Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Little Bronze Mermaid

The Little Mermaid, Solvang, California

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Little Mermaid is one of those beloved fairy tales that never stops getting told and retold.  Disney, of course, has cemented her fame for another several generations.  We watched this delightful movie with our little boys, dare I say, at least a hundred times?  Maybe more.

Years ago, my travel buddy and I saw the original (well, okay, yet another copy) in the Copenhagen Harbor while taking a cruise.  She was given to the Danish capital city by Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg Brewery fame in 1913, and she was sculpted by Edvard Eriksen.  The original statue is hidden away by Eriksen's heirs for safe keeping--a wise move since the replica has been damaged by thugs at least eight times over the years.  Even so, she remains one of Copenhagen's beloved icons and no tourist leaves this beautiful city without visiting her.  She sits for eternity on a big rock hoping to catch a glimpse of her human prince.


The heirs still hold copyright to the statue, but they have allowed three copies to be made and one of them is located in Solvang, a little town in the Santa Ynez Valley, north of Santa Barbara.  The other two are in Kimballton, Iowa and Piatra Neamt, Romania.

  Solvang is known locally as "Little Denmark".  It was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish teachers who brought their culture with them.  It's a fun place to visit.  From the pastries to the architecture,  it has a real Danish vibe about it.  For lunch, I always order the Danish open-faced sandwiches and an ice cold Carlsberg.   I never forget to raise my beer mug towards the heavens and thank Mr. Jacobsen,  Mr. Anderson and Mr. Eriksen for bringing the enchanting story of  a little mermaid and her two-legged prince into my life.


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