The stories that she would have legs like the other children once she dried out – they were all lies, she realized. By then she had drained her father’s patience, after weeks of begging to go to the surface, and letting the nice fisherman take her to his daughter’s birthday party.
“Load of good he is – he’s already used up his three wishes,” her father grumbled; but in the end he let her go, since she had befriended the fisherman’s daughter throughout the long summer days, playing in the river, from the fisherman’s unenchanted cottage down to the edge of the sea.
So I can’t dance – that’s okay, she told herself over and over; but it didn’t get around the fact that she had to be carried everywhere, and without legs…
She ignored the curious and condescending stares, and smoothed her damp hair over her heaving gills, and sat as primly as she could while the two-legged world dazzled her eyes and broke her heart.