Carlotta smiled as she entered the living room, carrying everyone a cool glass of tea. Ariel and Melody were sitting at the piano: Ariel was helping the girl with her lessons.

"That's good", encouraged Ariel. "Now try this section here,...Oh! Thank you Carlotta!"

The elderly housekeeper handed the glasses out and nodded. "The child is really starting to sound beautiful!"

Ariel grinned and hugged Melody, "She sure is!"

"Now why haven't YOU tried that thing, Dear?", asked the housekeeper. "As beautifully as you sing!"

The redhead giggled. "Play the piano? I guess I never had the patience for it. Now Daddy LOVED to play,..he even wanted me to play the calliope,....but THAT didn't turn-out too good!"

Melody giggled. "YEAH! That "Cyclops! I bet that was scary!"

Ariel shrugged. "Yeah. It was while it was chasing us,..but he was just grouchy cause he hadn't had his sleep."

"Like Grim is sometimes", offered Melody. Carlotta chuckled.

"Did I hear my name mentioned in a frivolous comment", spoke a voice, and they turned to see Grimbsy and Eric coming through the door. Melody blushed and giggled. Ariel got up and hurried over to Eric, hugging him.

Ariel gave him a grin and a kiss, "Hello Sweetheart! Welcome home! How was the trip?"

Eric smiled as he pulled off his dusty jacket and hung it on the coat-rack. "It was okay, I guess. The other islands finally decided on the fishing boundaries after spending a couple of nights drinking at the tavern. I think they call those meetings just to get away and have some beers!"

Ariel looked up at her husband with teasing concern. "You didn't go WITH them, did you? Leaving me ALONE at night?"

Grim spoke up, "Rest assured, Princess, that Eric stayed with me at the Inn and was thoroughly MISERABLE during the entire time we were away. In fact, it was my misfortune to have to endure his repeated lamentations due to your absence."

Ariel squealed with delight and hugged the Prince so tightly that he groaned happily. "Hmmm. I'll have to DO something about that, won't I?", she cooed.

Eric grinned. "Oh boy!,..."

Melody ran up and grabbed her father's hand. "Come here Daddy, and listen to me play!" Carlotta smiled and lead the child away. "Now Now, Melody! Your father's tired and needs to rest. He'll listen to you in a little while." The housekeeper handed Eric a glass of tea as he headed for the couch. "Thanks, Carlotta."

Grimbsy stretched and hobbled toward the stairs. "That is an excellent sugguestion. I'm going to take a nap."

Ariel sat down next to her husband and curled up close to him. The young man took her hand and smiled. "I hurried home cause I didn't want to miss tonight!"

The girl smiled, gratefully, as Carlotta nodded. "Oh yes! The summer festival! She's been looking forward to singing tonight,... what with her father coming and all!"

Ariel grinned and nodded. "It's going to be SO wonderful with you and my family and Sebastian and Flounder there!"

Carlotta took Eric's hand, "Which REMINDS me!,...YOU need to take a bath, young man!" Eric groaned and smiled as he allowed the eldery housekeeper to pull him up, and he staggered off toward the tub. "And don't use up all the hot water! Grim goes in after you!" Eric smiled and nodded.

After he had left, Carlotta sat down next to the girl, "Well, Dear, have you decided what you're going to sing tonight?"

Ariel sighed. "Not yet. There's so many that Daddy likes,'s hard to choose. And I want it to be really SPECIAL for him tonight: he hasn't heard me sing in so long,..."

Carlotta nodded. "And in that BEAUTIFUL dress that he sent to you! He's going to be SO proud!"

The two women suddenly heard a bump at the window: Ariel just caught a glimpse of something white falling below the sill. Up popped Scuttle, rubbing his head, and the girl rushed over to raise the window.

"Oh Scuttle! I'm SO sorry! Did you hurt yourself?"

The zany seagull climbed over the sill and Sebastian followed after him, rubbing HIS head too.

"Nah! I'm fine Sweetie! I landed on Sebastian so it didn't hurt too much!"

Ariel giggled and picked up the little crab. "Are YOU all right, Sebastian?"

The crab looked darkly up at the seagull. "What did I SAY? Didn't I say dat the window was down?"

Scuttle laughed. "Yeah! Them things are so hard to SEE! They aughta make those glass-flappers so they ain't so SEE-THROUGH!"

Sebastian shook his head as he skittered into the living room. Melody giggled with delight and picked up the crab for a hug. "Uncle Sebastian!"

