The original story of the little mermaid is that she must kill the prince in order to be human, and in the end, she loves him too much and kills herself instead.
The artwork is too great not to reblog.
Ok, ok - important expansion: she only has to kill the Prince because the deal was if he fell in love with her she could be human forever, and he didn’t. By which I mean, he was a good person and genuinely nice to her, but he didn’t fall in love. He fell in love with someone else, also perfectly nice - not the seawitch in disguise, fu Disney. The Mermaid is told she can only return to the sea now if she kills the Prince. She goes into the room where he and his lover lie sleeping and they look so beautiful and happy together that she can’t do it.
That’s why she kills herself. And because it was a noble act she returns to sea as foam.
One moral of the story was that women shouldn’t fundamentally change who they are for love of a man, and in theory Han Christian Anderson wrote it for a ballerina with whom he fell in love. She was marrying someone else who wouldn’t let her dance.
Well shit man
She doesn’t kill herself so much as she accepts her fate. She has to either kill the prince and return to the sea to live out the rest of her life or come sunrise she’ll dissolve into sea foam. Her reward for this selfless act is that she becomes a daughter of the air and gains an immortal soul, which was one of her goals in the story to begin with. Mermaids live for about 300 years in the story, but after that their bodies become sea foam and then that’s it. But the Little Mermaid learns that humans’ souls get to live on in Heaven after they die, and she’s told that, if she’s loved by another human, her soul will do the same. She’s rewarded this way because of her love for the Prince.