by Gunnar Blaschke, Yang Jingzhong
COPENHAGEN, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Little Mermaid enjoyed her 100th birthday celebration party last Friday, sitting on her stone in Copenhagen harbor.
The joy of the grand party swept across the whole city of Copenhagen, and the highlight of the celebration was when 100 live mermaids jumped into the sea water around her as a tribute to the world famous figure.
Originally inspired by the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, she has been attracting people's attention over the past 100 years.
The fairy tale by Andersen is a tale of desires and unhappy love -- but also about the aspiration of us as human beings wanting what we can't have but getting something else we didn't expect.
It was the founder of the Danish brewer Carlsberg, Carl Jacobsen who got the statue of the little Mermaid made for 100 years ago after he saw a ballet version of the fairy tale.
"The Carlsberg brewer Carl Jacobsen saw a ballet version of the Little Mermaid on the theater and almost fell in the with the ballet dancer who performed in the role as the little mermaid," said Christian Holm Donatzky, a storyteller and guide from Copenhagen Historic Tours.
Carl Jacobsen asked the sculptor Edvard Eriksen to make a small statue of the Little Mermaid, and he asked the ballet dancer if she would be the model. She refused to pose in nude, and instead, the artist's wife became the model.
BEST ICON FOR CITY AND NATION
"The Little Mermaid is the icon of Copenhagen. She is our emblem. When we go out in the world we show her and people now instantly that now we are talking about fairy tales and we are talking about Copenhagen," said Lars Bernhard Joergensen, CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen, the city's tourism administration.
"The wonderful thing about the Little Mermaid is that once you see her she brings dreams alive. Dreams about fairy tales, dreams about the good life and aspirations in life and that are many of the things that we consider as being the essence of Copenhagen," said Joergensen.
Tens of thousands of tourists have visited the Little Mermaid and have felt the magic that surrounds her on the big day. Even if she seems to live a quiet life on her stone, once she even traveled around the world.
"The Little Mermaid has been living a dramatic life. Her head has been cut off twice but she is still going strong, and the last testimony of this was when she was in Shanghai at the World Expo in 2010," Joergensen said and praised the way the Little Mermaid was received by her Chinese friends.
ALWAYS COLSE TO THEATER
Like in many others of Andersen's fairy tales, the story becomes a mirror of his own life. Coming to Copenhagen from a poor family at the island Funen in the middle of Denmark as a 14-year-old boy, he had big dreams of becoming an actor. The first thing he did was to go to the Royal Danish Theater to apply for a apprenticeship at the theater.
"After his voice matured, nobody wanted hear him sing anymore and then he began realizing that his talent was in writing as an author," said Donatzky.
Andersen lived many different places in Copenhagen but always close to the theater and he never missed a play unless he was away on one of his many travels around Europe.
He started writing novels in his mid-20s and first in his 30s he discovered his talent for writing fairy tales, a talent that made him world famous.
But just like the Little Mermaid who wanted to be human and marry a prince, Andersen had aspirations of something quite different from what was his actual destiny.
"He loved the theater and one of his biggest personal downfalls was that he was not a very great play writer. He wrote wonderful novels and fairy tales but he was not a very good play writer," Donatzky said.
One could say that the fact that Andersen couldn't fulfill his dream of being a play writer or an actor has given the world one of the greatest gifts through his many wonderful fairy tales and novels, like the tale about the Little Mermaid who didn't get her prince but won the whole world instead.
"The little mermaid has always been a very good story and has always spoken to people -- people have always resonated with this character. At this point, the little mermaid has entered a collective consciousness. She's somebody like Mona Lisa -- we're never going to forget about her," said American journalist and researcher Chantal Tattoli.
"I can't imagine Copenhagen without the Little Mermaid, because the Little Mermaid encapsulates the dreams and the souls of Copenhagen being a city of fairytale and a city where dreams come true if you want them to," Joergensen told Xinhua, while thousands of guests from all over the world, celebrating the Little Mermaid birthday at Langelinie promenade, confirmed his words.