The Mermaids of Haldurchia

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Long, long ago, in the far away land of Haldurchia there was a fisherman who was down on his luck. He thought to himself: “Well, at least I don’t have any wife or children who would go hungry because of my inability to catch a single fish.”
As he was rowing the boat farther into the ocean he heard a sound, some kind of melody going like “Wa-aa-yaaa”. He thought that maybe he was imagining things, spending too much time in the solitude of the sea. However he kept hearing, he looked around, there was no one for miles. He tried to ignore it and go back to fishing but the notes of the song went higher and higher, it felt like the presence was coming closer and closer. He looked down into the water and saw the shape of three big fish but with hips like a human and different kinds of hairstyles. As the song kept going he noticed that bubbles started appearing in the water, in exactly that spot where he was seeing the shapes almost as if the song was affecting the behavior of the water itself.
Finally, he decided he should get to the bottom of this so he took a deep breath and plunged his head into the water. His head sunk underwater, water getting into his ears, his eyes feeling the hurt of water entering them, he noticed there were three women who were singing that same song. One had blonde, ponytail hair, the other had red long hair and the last had purple diamond shaped hair. All of them had human hips but tails like fish, blue tails. Not being able to hold his breath any longer the fisherman raised his head up from the water and began breathing heavily.
“How could this be?! It is impossible. I am surely hallucinating.” He said to himself out loud.
He looked at the water again and saw that the three shapes of the women were coming closer and closer, creating a big roundish shape until a big splotch revealed their upper half.
“Wha—What are you?!” asked the fisherman, pulling himself back even more into the boat.
“We are the Cargoya however we have gotten used to being called mermaids by the surface dwellers.” Said one of them, smiling.
“It is impossible, you can’t be real.” Said the fisherman.
“We are as real as they come and we have a proposition for you.”
“Proposition?” asked the fisherman, intrigued.
“We have seen how the sea has treated you. That you have not been able to catch fish and have supper for many days. I assure you, from now on your hunger will be over if you do as we ask.” The mermaid with the red long hair responded.
“What do I have to do?” asked the fisherman, suspicious but highly pleased by the news.
“Three simple tasks will do. You are to bring to us the son of the king of Haldurchia for he is very sick and requires our help.” Said the blond mermaid.
“Then, you have to convince the king to give up half of his fortune to the needy for they are as hungry as you are and the king’s soul is as hungry as their bodies are but his own body will not yield.” The red haired mermaid continued.
“Lastly, you will have to come back to us with the ruby sword from the throne room which you must steal from the king. Should you fail to complete any of these tasks we shall send our wrath upon you and devour your very soul.” Said the last mermaid.
The fisherman was confused by the requests, thinking he was not able to fulfill them but in the end he agreed.
“Here, sound this horn you come back with the prince and we will come meet you right away.” Said the purple haired mermaid, giving the fisherman a purple coral horn with three holes in it and all the mermaids somersaulted into the air and jumped back into the water, disappearing.
The fisherman rowed his boat to the shore of Haldurchia and went directly to the king. He had a rough ride with the guards of the palace, not letting him go inside. He begged and begged and told them his story but they laughed and spit in his face. The King’s young daughter was standing over the balcony of her room and heard what was told about the healing of his brother. She screamed and demanded that the soldiers let the man in at once. As he was let in, the young princess quickly got down the stairs and greeted him, having their hands intertwine.
“Is it really true? Can my poor brother be healed?” she asked, exalted.
“Yes, my liege, that is why I have been told by the Cargoya mermaids.” He answered.
She grabbed his hand and together they ran as fast as they could to the throne room where her father was sitting in his throne made entirely out of gold and decorated with all kinds of precious stones. He lifted his head and looked closely as he saw the throne room door slammed into and opening with impending force and urgency.
“Father, father, I come bearing wonderful news!” said the king’s daughter.
“What kind of news, my dear? Who is this impudent fellow whom you’ve let in your naivity to enter our fine palace?” asked the king, furious.
“I come before you with the task to cure your son. I was told by the Cargoya mermaids to take your son to them and they shall heal him. ” the fisherman replied.
“This is preposterous, there is no such thing as mermaids. It is only a childish fable! ” the king said while is face became red and he started breathing hard and harder, his belly filling with air and exhaling it out.
“It is truth that I speak my liege. Take your son to the middle of the sea and then I will blow this horn and the mermaids come to heal him. This way you shall know that I am not a liar.” The fisher man said, showing the horn to the king.
