It was only ten days until Christmas. Alice, a five-year-old Czech girl, was doing some Christmas shopping with her mother, when all at once, a snowflake landed right on the tip of her nose. It made her giggle. Alice was wearing a small rucksack with a picture of a mermaid on it, and the same picture was also on her gloves. The Little Mermaid was her favourite character.
The whole town centre smelled of cinnamon — it was wonderful. People were hurrying to and fro carrying boxes, bags, Christmas trees, and fish for the traditional Czech Christmas dinner. Everyone was busy getting ready for Christmas.
Alice went with her mum to choose the fish for their dinner — Czechs have fish at Christmas. At their favourite market stall, the fishmonger showed them two big tubs full of live fish – one contained saltwater, and one contained freshwater. Alice and her mum looked into the saltwater tub and chose a lovely big carp. Carp are interesting, they look like giant goldfish. Just as the fishmonger was catching it for them in his net, Alice thought she spotted a glittery tail. The kind of tail that definitely didn’t belong to a fish! There it was again! A glittery tail flicked the surface of the water, but then the creature disappeared in a flash.
Alice leaned over the edge of the tub to get a better view: “It can’t be!” she thought, “It looks like a tiny mermaid.”
And it really was. Among all the fish in the tub, a tiny mermaid was swimming around. She had long, green hair and was looking at Alice with a sad expression on her face, as if to say “please rescue me!”
There and then, Alice made up her mind that she would…