What Would Arielle Do?

Once upon a time, deep beneath the waves, there lived a little mermaid princess named Arielle. She had long curly, red hair and loved to sing and twirl (the mermaidien form of dance!) all day long. One day, she and two of her best friends, Mushuy the sea dragon and Krikee the sea bug, were exploring a sunken ship. Mushuy, who was rather a bit of a scaredy guppy, saw an old pirate's skeleton, swam backward as quickly as he could while yelling "SHARK!" (He was so scared he just yelled the first thing which came to his mind!), bumped into an old treasure chest with his tail fin, and opened it! Inside, amongst all the pirates' booty, laid an old treasure map in a glass bottle!

"A treasure map!" Arielle exclaimed! "I just love a good treasure hunt!" And, with that, she gently tapped the bottom of the glass bottle, and out came the map! She and her friends took a close look at the map which seemed to be of the surface land and not of the sea. What a shame! Now how was Arielle going to find the treasure?

"Hey, look at that!" she exclaimed, again! "The map leads straight to some sort of enchanted castle (It's called "Enchanted Castle" on the map!). Maybe a prince lives there, and he needs our help! You know what this means, don't you?" she asked her VERY best friends in the whole ocean!

"What?" they both responded in unison. And then, Mushuy caught on, and in his classic Mushuy way said, "Oh no! Not again! We are NOT going to visit the sea witch! Girl, you musta just eaten some bad kelp or something! Leave the map alone! Put it down! Leave it!..." She just stares at him, giving him big puppy-dog eyes! "Oh no! NO! NO! NO! Not the puppy-dog eyes! You know I can't resist the puppy-dog eyes!..." He waits a moment, and there's no change in her expression! "Oh, c'mon, now! Really? The sea witch, Arielle?"

Krikee chirps in, "The sea witch?!"

Arielle finally responds to both of them, "Yes, we must visit the evil fairy sea witch, Malefincenta, so she can turn me human so I can help the prince who lives on land."

"But, she's eviiiiil! PURE EVIL!... I'm telling you, Arielle, as your advisor and best friend…. Well, one of your best friends!… DON'T GO!" exclaimed Mushuy in exasperation, for it was futile. Arielle had already made up her mind. She was already on her way back to her secret grotto to prepare for her meeting with the sea witch.

"Looks like we're going to have to go with her, Krikee. Oh, her father is going to be FURIOUS! He never lets her out of the palace, let alone to the sea witch, and then to the surface! Oy vey, we better makes sure she doesn't hurt herself, or worse!... US!..."

Back at Arielle's secret grotto, she's quickly packing a bag full of any human stuff from her collection she thinks she might need to survive on the surface: A twirly-magig, a watchamacallit, a dinglehopper or two, a snarfblaf, etc.! She's also taking a bag of black, white, and pink pearls she's collected over the years to offer the evil fairy sea witch Malefincenta as payment!

"You know your father is never going to let you do this, right? He won't even let you out of the palace, let alone to visit with the sea witch! And to the surface? Forgedaboutit!" explains Mushuy as he and Krikee enter Arielle's secret grotto through the rarely used back entrance.

"I know, but I must. I just KNOW there's a prince living in that enchanted castle who needs me! I can just feel it! And, since Daddy's too old and feeble to use his magic trident to help me, visiting Malefincenta is the only way!" responds Arielle, determined.

"Shhhh! Don't say her name! She might hear us!" replied Mushuy, fearful.

"What? You're not SCARED? Are you, Mushuy?" asks Arielle, lightheartedly.

"Who me? Scared? SCARED? Never! I'm right by your side, Arielle. What do we gotta do to get you outta this palace and over to that nasty old… I mean, beautiful, magical, friendly, nice sea witch so you can become human and find your prince?..." he clears his throat!... "Ahem!"

"Well, first, I'll need a disguise!"… And, with that, she looks around the secret grotto for a pair of scissors. Having found none, she then takes the next best thing instead—A Chinese warrior's katana, I mean, sword which she found on the old sunken pirate's ship earlier today.

"Uh, Arielle, what are you going to do with that thing? It looks dangerous. And, BIG!"

"You'll see!" she says with her signature mischievous smile!

"Uh oh, Krikee, she's got that smile on her face again, we better hide!" So, Mushuy and Krikee quickly dash behind a ballerina music box and watch anxiously as Arielle takes the sword in her hands. "I can't look, Krikee! Let's close our eyes!"

