Archive for January 20th, 2018

The Little Mermaid!

January 20, 2018

Happy Saturday!  When you mention “The Little Mermaid” today, most children would assume you are referencing the Disney animated movie (from 1989) featuring the red-headed mermaid, Ariel.  However, “The Little Mermaid,” a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson was originally published more than 150 years before (1837) and is the tale upon which the animated movie was based.  Did you know that there was a sculpture of the same name also based upon this fairy tale?    It is a bronze statue created by Edvard Eriksen,  and installed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1913.

According to The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy . . . a mermaid is “a legendary marine creature with the head and torso of a woman and a tail of a fish; the masculine, less well-known equivalent is a merman.  Though linked to the classical Sirens, mermaids may be nothing more than sailors’ fanciful reports of the playful antics of dugongs or manatees.”   Sirens are defined as “evil creatures who lived on a rocky island, singing in beautiful voices in an effort to lure sailors to shipwreck and death.  Odysseus ordered his crew to plug their ears to escape the Sirens’ fatal song.  Figuratively, a ‘siren’ is a beautiful or tempting woman; a ‘siren song’ is any irresistible distraction.”

Source: The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.; Joseph F. Kett; and James Trefil.