In the actual fairy tale, the little mermaid is first allowed to visit the surface when she turns 15 – and there’s some very particular decor she has to wear when she does:

How’s she gonna catch a prince in that getup?

Oh, and about that ending. Basically what happens in the book is the prince marries someone else and the little mermaid turns into foam and then some kind of air-being:

Possibly the worst consolation prize in history.

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