“Very well! Guard, let the soldiers embark on our finest ship, we shall dock at once!” the king ordered.
“If you value your life, you better not lie to me.” Said the king, pointing furiously at the fisherman and storming out of the room.
His son was brought on the ship along with the fisherman. The king and hhis daughter came last.
“Lead the way fisherman!” ordered the king.
“Just go as far as you can, the direction does not matter.” The fisherman responded.
The king was quite surprised but he indulged the fisherman with his advice. They kept on sailing for about two hours with no clear destination. As they were surrounded only by water with no land in sight, the fisherman blue his horn and at once the three magnificent mermaids appeared. The king’s son was lowered into the water. The mermaids placed their hands on his forehead, chest and feet and began chanting “aaaa-eeee”. After a couple of minutes the dying prince opened his eyes, the paleness on his face disappeared, he regained his color, he was healthy and happy.
The king was so pleased that he invited the fisherman to attend the feast that was to be held. The fisherman did not remember eating so well in his life. It was truly a blessing. The next task was at hand. The fisherman walked over to the king, who was rejoicing in the healing of his beloved son, and told him what he must do. The king angry rejected the offer.
“You healed my son and for that I am very grateful and I will reward you handsomely however I cannot do what you ask me. I care about the people of this kingdom but I cannot just give away half of my fortune, what will everyone else think. I shall be remember as the foolish king who gave away his fortune instead of strengthening his army.” The king said, pacing from one end o the other of the room.
“You shall not, you shall be remembered as a merciful and kind king and even if it is as you say, even if you will be remember as a foolish person, is it not better to help the ones who need you, to show them true love, instead of trying to amass worthless objects that you will not be able to take with you?” the fisherman asked.
The king was overcame by a feeling of extreme sadness, his eyes were as wet as a river. He got on his knees and cried his heart out.
“You are right and you are wise, I shall do as you have advised me.” Said the king.
The next day half of the king’s fortune was dispensed throughout the kingdom to all those in need. Food, money, clothes, nobody was left out, there was not a single beggar or homeless person in the kingdom, everybody rejoice and praised the name of the king. In all the ruckus the fisherman went to the shore and blew his horn. In the split of a second the mermaids appeared.
“The second task was fulfilled, those who hungered do not hunger anymore.”
“Good, now the final task should be carried out, steal the sword and bring it to us!” said the blond mermaid.
“Is there no other way? This man showed kindness towards me and the entire kingdom, he is a good man and does not deserve to have this happen to him.” The fisherman asked.
“Do as we ask or perish under our might!” They all shouted.
The fisherman sighed.
“It shall be done.” He assured the mermaids.
Going back to the palace, he went to the room where the sword was and looked at it, touched it, felt the awesome power coursing through his veins. He started pulling the sword out but stopped. He felt horrible, disgusted by what he was about to do.
“No, I am not a thief, I will not repay the kindness of this wonderful person by stealing from him!” the fisherman said to himself as he took a step back and stormed out of the room.
He went back to the shore. The king was there along with his son and daughter. The fisherman could not bear to see them as he knew what he had to do but could not do it. He blew his horn and the three mermaids appeared.
“Well fisherman, has the task been fulfilled?” the mermaids asked.
“No, I could not do it. I cannot just betray the trust and kindness this man has shown me, it is better to die than be that kind of person” responded the fisherman.
As he was preparing to be killed, he stretched his hands out on the side, ready to be pierced with a rusty harpoon found at the bottom of the sea. The mermaids smiled, the king and his children all smiled as well.
“Lower your hands, fisherman! You have passed the test!” the king said.
“Test, what test?” the fisherman asked, confused.
“The mermaids came to me immediately after speaking to you the first time and explained everything. They wanted to see what kind of man you are and you proved them that you are kind, righteous and faithful. Plus you were even willing to lay down your life than break any of your principles. That shows true character, such character that is worthy of the mermaids reward and mine as well.” The king explained.
“Yours, my lord?” the fisherman asked.
“I shall give you my daughter’s hand in marriage.” The king said.
“And we shall make sure that you have everything you need to live a happy comfortable life for as long as you two live.” The mermaids said.
The fisherman was overwhelmed. The princess jumped in his arms and kissed him, he proved that he was worthy of her love. There was a big wedding that lasted for three whole months followed by the fisherman receiving everything he ever needed from the mermaids. And they lived happily ever after.
The End

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