Everything will I venture to win him and an immortal soul! While my sisters are dan
cing within my father's palace, I will go to the sea-witch; I have always hitherto been afraid of her, but, perchance, she may help and advise me."
So the little mermaid went right out of her own part of the sea towa
rds a raging whirlpool behind which the sea-witch dwelt. She had never gone that way before. No flowers nor sea-grasses grew there; only the bare gray sandy bottom stretched out towards the whirlpool where the water, l
ike a rushing mill-stream, eddied round and round, dragging everything it caught hold of into the deep. She had to go right through these buffeting whirlpools to reach the sea-witch's domain, and here, for a long stretch, there was no o
ther way than across hot bubbling mire which the witch called her turf-common. Behind this stood her house in the midst of a most strange wood. All the trees and bushes were polypi-half animal, half vegetable-they lo
oked like hundred-headed serpents growing out of the ground; all their branches were long slimy arms, with fingers like supple snakes, and they were twisting and twirling from the roots through every joint to the outermost tips of their branches, Everyth
ing in the sea which they could catch hold of they wound themselves about and never let go again. The little mermaid was quite terrified and remained standing there, her heart thumping for fear.
于是小美人鱼游出了花园，朝一个掀起泡沫的漩涡游去，巫婆就住在它的后面。 她以前从来没有游过这条路。 这里没有花；也没有海草；有的只是一片赤裸裸的灰色沙底，像漩涡那样伸展。海水在这儿像一架喧闹的水车似的回旋着，把它所碰到的东西都转到水底去。 若要抵达巫婆的住处，她必须游过这急促的漩涡；有好长的一段行程，需要通过一条冒着热气泡的泥地，巫婆把这地方叫作泥煤田。 在这后面有一座令人毛骨悚然的森林，她的屋子就在里面。 所有的灌木林全是珊瑚虫──一种半植物和半动物的东西──它们看起来很像地底下冒出的多头蛇。它们的枝丫全像是长长的、粘糊糊的手臂，它们的手指全像蛇一般柔软。它们从根到顶都是一节一节地在蠕动而紧紧地缠住它们在海里所能抓到的东西，丝毫也不放松。 小美人鱼在森林前面停下脚步，她忐忑不安的心直让她害怕得蹦蹦乱跳。