Excerpt from L. Frank Baum’s "The Sea Fairies"
1 Trot stared. Rising from the blue water was a fair face around which floated a mass of long, blonde hair. It was a sweet, girlish face with eyes of the same deep blue as the water and red lips whose dainty smile disposed two rows of pearly teeth.
2 Just at Trot’s side appeared a new face even fairer than the other, with a wealth of brown hair wreathing the lovely features. And the eyes smiled kindly into those of the child. "Are you a—a mermaid?" asked Trot curiously.
3 She was not a bit afraid. They seemed both gentle and friendly.
4 "Yes, dear," was the soft answer. "We are all mermaids!" chimed a laughing chorus, and here and there, all about the boat, appeared pretty faces lying just upon the surface of the water.
5 "Are you part fishes?" asked Trot, greatly pleased by this wonderful sight.
6 "No, we are mermaid," replied the one with the brown hair. "The fishes are partly like us, because they live in the sea. And you are partly like us, but have stiff legs so you may walk on the land. But mermaids lived before fishes and before mankind, so both have borrowed something from us."
7 "Then you must be fairies if you’ve lived always," remarked Trot, nodding wisely.
8 "We are, dear. We are the water fairies," answered the one with the blonde hair, coming nearer and rising till her slender white throat showed plainly.
9 "Guess why we have appeared to you," said another mermaid, coming to the side of the boat.
10 "Why?" asked the child.
11 "We heard you say you would like to see a mermaid, so we decided to grant your wish."
12 "That was real nice of you," said Trot gratefully.
13 The brown-haired mermaid came to the side of the boat and asked, "Would you like to visit our kingdom and see all the wonders that exist below the sea?"
14 "I’d like to," replied Trot promptly, "but I couldn’t. I’d get drowned."
15 "Oh no," said the mermaid. "We would make you like one of ourselves, and then you could live within the water as easily as we do." 16 "I don’t know as I’d like that," said the child, "at least for always."
17 "Whenever you are ready to return home, we promise to bring you to this place again and restore to you the same form you are now wearing," returned the mermaid.
18 "All right, I’m ready, Miss Mermaid," said Trot. "What shall I do? Jump in, clothes and all?"
19 "Give me your hand, dear," answered the mermaid, lifting a lovely white arm from the water. Trot took the slender hand and found it warm and soft.