Upon my word we have a nice long time of it, we'll have a Court ball this very evening!"
It was indeed a gorgeous sight, such as one never sees on earth. The walls and ceiling of the vast dancing-hall were of glass, thick but clear. Many hundreds of huge shells, rosy-red and grass
y-green, were hung in rows on each side, full of blue blazing flames which lit up the whole room and shone right through the walls, so that the sea around was bright for quite a long distance. Countless fishes, both small and great, cam
e swimming past the glass walls; the scales of some of them shining purple red, while others sparkled like gold and silver.
Through the great ball-room flowed a broad stream, and on this the mermen and the mermaids d
anced to their own pretty songs. Such lovely voices are unknown on earth. The little mermaid sang the sweetest of them all and they applauded her loudly; for a moment her heart was glad, for she knew that she had the l
oveliest voice of all creatures on the earth or in the sea. But soon her thoughts turned once more to the world above her; she could not forget either the handsome Prince or her sorrow at not possessing, like him, an immortal soul. So she presently stole from her father's palace, with its mirth and melody, and sat sadly in her little garden.
Here she heard a bugle sounding down through the water and she thought, "Now I know he is sa
iling up above there-he whom I love more than my father or mother, to whom the thoughts of my heart cleave and in whose hands I would willingly lay my life's happiness.
那真是一个壮观的场面，人们在地面上是从来不曾看见的。 这个宽广的舞厅里的墙壁和天花板是用厚而透明的玻璃砌成的。 成千上百个草绿色和粉红色的巨型贝壳在四方排排站立，它们里面点燃着蓝色的火焰，将整个舞厅映照通明，亮透了墙壁，因而也照亮了外面的海。 人们可以看到无数的大小鱼群向这座水晶宫里游来，有的鱼鳞上闪着紫色的光，有的闪亮起来像白银和金子。
有一股宽阔的激流穿过舞厅的中央，海里的男人和女人唱着美妙的歌曲，在这激流上跳着舞。 如此优美的歌声，陆地上的人们是唱不出来的。 在他们当中，小美人鱼唱得最甜美，大家都为她鼓掌，她心中有片刻感到好快乐，因为她知道，不管在陆地上或海里只有她的声音最迷人。 不过她马上又想起上面的那个世界。她忘不了那个英俊的王子，也忘不了自己没有不灭的灵魂而勾起忧愁。 因此她悄悄地走出父亲的宫殿，正当里面充满了歌声和快乐的时候，她却悲伤地坐在她的小花园里。