The little mermaid smiled at the sea witch. “I heard that you can grant wishes,” she said.
“Perhaps,” the sea witch replied.
“There was a storm,” the mermaid said. “Some human men fell out of their boat.”
“I heard of this,” the sea witch said. “I have eyes and ears all over the ocean.”
The mermaid made a face. “How does that work?” she asked.
“I have spies, foolish girl,” the sea witch said. “What did you think?”
“Well you have to admit that it’s a strange image. Eyes and ears all over. It would draw the sharks and nothing good comes of that,” the mermaid said.
The witch held up a hand. “Enough, enough.” She rubbed her temples. “Was there a point to your story? I suppose it was you that saved the prince?”
“Of course not,” the mermaid said. “His bodyguards jumped in after him. I think he was back in the boat before he could say ‘oops’. No, I saved the royal astronomer.”
“And I suppose that you fell in love and want to join him on land? It’s always the same thing,” the witch said.
“No, humans have too many limbs,” the little mermaid said. “They kind of give me the creeps.”
“Then why are you here?” The sea witch asked. “What do you want?”
“I want to go to space,” the mermaid said. “The astronomer wouldn’t stop talking about it, even in his sleep. It sounds amazing.”
The sea witch looked at the mermaid for a moment. She shook her head. “That doesn’t make sense. There is nothing to breathe in space. There is nothing to eat. There is nothing. Why would you want to go to space?”
The mermaid folded her arms and frowned. “Do you question everybody’s wishes like this? It’s poor customer service.”
“You’re welcome to try to find someone else to grant your crazy wish,” the witch said. “You know the way out.”
“Fine,” the mermaid said. “What was the question?”
“Why do you want to go to space? It’s empty.”
“It’s not completely empty. There’re all sorts of things to see. There are strange new worlds and people that no mermaid has ever seen. I want to spend the rest of my life exploring them,” the mermaid said.
“I’m not sure I can do that. If I changed you so that you could survive in space, you’d be something completely different. You’d look even stranger than the humans, and you think they’re creepy,” the sea witch said.
“That was when you said I should marry one,” the mermaid said. “This is different. I could handle looking a bit strange if I had to. It’s not like there are mirrors all over in space.”
“You would never change back, and you’d live a very long time,” the sea witch said.
“Even better,” the little mermaid said.
“So, there is the matter of payment,” the witch said. She smiled.
“What are you asking?”
The sea witch smiled wider. “What are you offering?”
Moments later, a new comet raced through space, ready to explore the galaxy. The sea witch looked down at the bag of gold coins the mermaid had offered her. She chortled as she reached in to pick one up. “How did she manage to find chocolate coins?” she asked. “It’s been ages since I last had one. I hope that she’s happy with her weird wish, wherever she is.”