She was very near turning back, but then she thought of the Prince and of the human soul, and her cou
rage came back. She bound her long flowing hair close to her head, so that the polypi might not seize it; then she crossed both hands over her breast, and darted through the water as only fishes can, right between the hideous polypi, wh
ich stretched out their long supple arms and fingers after her. She saw that nearly every one of them still held something which it had gripped with hundreds of little fingers as strong as iron bands. Men who had peris
hed in the sea and sunk far down peeped forth from the arms of the polypi in the shape of white skeletons. Ships' rudders and coffers too they held fast; there were also the skeletons of land animals and even a little mermaid whom they
had caught and crushed to death, and that was to her the most terrible sight of all.
And now she came to a large slimy open swamp in the wood, where large fat water-snakes were wallowing and showing their ugly whitis
h-yellow bellies. In the midst of this space a house had been built from the bones of shipwrecked men; and here sat the sea-witch, letting a toad eat from her mouth just as men allow canary-birds to pick sugar. She cal
led the hideous fat water-snakes her chicks and let them creep all over her large spongy bosom.
"I know what you want!" said the sea-witch; "you're a fool for your pains! Nevertheless you shall have
your own way, for you will get into trouble, my pretty Princess.
使她几乎想转身回去。但是当她一想起那位王子和人的灵魂时，勇气又油然生起。 她把飘动的长发牢牢地绾在头上，好让珊瑚虫抓不到她；把双手紧紧地贴在胸前，像海里跳跃着的鱼儿似的，在这丑恶的珊瑚虫中间，往前跳着走，而这些珊瑚虫只能在她后面挥动着它们柔软的长臂和手指。 她看到它们每一个都抓住了一件什么东西，无数的小手臂盘住它，像坚固的铁环一样。 那些在海里淹死和沉到海底的人们，在这些珊瑚虫的手臂里，显露出白色的骸骨。 它们紧紧地扣着船舵和箱子，抱着陆上动物的骸骨，还抱着一个被它们缠住和勒死了的小人鱼，这对她而言，是多么可怕的事情！
现在她来到树林中一块宽广的沼泽地，这儿有又大又肥的水蛇在翻动着，露出淡黄色的、丑陋的肚皮。 在这块地的中央有一幢用死人的白骨堆砌的房子，海巫婆正坐在这儿，用她的嘴喂一只癞虾蟆，正如人用糖喂一只小金丝雀一般。 她把那些丑陋的、肥胖的水蛇叫作她的小鸡，让它们匍匐在她松软的胸上。