Today I laboriously read through a Serbian retelling of “The Little Mermaid”… Mala Sirena. In that version, the imposter who the prince almost marries has no explicit relation to the sea witch. And the prince and the mermaid walked on the beach on the morning of the wedding day, got mauled by a giant wave, and long story short… the mermaid saves him, he realizes SHE was the one who actually saved him from the storm, professes undying love, and he marries her instead of the other unnamed woman. So I started to wonder about the other woman. Then I wrote this.
I was sane once. And I’d still be sane, if it weren’t for her. You see, I was this close to marrying the handsomest prince around. Sure, when we first met, he got all excited and was sure I’d somehow saved him from drowning in a storm-tossed sea and declared that we should get married ASAP. He was the crazy one back then.
But who was I to complain? Sure, if anyone had saved his life that stormy night, it sure wasn’t me. I never said I did, but it’s not like I’d dissuade the guy from randomly deciding to make all my mortal hopes and dreams come true. He might’ve been a little half-baked, but he was a nice, good-looking guy. Not to mention rich and powerful! So of course I went along with the whole thing, laid on the googly eyes and everything even though I hardly knew the guy… and before I knew it, I had grown to genuinely like him. What wasn’t to like?
Soon I was all decked out in a wedding gown FAR fancier than I’d ever dreamed of wearing, and in a matter of hours, we’d exchange the vows. Life complete, right?
Except then, just hours before the nuptials, my prince goes walking along the beach with some other girl. They’d found this one naked on the shore one day shortly after the prince’s storm incident, and nursed her back to health. She never spoke, but she was always following my prince everywhere.
I’d assumed it was a completely platonic relationship, of course, because I was a trusting fiancée, but I was a fool. I mean, what man takes a morning stroll on the beach with another woman ON HIS WEDDING DAY?! My prince, apparently. Completely, incontrovertibly inappropriate.
Anyway. They’re on the beach, and for some reason the ocean decides it’d be funny to surprise them with a gigantic wave which pulls them out to sea. (Personally, I’ve never seen such a big wave, so I’m not even sure she didn’t hocus-pocus him, but hey, that’s the story everyone believes.)
And so he’s drowning in the ocean again (he claims he can swim, ha!) and she somehow saves him while wearing a big poofy dress, so of course my crazy prince gets the idea that it wasn’t me who prevented his death in the depths of the ocean, but this girl. Yeah, you read that right, the girl they found half-dead on the beach is his miraculous savior. My prince starts babbling about he knew it was her who saved him all along and how much he loves her, and only her…
Of course, recognizing her opportunity to get rich and famous, she suddenly starts talking again. Who knew she was faking muteness the whole time? And she tells him this obviously untrue story about how she used to be a mermaid—of all things!—and she, not I, saved him from that terrible storm. And because she’d fallen in love with his unconscious and waterlogged highness, she went and bothered a sea witch to make her human so she could woo him. The sea witch took her voice as payment, though, and she’d been unable to profess her love. And she whined that because he had almost married me instead, she had been sure she’d die of a broken heart and turn into sea foam. Yeah. Riiiight.
But he totally bought it! Hook and line. And because he bought it, so did the rest of the kingdom. Including the wedding guests.
And, rude, he didn’t even cancel the wedding. He got married that day, even though he was completely soaked through. But he didn’t marry me. He married her. Dumb, insignificant her. She’s so insignificant, I don’t even remember her name.
I happen to know, however, that they’re not going to get their happily ever after.
You see, they almost didn’t let me keep the wedding gown, but she is like six sizes smaller than me. So I still have that gown.
Oh, yes, and I’m still wearing it. And I won’t take it off. No way.
Not until I get rid of her.
And get my prince back.
And then we’ll live happily ever after.