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10 Real Life Fairy-Tale Places Where You Can Live Happily Ever After

Fodor's Logo By Jeremy Tarr of Fodor's | Slide 1 of 9: The ghastly tale of The Little Mermaid—the story of a poor young mermaid who endures hideous pains (every footstep she takes as a bipedal woman feels like she’s being sliced by knives) to gain the love of a prince who will not love her, and who ends up sacrificing herself to rot in purgatory in order to allow the prince who jilted her to live—was the invention of the notoriously repressed Dane, Hans Christian Andersen.The writer was born in Odense, Denmark, where there exists a museum in his honor. Should you wish to wait until 2020, there will be a new and better museum ($33 million better). Copenhagen also has its own museum dedicated to Andersen, complete with horrifying waxworks depicting the author’s life. And, of course, there’s the statue of the iconic Little Mermaid herself sitting atop a rock on the Langelinie pier in Copenhagen.But, should you swim away from that pier and into the Sound and swim all the way to the point at which the Norwegian, Greenland, and Barents Seas meet, you may actually find yourself a real mermaid. It was here, at 75° 7′ N, that the explorer Henry Hudson, while searching for the Northwest Passage, spotted a mermaid in 1608.“She was close to the ship’s side looking earnestly upon the men,” Hudon wrote in his journal. “A little after, a sea came up and overturned her. From the navel upward, her back and breasts were like a woman’s … her body as big as one of us; her skin very white; and long hair hanging down her behind, of color black; in her going down they saw her tail, which was like that of a porpoise, and speckled like a mackerel.”

Where a Little Mermaid Swam

The ghastly tale of The Little Mermaid—the story of a poor young mermaid who endures hideous pains (every footstep she takes as a bipedal woman feels like she’s being sliced by knives) to gain the love of a prince who will not love her, and who ends up sacrificing herself to rot in purgatory in order to allow the prince who jilted her to live—was the invention of the notoriously repressed Dane, Hans Christian Andersen.The writer was born in Odense, Denmark, where there exists a museum in his honor. Should you wish to wait until 2020, there will be a new and better museum ($33 million better). Copenhagen also has its own museum dedicated to Andersen, complete with horrifying waxworks depicting the author’s life. And, of course, there’s the statue of the iconic Little Mermaid herself sitting atop a rock on the Langelinie pier in Copenhagen.But, should you swim away from that pier and into the Sound and swim all the way to the point at which the Norwegian, Greenland, and Barents Seas meet, you may actually find yourself a real mermaid. It was here, at 75° 7′ N, that the explorer Henry Hudson, while searching for the Northwest Passage, spotted a mermaid in 1608.“She was close to the ship’s side looking earnestly upon the men,” Hudon wrote in his journal. “A little after, a sea came up and overturned her. From the navel upward, her back and breasts were like a woman’s … her body as big as one of us; her skin very white; and long hair hanging down her behind, of color black; in her going down they saw her tail, which was like that of a porpoise, and speckled like a mackerel.”
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