The crab smiled and hugged back, as the child sat him on the couch. "How's my favorite little girl been doing?"

"Mommie's teaching me how to play the piano!", explained Melody.

"Dat's nice!"

Scuttle was next in the hug department, and Melody took over rubbing his head.

Ariel sat down next to the crab, "Where's Daddy and my sisters and Flounder?"

"Dey ought to be here in a bit: they were waiting on Flounder. Well, Young Lady; have you decided what you're gonna sing tonight?"

Ariel shook her head. "I can't decide. Maybe "Praise to God, Immortal Praise" or "My Utmost to His Highest". They're both pretty and the congregation really likes when I sing them at Church."

Carlotta nodded. "Either one of those songs will do nicely, Dear."

After they had talked a while, the eldery housekeeper stood up. "Well; I'm going up to see if Grim is awake yet."

Ariel stood up too, "And I guess I'd better get dressed! Daddy will be here soon and I want him to see me in the dress he sent me!"

While the guests waited for the Sea King to arrive, Melody showed them what she had learned on the piano. Sebastian nodded approvingly. "Not bad, Child! You got your Grandfather's talent!"

Scuttle nodded. "She sounds like another "Beet-oven!" he declared.

Before long, Eric and Ariel came back downstairs, Melody grinned with delight when she saw her mother in the beautiful gown, "Mommie! You look so PRETTY!"

Ariel smiled. "Thank you, Sweetheart!"

Sebastian smiled and nodded. "You're a knock-out, child!"

The girl giggled, "Why THANK you, Sebastian!" The girl wore a long flowing gown of pink satin, crossed with wide ruffled pearlish-irridescent ribbons and spinkled with pink pearls. Eric wore his light-blue suit.

As the couple entertained their guests, Carlotta took Melody upstairs to get dressed. Grimbsy came down to join the group as they waited for Ariel's family to arrive.

The minutes passed, and they still not had arrived. Ariel began to get nervous. "Do, think everything's all right?"

Sebastian nodded. "No problem, Child. Flounder just had someting to take care of."

The girl bit her lower lip. "I hope they come soon! I want so much for Daddy to hear me sing. I want to show him that all the effort he and Sebastian went through for me was worth it."

Eric smiled reassuredly and squeezed her hand. "The Church choir would be lost without you, Sweetheart!"

"Don't worry, Sweetie!", encouraged Scuttle. "If your Daddy had to fight off the whole kaboodle of Sharkyons to get here, he would!"

Ariel glanced nervousily at the sea-gull. "Is Daddy having TROUBLE with the Sharkadians?"

Sebastian shook his head. "No! No! Child! Nothing's wrong!"

"Even if the Sharkinons and the Octipans TOGETHER tried to make trouble, your Daddy would be here!", blabbered the gull.

Ariel sat up stiff with horror in her eyes. "Oh NO! That's TERRIBLE!"

Sebastian put a claw to his head and then glared at Scuttle. "You see what you've done! Tell the girl dat nothing's going on!"

Scuttle gazed at the crab in confusion. "What did I say? Everything's fine. Why would she think something's wrong?"

Ariel sank down and puffed with relief.

Triton and his daughters finally arrived and Ariel jumped up to hug him in welcome, "DADDY!"

The Sea King smiled lovingly down at his daughter. "My little Ariel! Don't you look lovely!"

"It's a beautiful dress, Daddy! Thank you so much!"

Triton smiled and nodded. Then he looked back at the door. "I'm afraid Flounder might not be able to make it. He was rather busy with his family and so we had to leave without him."

Ariel's smile faded. "Oh! Poor Flounder!"

"He told me to go on and not wait for him: if he could get away in time, he would swim up into the creek running up to your Palace."

Carlotta and Melody came back downstairs; dressed for the summer festival. Ariel looked around, biting her lower lip. "Daddy; why don't you and Eric take Melody and my sisters to the festival. I'll stay here as long as I can and then take the other coach with Carlotta and Grim. We'll join you in plenty of time before I have to sing."

"Are you sure you want to do that, Ariel?", asked her father.

The girl smiled, lovingly up at him. "I promise I won't be late. I'd just feel terrible if Flounder got here and nobody was here for him!"

Triton nodded. "All right, Dear. We'll wait for you at the festival."

Sebastian skittered over to the girl. "I'll stay here too, your Majesty! Just to shoo her along if the time gets short."

