I’ve begun my next project, due in a few weeks. The first one I’m working on is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. This story is The Sad Siren or The Little Siren… not quite sure the title yet.
Assignment: Compose a horror variation on a well-known fairy tale.
Idea: The Little Mermaid and The Beauty and the Beast. This article focuses on The Little Mermaid.
Step #1: Something unusual/unique.
Here are the opening words of my version of The Little Mermaid:
When the earth was new and the sea was young, Man took life from the sea so that they may eat and live. But all things come with a price. With the first blood spilled by the hands of Men, the Sea called out and said, “My fish and my food you may have, but at a price you must pay with your life.”
With these words, the Sea created maidens with voices so clear, so pure as to lure Man to his grave. Sea then charged these maidens with the task of protecting the lives men hunted in the waters of Sea. With the crystal voices and unsurpassed beauty of his maidens, Sea worked with storms to lure Men to their death with song.
And thus began the age when Man ventured into the sea to eat, and the Sea tried its best to kill Man.
Step #2: Names, place, time
I love words, linguistics, and etymology…so I go to the root of Sea, Mer, Mar for the name. Mara comes to mind and I Google it.
Mara (Sanskrit: मार, Māra; Chinese: 天魔; pinyin: Tiānmó; Tibetan Wylie: bdud; Khmer: មារ; Burmese: မာရ်နတ်; Thai: มาร; Sinhalese: මාරයා), in Buddhism, is the demon that tempted Gautama Buddha by trying to seduce him with the vision of beautiful women who, in various legends, are often said to be Mara’s daughters. In Buddhist cosmology, Mara is associated with death, rebirth and desire.Nyanaponika Thera has described Mara as “the personification of the forces antagonistic to enlightenment.”
The word “Māra” comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *mer meaning to die. The Sanskrit form of the verbal root is √mṛ. It takes a present indicative form mṛyate and a causative form mārayati (with strengthening of the root vowel from ṛ to ār). Māra is a verbal noun from the causative root and means ‘causing death’ or ‘killing’. It is related to other words for death from the same root, such as: maraṇa and mṛtyu. The latter is a name for death personified and is sometimes identified with Yama.
I could not ask for a more suitable name. I initially thought of it because of “Mer” and the Norse/Irish roots of “Mara” meaning Death and Dream, which gave root to “Nightmare” Death Dream.
My mermaid is “Mara,” which is the name shared by all by mermaids.
I chose James because it strikes me as the classic name of the 1700’s. I see this as mid-1700’s. The age of galleons and ships. I’m also pulling a lot from The Phantom Ship, which does a lot to inspire me at the moment.
So, we have James and Mara on board a vessel in the mid-1700’s… Like stick with the original story… in ode to its author. Danish It’s a Danish ship. Denmark. James Anderson is our sailor. Named after Hans Christian Anderson.
Now, character profiles!