The sea looked quite green, and large icebergs were floating about, each one of which looked like a pearl, she thought, but was much bigger than the church towers built by men. They took the most wonderful shapes, and sparkled like diamonds.
Gayatri had seated herself on one of the largest rock, and all the passing ships sheared off in alarm when they saw her sitting there with her long hair streaming loose in the wind.
Gayatri, a nineteen-year-old mermaid princess, was dissatisfied with life under the sea and she was curious about the human world. She was restricted to go up to the surface of the water until she was nineteen.
At last her nineteenth birthday came. ‘Now we shall have you off our hands,’ said her grandmother, the old queen-dowager. ‘Come now, let me adorn you like your other sisters!’ and she put a wreath of white lilies round her hair, but every petal of the flowers was half a pearl, Her red flowers in her garden suited her much better, but she did not dare to make any alteration.
‘Goodbye,’ she said, and mounted as lightly and airily as a bubble through the water.
The sun had just set when her head rose above the water, but the clouds were still lighted up with a rosy and golden splendor, and the evening star sparkled in the soft pink sky, the air was mild and fresh, and the sea as calm as a millpond.
A big three-master ship lay close by with only a single sail set, for there was not a breath of wind, and the sailors were sitting about the rigging, on the crosstrees, and at the mast-heads. There was music and singing on board, and as the evening closed in hundreds of gaily colored lanterns were lighted—they looked like the flags of all nations waving in the air.
Gayatri swam right up to the cabin windows, and every time she was lifted by the swell she could see through the transparent panes crowds of gaily dressed people.
The handsomest of them all was the young prince with large dark eyes; he could not be much more than twenty, and all these festivities were in honor of his birthday. The sailors danced on deck, and when the prince appeared among them hundreds of rockets were let off making it as light as day, and frightening Gayatri so much that she had to dive under the water. She soon ventured up again, and it was just as if all the stars of heaven were falling in showers round about her. She had never seen such magic fires. Great suns whirled round, gorgeous firefish hung in the blue air, and all was reflected in the calm and glassy sea. It was so light on board the ship that every little rope could be seen, and the people still better.
Oh, how handsome the prince was! How he laughed and smiled as he greeted his guests, while the music rang out in the quiet night.
It got quite late, but Gayatri could not take her eyes off the ship and the beautiful prince. She remembered, he must be the Prince, named Rana Indravardhan, her sisters had once told her about him.
The colored lanterns were put out, no more rockets were sent up, and the cannon had ceased its thunder, but deep down in the sea there was a dull murmuring and moaning sound. Meanwhile she was rocked up and down on the waves, so that she could look into the cabin; but the ship got more and more way on, sail after sail was filled by the wind, the waves grew stronger, great clouds gathered, and it lightened in the distance.
Oh, there was going to be a fearful storm! And soon the sailors had to shorten sail. The great ship rocked and rolled as she dashed over the angry sea, the black waves rose like mountains, high enough to overwhelm her, but she dived like a swan through them and rose again and again on their towering crests. Gayatri thought it a most amusing race, but not so the sailors. The ship creaked and groaned; the mighty timbers bulged and bent under the heavy blows; the water broke over the decks, snapping the main mast like a reed; she heeled over on her side, and the water rushed into the hold.
Now Gayatri saw that they were in danger, and she had for her own sake to beware of the floating beams and wreckage. One moment it was so pitch dark that she could not see at all, but when the lightning flashed it became so light that she could see all on board. Every man was looking out for his own safety as best he could; but she more particularly followed Ranaji with her eyes, and when the ship went down she saw him sink in the deep sea.
At first she was quite delighted, for now he was coming to be with her, but then she remembered that human beings could not live under water, and that only if he were dead could he go to her father’s palace. No! He must not die; so she swam towards him all among the drifting beams and planks, quite forgetting that they might crush her.
She dived deep down under the water, and came up again through the waves, and at last reached the young prince just as he was becoming unable to swim any further in the stormy sea. His limbs were numbed, his beautiful eyes were closing, and he must have died if Gayatri had not come to the rescue.
She held his head above the water and let the waves drive them whithersoever they would. By daybreak all the storm was over, of the ship not a trace was to be seen; the sun rose from the water in radiant brilliance, and his rosy beams seemed to cast a glow of life into the prince’s cheeks, but his eyes remained closed.
Gayatri kissed his fair and lofty brow, and stroked back the dripping hair; it seemed to her that he was like the marble statue in her little garden; she kissed him again and longed that he might live.
At last she saw dry land before her, high Blue Mountains on whose summits the white snow glistened as if a flock of swans had settled there; down by the shore were beautiful green woods, and in the foreground a church or temple, she did not quite know which, but it was a building of some sort. Lemon and orange trees grew in the garden, and lofty palms stood by the gate. At this point the sea formed a little bay where the water was quite calm, but very deep, right up to the cliffs; at their foot was a strip of fine white sand to which she swam with the beautiful prince, and laid him down on it, taking great care that his head should rest high up in the warm sunshine.
Although it seems that his heart isn’t beating, Gayatri notices that he is breathing.
“Wake up… come on, wake up” Gayatri patted his cheek. He half opened his eyes and her beautiful face appeared in his blurry sight, faint smile covered his face, thank you. But please don’t go, stay here with me.
I can’t go… she smiled back at him but then he fainted.
The bells now began to ring in the great white building, and a number of young maidens came into the garden. Then Gayatri swam further off behind some high rocks and covered her hair and breast with foam, so that no one should see her little face, and then she watched to see who would discover the poor prince.
This story has been suggested by jasmine di from long while now, it got late for me to start updating :)
do like and comment, give your reviews about how do you like this first chappy, if you appreciate it, then please, click the Applause button, you don’t need to log in for this. : )