@ aplenty- In the original Hans Christian Andersen little mermaid fairy tale, the mermaid is longing for a human soul and the love of a prince. The original ending is also a tragic ending, and not the happily ever after ending that most think.
The story was originally written as a tragic Ballet; published in Copenhagen in 1837. The story actually ends with the mermaid dying in the sea, dissolving without a soul. Andersen re-wrote the story shortly thereafter to include the ending that was portrayed in the Disney classic. While Andersen claimed the happy ending was the ending he originally intended to write, the story was actually first written and published with the more tragic ending where the mermaid did not get her prince and did not gain a soul that would live on forever.