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In the morning the storm had ceased; but of the ship not asingle fragment could be seen. The sun rose up red and glowing fromthe water, and its beams brought back the hue of health to theprince's cheeks; but his eyes remained closed. The mermaid kissedhis high, smooth forehead, and stroked back his wet hair; he seemed toher like the marble statue in her little garden, and she kissed himagain, and wished that he might live. Presently they came in sightof land; she saw lofty blue mountains, on which the white snowrested as if a flock of swans were lying upon them. Near the coastwere beautiful green forests, and close by stood a large building,whether a church or a convent she could not tell. Orange and citrontrees grew in the garden, and before the door stood lofty palms. Thesea here formed a little bay, in which the water was quite still,but very deep; so she swam with the handsome prince to the beach,which was covered with fine, white sand, and there she laid him in thewarm sunshine, taking care to raise his head higher than his body.Then bells sounded in the large white building, and a number ofyoung girls came into the garden. The little mermaid swam outfarther from the shore and placed herself between some high rocks thatrose out of the water; then she covered her head and neck with thefoam of the sea so that her little face might not be seen, and watchedto see what would become of the poor prince. She did not wait longbefore she saw a young girl approach the spot where he lay. She seemedfrightened at first, but only for a moment; then she fetched anumber of people, and the mermaid saw that the prince came to lifeagain, and smiled upon those who stood round him. But to her he sentno smile; he knew not that she had saved him. This made her veryunhappy, and when he was led away into the great building, she diveddown sorrowfully into the water, and returned to her father'scastle. She had always been silent and thoughtful, and now she wasmore so than ever. Her sisters asked her what she had seen duringher first visit to the surface of the water; but she would tell themnothing. Many an evening and morning did she rise to the place whereshe had left the prince. She saw the fruits in the garden ripen tillthey were gathered, the snow on the tops of the mountains melt away;but she never saw the prince, and therefore she returned home,always more sorrowful than before. It was her only comfort to sit inher own little garden, and fling her arm round the beautiful marblestatue which was like the prince; but she gave up tending her flowers,and they grew in wild confusion over the paths, twining their longleaves and stems round the branches of the trees, so that the wholeplace became dark and gloomy. At length she could bear it no longer,and told one of her sisters all about it. Then the others heard thesecret, and very soon it became known to two mermaids whose intimatefriend happened to know who the prince was. She had also seen thefestival on board ship, and she told them where the prince camefrom, and where his palace stood. 59ce067264


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