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History of Little Mermaid

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A Million Little Mermaids
by Virginia Borges

The Mermaid
by Heinz Insu Fenkl

Hans Christian Andersen
Father of the Modern Fairy Tale 
by Terri Windling


While The Little Mermaid contains common fairy tale and folklore elements, especially those about mermaids, this fairy tale is the literary creation of Hans Christian Andersen. The tale has no direct oral predecessor in folklore.

The closest percursor of the tale is Undine, a story by Friedrich de La Motte Fouque. Andersen admits to his familiarity and consideration of Undine while writing his Little Mermaid. In many ways, his tale is a direct reaction to the earlier story.


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Mermaid and Other Water Spirit Tales From Around the World by Heidi Anne Heiner

The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen : A New Translation from the Danish by Jeffrey Frank


©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
Page created 12/2003; Last updated 6/23/07