"Me too, Your Majestness", chimed Scuttle.

Eric took the girl and kissed her cheek. "Then I guess I'll take the King to the carriage. Don't be too long, Sweetheart."

Ariel and her friends walked down to the shallow creek that Eric had had made in case any visitors from Atlantica wished to see them, and sat down on the stone chairs to await Flounder. Ariel watched, with growing apprehension, as the afternoon wore away and the time grew short. Carlotta patted her hand, "We really should get going, Child! You don't want to disappoint your father!"

The girl shook her head and her lovely red hair shimmered in the sun. "No. I guess not. Poor Flounder!"

Just then, they saw a flash of yellow and blue splashing in the water: it was Flounder!

"WOW! You waited for me!", blurted the rolly-polly fish as he popped up. "You look pretty Ariel!"

The girl smiled and started to pick him up, but the housekeeper shooed her away. "No, no Dear! Let me do it!" Carlotta put the fish in the bowl of water and stood up with him.

"Now let's GO!", urged Sebastian. The group hurried back for the Palace: Carlotta trying not to spill Flounder's water all over her, Sebastian grasping Ariel's puffy dress-sleeve as she raised her long skirt to scamper along, and Scuttle flapping overhead. They rushed through the front doors, where Grimbsy was waiting for them.

"Your timing could not have been more precarious", advised the elderly man, as he took Flounder's bowl from Carlotta.

"We'll JUST make it if we hurry!", urged Ariel, as she looked around to see if she was leaving anything.

Sebastian jumped off Ariel's sleeve, but his claw got hooked in her dress! With a terrible "RIPPPP!" he accidently tore a long gash in Ariel's dress!

Carlotta gasped and Ariel put her hands to her face, "OH NO!"

Sebastian turned redder than he already was. "Did I do DAT?", he said with a horrified grin.

Carlotta pushed the girl for the door, "I'll fix it! Just everyone get into the carriage!" She ran off for the sewing room.

Outside, Grim helped the girl into the carriage as Sebastian followed behind, "I'm SO sorry, Child!"

Ariel bent over to kiss him on the head, "That's all right, Sebastian!" The girl stepped inside, holding Flounder's bowl, as Sebastian and Scuttle hopped up into the rider's seat. Carlotta came rushing out with needle and thread in hand, and Grimbsy helped her into the carriage after Ariel, before getting up onto the rider's seat.

"Step on it, Grimbsy!", shouted the housekeeper, as she bent over Ariel with the needle. The carriage lurched and Flounder's water sloshed.

"OH DEAR!", cried Carlotta, "You'll get soaking wet holding him!" The little fish looked up and nodded, "I'll splash all over your pretty dress!"

"HOLD IT!", shouted Carlotta. "Get in here, Grimbsy!"

"What now, Madam?" started Grim, and Carlotta pulled him in the carriage and put Flounder's bowl in his arms. "YOU carry Flounder!"

The elderly man sighed. "I suppose it has not gone unnoticed that if I take on this assignment, no one will be driving the carriage?"

Sebastian grinned at them from the rider's seat. "I'LL drive it, Mon! Everyone hang on!" "SNAP!" The horses took off and the carriage leaped forward with Sebastian at the reins.

Grimbsy looked over at the housekeeper as she worked at the rip in Ariel's dress. "The possiblity of riding in a carriage being driven by a crustacean was never mentioned when I started employment here."

"Hush up and don't let Flounder splash", warned Carlotta, "I'm trying to concentrate,.."

Ariel grinned.

Sebastian was doing a pretty good job of navigating the road, but Scuttle was not content to leave him in peace. "Wow! I didn't know you could drive one of these wheelamajiggers!", blurted the gull. "Woah! Watch out for that pothole!"

"I see the pothole, Mon!", answered the crab, with a swerve that made everyone in the carriage hold onto something.

"Feels almost like flying!", grinned the gull, as his feathers rustled. His wings stretched out in front of Sebastian's face. "Which way ya going?"

The crab glared around his wings. "Do you MIND? I'm trying to see the road, Mon! I'm going the road to the village!"

Scuttle scratched his head. "But that's the LONG way! Ya'd get there a lot sooner if ya take the "creek" road."

"The creek road?", asked Sebastian, doubtfully.

