The little Mermaid

From the fairytale "The Little Mermaid" by H. C. Andersen:

Hans Christian Andersen
"Far out in the ocean the water is as blue as the petals of the corn flower and as clear as the cleanest glass, but it is very deep; deeper than any anchor cable will ever reach. Many church towers has to be on top of each other to reach from the bottom to the surface. That's where the sea-people live."

That is how the Danish poet H. C. Andersen starts his fairytale about the little mermaid, who was the youngest daughter of the Sea king. She fell in love with an earhtly prince, but since she was a mermaid, she could never be part of eartly living. She gave up her voice for a pair of legs to get a chance to live with the prince, but since he never gave himself to her, she suffered a mermaids death and was turned into sea scum.

The Little Mermaid

H. C. Andersen wrote the story about her. The story became a theater play. The actor, Ellen Price, who played the role of the little mermaid at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen did such a good job, that the brewer, Carl Jacobsen, was so impressed that he asked the sculptor, Edvard Eriksen, to create a sculpture of the little mermaid. He donated her to the city of Copenhagen, and she was placed on a rock in the water on August 1913, and there she still sits - in sad silence, looking out over the water. Edvard Eriksen's wife was the model for the mermaid - at least the for the body part of her. It is said, that the actriss Ellen Price was the model for the head.


Over the years she has been subject to quite a few abuses.

In 1963 red paint was poured all over her.

In 1964 she was decapitated. They never found the cullprit, but there was a lot of rumours. The trend for creating "happenings" at that time made some people beieve, it was caused by the Danish artist Joergen nash. It was never confermed. Joergen Nash later "confessed" to be the one, who did it in his book "En havfruemorder krydser sit spor" from 1997, but writing that might just have been another happening....who knows?

In 1984 she lost an arm. Some young people confessed to doing it just a couple of days later.

In 1990 somone obviously tried to remove her head again. A 7" cut was spotted on her neck, but appearently the culprit never finished the job, so this time she was "just" wounded but kept her head.

In 1998 she lost her head again. The head was quickly recovered when a radio station offered a reward for information leading to it. The reward, owever, was never obtained, so the money was put into the restoration of the mermaid. About a month later she had her head back and could have her phto taken by all the tourists again.

And 2003 she was attacked. This time she was knocked into the water - presumably by someone using explosives. The police called it a very severe kind of vandalism. From the act and the fall into the water she suffered many damages, but yet again she was restored and she's back on her stone ready for the tourists and their cameras.

Pictures and more about the vandalism over the years...

"She's so small!"

The little Mermaid posing for tourists

Well, yes she is. This little lady is only about 4 feet high. It is estimated that around 1 million people visit the little mermaid every year. To Denmark and Copenhagen, she is equally important as the Eifel Tower is to People of France and the Statue of Liberty is to Americans.

She might be small...but she sure is "great"!

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