I had read back then or the irrelevant happily ever after. I have been writing in my blog that I have evolved spiritually ever since I have begun to realize that I have taken more than any average human being is made to. I am certainly not saying I’m the most afflicted one but the life I have lead till now has been highly turbulent. It has been nothing short of residing in a pandemonium. So to almost conclude such a chaotic destiny, I feel I need to detach myself from all and everyone.
I have almost reached that state of being in a way. I wish to raise myself so high that I remain twinkling like a star- close enough to be seen and praised; far away for anyone to touch! This little mermaid story had made me feel depressed for years. How I had read it, something didn’t feel right. After I re- read it today, I feel much at peace.
I too yearn to become Divine, dissolving myself into ether so all the pains n pleasures cease to exist for me!
As for the mermaid, I’m happy!