Inside the carrige, Carlotta was working magic on the girl's dress. Ariel smiled, gratefully, at the woman, as she repaired the rip. Grimbsy was doing his best not to get wet from Flounder's bowl. The little fish would blush and grin up at the man whenever he sloshed. "Oops,..." "Sorry about that!" "Ahh! That didn't wet you too much, did it?", he blurted with every bump. Grim looked , exasperated, toward the front. "WHERE did that crab learn to drive,... the Kentucky Derby?"

"Yeah!", continued Scuttle. "It's a LOT closer! Just take this right up ahead,..."

Sebastian grimiced and screeched through the turn. "I KNOW I'm gonna regret this!"

With a bite of the thread, Carlotta had finished on Ariel's dress. "THERE! Just like new!", she declared and patted the Princesses' leg.

"Thanks so much! Daddy will never notice it!", beamed the girl.

Grimbsy glanced from the couple to the window. His face drew up with puzzlement. "That's odd,..."

Scuttle lay back and smiled. "Yah see! We're almost there! I TOLD you this way,..."

Sebastian's eyes bulged out,... "OH MONNNNN!!!!" They had come to the creek,....but the there was no BRIDGE OVER the creek! With a "SCREECH", the carriage bounded into the air, as Sebastian flew over; still holding the reins. Inside the carriage was panic: Ariel saw Carlotta falling for the door and the girl jumped to shield her: "SPLASH!!" The carriage landed softly in the water, with Ariel falling out of the open door! Urgently, Carlotta and Grim jumped out to help her; Ariel was unhurt: she had landed into a soft pad of lilies, but her dress was SOAKING WET! They waded over to the sobbing girl.

"Daddy's dress!!", she cried. "I've,...I've RUINED it!"

Sebastian shook himself to his senses: he had landed on the other side of the creek with the horses: it was lower over here and the horses were fine, and standing quietly together. The crab rushed back to where Carlotta and Grim were helping the girl up. The carriage was sitting in the water and Scuttle was sitting on top of it with a puzzled expression.

"Now how did THAT happen?", he mumbled. "I guess I never NOTICED that cause, when I come this way, I'm always FLYING!"

The crab shot a quick glare at the gull as he skittered over to the girl, "CHILD!! CHILD!! Are you HURT?!"

Ariel sighed, "I'm okay,...but just LOOK at my DRESS! It's RUINED! Daddy will be SO DISAPPOINTED in me!"

The crab stared at her in sorrow, as she stood there in her lovely, but drenched dress. Even soaking wet, with lilies in her hair, the girl STILL looked beautiful. The Sebastian smiled. "WAIT a minute, Child! I have an IDEA!"

In the concert hall, Eric glanced nervously at his pocket-watch. It was almost time for Ariel to sing and she was NO WHERE in sight! He looked up at the King sitting next to him, and smiled lamely. "I,...I'm SURE your daughter will be along shortly, Your Majesty!"

Triton smiled back. "I know she will." Melody squrmed in her seat as she watched the other singers on stage. When was her MOMMIE going to sing?

The curtain fell and the crowd waited for the next singer. Ariel was on next! A couple of minutes went by, and the crowd was beginning to murmer. Eric chewed on his nails.

Then the curtain RAISED and the audience GASPED. In front of the painted background of a forest scene, with the image of a rippling brook as a centerpiece, Ariel was sitting behind a huge shallow bowl of water: her delicate feet even resting in it. She wore a lovely pink flowing dress that was glistening and shining with wettness: lilies decorated her lovely red hair that fell shimmering down her shoulders. At her feet, a yellow and blue fish was looking up at her with a gentle face of serenity; a crab was perched quietly in her lap and a sea gull sat on her shoulder, not the least bit afraid of her. She looked,....she looked like a LOVELY WATER NYMPH who had just arisen from the brook! The audience sighed with delight!

Then the girl began her sweet song:

"All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful:

The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,

Each little bird that sings,

God made their glowing colors

And made their tiny wings.

The tall trees in the green wood,

The meadows where we play,

The rushes by the water,

We gather every day.

God gave us eyes to see them,

And lips that we might tell,

How great is God Almighty,

who has made all things well,..."

The girl finished her song and everyone clapped happily! Ariel grinned with joy and stood up, holding Sebastian in her hands, as she gratefully recieved their thanks. Triton wiped away a tear and smiled proudly: "THAT'S my little girl up there!"




I am not associated with the Walt Disney company. My work does not necessarily reflect their views on Little Mermaid. I am simply trying to spread the word.