7-Little Mermaid: Cry with the Saints

Home/Podcast/7-Little Mermaid: Cry with the Saints

7-Little Mermaid: Cry with the Saints

The real story of the Little Mermaid is way more violent and grim than the Disney version, and does not have a happy ending. It's the story of a teenage mermaid who falls in love with a human and makes a deal to get legs, but that's where the similarities end. The original includes bald mermaids, daggers, and a great way to blackmail your kids into being good.

If you've ever wanted to know way, way too much detail about a mermaid society, but hate it when your characters have names or plausible motivations, this story is for you. But really, it's very weird, and it makes you wonder why it has not only survived to the modern day, but is incredibly popular and has inspired multiple retellings.

In the creature of the week, an ape man you can't hide anything from, but who has an extremely short attention span.

Connect with me on twitter: @mythpodcast

My e-mail: jason@mythpodcast.com

Find the show on iTunes!

Songs:

“The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan” by Chris Zabriskie

"Hypnic Jerk" by Smith Comma John

"La Valse de Marian" by Marian Badoi

"Keep on Moving" by Ton

"Rewound" by Chris Zabriskie

"Archimedes" by Jason Staczek

"Something Elated" by Broke for Free

"Wandering" by Steve Combs

By | 2015-12-09T13:08:47+00:00 September 2nd, 2015|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , , , , , , , |10 Comments
  • Shurree

    Do you still have your research or resources from where you found the information on this particular tale? I am sure the original is available online, but I didn’t know if you used multiple sources.

    Love the Podcast!

    Thanks!

  • Aly

    I wrote my senior thesis in college on this fairy tale. I worked up an analysis on it, then wrote/directed an original play based on the story. (I tried to fill some of the plot holes and I changed the ending to one that was bittersweet, but not quite as poetically tragic). I learned quite a bit about Andersen’s life that year. He viewed himself as the mermaid in the story, and felt that his life led him to the conclusion that there is no joy to be found on this earth, but in a land beyond. He wrote this story to symbolize the agony we go through on a daily basis to reach a goal we think we want. I really did enjoy your take on the story, and I agree with many aspects of your assessment…I just have a special place in my heart for this fairy tale, and believe it has merit for our 2016 society. Love your podcast! Just wanted to chime in!

    • Jason

      That’s really interesting. I knew he was tortured when it came to interpersonal relationships – especially romantic ones – and that makes a lot of sense. I really dug into his life for the Snow Queen episode and learned perhaps more than I cared to…

      I was too hard on this tale. If I did it now, I would give it a different treatment.

  • Doffo

    Hey, there! A little late here, but I just discovered your podcast and it’s helping work go by quick! Your hate for this story is hilarious. Also, I really appreciated how you pronounced “under da sea” twice. Thanks!
    I’ve always been a fan of how dark/twisted/ridiculous fairy tales were and find it quite fascinating. Anyhoo, I had looked this story up before and ran into info on Hans Christian Andersen. Apparently, he lived an asexual life but had quite a few unrequited loves, many of them men. Knowing that, it’s pretty easy to see how much of the story of The Little Mermaid could be interpreted as an allegory for having feelings for someone who does not or cannot reciprocate them. Which, at least to me, explains the seemingly unnecessary pain the little mermaid had to endure for acting on her feelings. Just thought I’d chime in on the year-old podcast with this bit of information in case nobody else had 🙂 Thanks again for the fun podcast!

    • Jason

      haha I sneak “under da sea” in at other points in the podcast, so keep a lookout 🙂

      I was too hard on that story…I was still new at this, and it’s actually kind of beautiful if you don’t take too critical a look at it. Perspectives like yours and others really helped me understand it a lot better.

  • Nissen

    I normally like your podcast, but if you are going to spend an entire episode commenting on how much you dislike a story while telling it, maybe you could skip that story?
    Also when reading a story that has only one source, which is fairly recent and easy to get a hold of, maybe you could stick more to the original story…
    Other than that, thanks for a great podcast, especially the norse stories.

    • Jason

      That’s fair. I did it because I got numerous listener requests for it, and I’ve since eaten my words that it was the worst story ever. I’ve heard some really good interpretations of it from listeners since, and it’s not that bad.

      The way I presented it was just as my reaction as a reader on how violent/inconsistent/weird the original was, despite it being held up as a great story by modern audiences. I stand by the fact that the original is not a well-written story, but I definitely didn’t hate it. Given that the original is not that well-known, I thought it would be constructive to tell. I think I was at least able to communicate the story to someone who didn’t already know it, even if I did just riff on it the whole time.

      I’m glad you usually like the podcast though! I love the Norse legends. I’ve studied them academically, and have done a lot of personal reading on the history behind them.

    • threenorns

      i’m sorry, but i disagree. this podcast crystallized exactly why i’ve always loathed that story – even as a little girl, i knew something was seriously wrong and i would get livid when the teacher tried to read it on the Reading Rug.

      i don’t think Jason or any storyteller has to sit there smiling and nodding and agreeing with every story – that’s what facebook is for.

  • barbucha

    Hello! First of all, I have to say I really like your podcast, thanks for making it! On the topic of little mermaid though, I think it’s interesting how much you don’t like it, considering how absurd some of the other tales are:D Personally, I know the original mostly from this czech adaptation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VCE2PRS-C8 , which is tragic, but utterly beautiful (and doesn’t include the daughters of the air, which seem unnecessary anyway…)

    • Jason

      Haha, yes, I think I was a bit too hard on the little mermaid. Ignoring the daughters of the air ending and looking at just the characters, you’re right, it is actually a good story. The character of the little mermaid is tragic, conflicted, and interesting and I wish I would have given that a bit more focus in the podcast.