She bent down and kissed his fair brow; then looked up at the sky where the red dawn grew brighter an
d brighter. Then she gazed at the sharp knife, and again turned her eyes on the Prince, who, in his dreams, called his bride by name; she alone was in his thoughts. The knife quivered in the mermaid's hand. Should she strike? Another moment and she cast it far away in the waves. They shone red where it fell, as if drops of blood gurgled up from the water. Once again she gazed with aching eyes at the
Prince, then plunged from the ship into the sea, and felt her body dissolving into foam.
And now the sun rose out of the sea; its rays fell with gentle warmth upon the cold sea-foam, and the little mermaid did not f
eel the pangs of death. She saw the bright sun, and above her hundreds of beautiful transparent shapes were hovering. She could still catch a glimpse of the white sails of the ship and of the red clouds in the sky.
The voice of the shapes was all melody, but so ethereal that no human ear could hear it, just as no human eye could see them; they had no wings, but their very lightness poised them in the air.
The little mermaid saw that she now had a body like theirs, and it rose higher and higher from out the foam.
"To whom have I come?" cried she, and her voice sounded like the voices of the other beings, so
ethereal that no earthly music could possibly equal it.
"To the daughters of the air," answered they; "a mermaid has not an immortal soul, and can never have one unless she wins a man's love; her eternalexistence de
pends upon a Power beyond her.
她弯下腰，在王子清秀的眉毛上轻轻吻了一下，接着她向天空凝视，此时晨曦逐渐地变得更亮了！ 她向尖刀看了一眼，接着又把眼光转向王子，他在睡梦中喃喃地念着新娘的名字。他脑海里只有她的存在。 刀子在小美人鱼的手中发抖。 她应该刺死王子吗？ 就在这时，她却把刀子远远地拋向浪花里。 刀子沉下的地方，浪花就发出一道红光，好象有许多血滴溅出了水面。 她再一次将模糊的视线瞥向王子，然后就从船上跳入海中，她觉得她的身体正融化为泡沫。
现在太阳从海里升起了。阳光柔和地、温暖地照在冰冷的泡沫上，小美人鱼并没有感到灭亡。 她看到光明的太阳，同时在她上面飞舞着许多透明的、美丽的形体。 借着它们，她可以看到船上的白帆和天空的彤云。