At the bottom of the ocean lived the sea king, his old mother and his six daughters. They lived in a beautiful castle, surrounded by a big garden, of which each daughter took care of a small corner. The little mermaid, the youngest and most beautiful of the princesses, liked nothing more than stories of men and in her garden she had a marble statue of a handsome youth, which had sunk below down after a shipwreck. On the day of their fifteenth birthday, the young mermaids had the right to swim to the surface to see the world above and the little mermaid listened with pleasure to the stories her sisters told when they came back from these visits. She waited impatiently for her turn to come.
Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875) was a Danish author, poet and artist. Celebrated for children’s literature, his most cherished fairy tales include “The Emperor's New Clothes”, “The Little Mermaid”, “The Nightingale”, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, “The Snow Queen”, “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Match Girl”. His books have been translated into every living language, and today there is no child or adult that has not met Andersen's whimsical characters. His fairy tales have been adapted to stage and screen countless times, most notably by Disney with the animated films “The Little Mermaid” in 1989 and “Frozen”, which is loosely based on “The Snow Queen”, in 2013.
Thanks to Andersen's contribution to children's literature, his birth date, April 2, is celebrated as International Children's Book Day.