In the following year one of the sisters would be fifteen years old, but how about the others? Each was a year younger than the one before, so the youngest would have to wait five whole years before it would be her turn to come up from the bottom of the sea and see what our world is like. But each promised to tell t
he others what she had seen and what she had thought the most remarkable on the first day; for their grandmother did not tell them half enough, and there were many things they wanted to know about.
But none of them was
so full of longing as the youngest, just the one who had the longest to wait and was so silent and thoughtful. Many a time she stood at the open window and looked up through the dark blue water where the fishes dashed about with their f
ins and tails. She could see the moon and stars; of course, they shone quite faintly, but at the same time they looked twice as large through the water as they look to us. When something like a dark cloud glided across,
she knew that it was either a whale swimming overhead, or else a ship with many people on board, who certainly never dreamt that a pretty little mermaid stood below and stretched her white arms up towards the keel of their vessel.
And now the eldestprincess was fifteen years old and might rise to the surface of the sea. When she came back she had hundreds of things to tell about, but the nicest of all, she said, was to lie in the moonshine on a sandb
ank in the calm sea, and to see close by the shore the large town where the lights were twinkling, like hundreds of stars, to hear the music and the noise and bustle of carts and men, to look at the many church towers and spires, and to hear the bells ri
随着年岁到来，这些姊妹中有一位已届十五岁；可是其余的呢？ 她们一个比一个小一岁。因此最小的公主得再等五年才能够从海底浮上来，看看我们所处的世界。 不过每一位都答应轮到自己的时候，会把她第一天看到和发现的东西说给大家听。因为她们的祖母所叙述的确实太少了，而她们所想知道的东西真是太多了。
她们之中没有一位像最小的妹妹那般的朝思暮想，但她却偏偏要等待最久，虽然她是如此地沉默和富于想象力。 不知有多少夜晚，她站在开着的窗子旁边，透过深蓝色的水向上眺望，眺望着鱼儿摆动着尾巴和鳍翅。 她还看到了月亮和星星，当然，它们散发出的光芒比较微弱，但是透过一层海水，它们看起来比我们肉眼所看到的要大得许多。 假如有一块类似云的东西在它们下面浮游而过，她便知道这如果不是一条鲸鱼在她上面游过，便是一条载着许多旅客的船在航行。可是这些旅客却想象不到，在他们的底下有一位美丽的小美人鱼，正向着他们的船脊伸出一双洁白的手。