"Ok, let's see, how am I going to do this?" she asks herself, not really looking for a response. "I know! A sea scrunchy!" She takes the sea scrunchy in her hands and wraps her long, long, long curly ruby red locks around and through it, making a loose ponytail far, far, far away from her head. Then, with one quick flick of her wrists, she takes the sword and slices through her thick, red, curly hair with a loud swoosh. And, down it all fell, tied up by the sea scrunchy. She was now rocking a messy bob.

"Is it done? Is it all over now? Can we look?" asked Mushuy, hoping he wouldn't see anything too messy.
"You can look. It's not so bad really, I guess. Oh well, if it'll get me out of this palace and passed Daddy, who cares?" says Arielle as she inspects her new, SHORT haircut in the mirror.

"ARIELLE, WHAT THE BLEEP DID YOU DO?!" cries Mushuy, one of her most trusted of friends.

"You don't like it?" asks Arielle, earnestly.

"Well, no, it's not that… It's just… Well, if your father wasn't going to be mad before, he sure will be now!... Me, I kinda think your look needed an update. That old '80's bang was way outta date, if you ask me. Right, Krikee?" asks Mushuy with hopes of making Arielle smile, again.

"Hip!" replied Krikee.

"See, even Krikee thinks it's chic! And, he don't lie. Never!"

"Yup!" agreed Krikee.

"Well, it's fine. It's only so I can make it easier to hide my hair in this helmet. I'm going to dress myself up as a knight in the imperial mermaidien army, and try to just sneak out passed Daddy like that…"

"Sounds like a plan, Princess. Where do you want us posted? How can we help?" asks Mushuy, eager to please Arielle.

"You two can hide out in the old armor I found discarded in the recycling. It's kinda heavy, and big, so I'll need your help keeping it on, anyway."

"You got it, Arielle!" they exclaim in unison!

And with that, the Princess takes another sea scrunchy and ties back what's left of her hair in a small bun. She then puts on the helmet, armor, tucks away her friends, grabs her bag, and makes her way towards the exit of the sea palace, hoping not to get noticed by her Daddy.

When Arielle and her friends make it through the gates of the palace, and to the outskirts of the city, they help Arielle take off the armor and leave it in a corner of a small cave for safe keeping, just in cases they need it to enter back in the palace later.

"Phew, I'm so glad we made it!" says Arielle, excitedly, as she lets down the rest of her hair.

"Me too," says Mushuy, "That thing was giving us blisters trying to hold on to it! What next, Arielle?"

"Well, see that cove over there? That's where the evil fairy sea witch Malefincenta lives. I'm going to give her my bag of pearls I've collected over the years, in hopes that she'll turn me into a human, in exchange."

"Do you need us to go with you, you know, as bodyguards?" asks Mushuy, eager to help, yet still fearful of the sea witch.

"No, it's ok. It should be quick. When you see me rising to the surface with human legs, then I might need your help."

"You got it, Princess! We'll be there! No problemo!" says Mushuy, who adds, "She's totally nuts going in there, you know that, right Krikee?"

Krikee just chirps a sad, little chirp in response.

And, just as Arielle had asked them to do, when they saw her rise to the surface with human legs (after hearing some blasts and some bad singing by the evil fairy sea witch Malefincenta), Mushuy and Krikee quickly swam to her side and helped her reach the air.

"Arielle? Arielle? Are you ok? Can you speak? Did she take your voice? We heard something about 'laryngitis,' and we got scared!" asked Mushuy, worriedly, while listening to her foot for a heartbeat.

"I'm fine, I'm fine! Just a little shaken up, that's all. My voice is fine. I told you she just wanted the pearls. Although, she said I only have a full moon cycle (a month) to find the castle on the map and get 'dear old Princey to fall in love' with me, if I want to stay human, 'permanently.'"

"And do you?" asks Mushuy, not wanting to loose one of his best friends.

"Nah, not really. Once I find the prince, I'll ask him if he wants to return home under the sea with me, and if not… Then, it wasn't meant to be, I guess."

"Wow, that's a change of heart!" exclaims Mushuy to himself.

"What?" asks Arielle who heard him say something.

"Nothing. Nothing. Hey, where's Krikee? He must have gone to find Skuftle, the sea gull, to help us get to the castle. Good thing we sea dragons and water bugs are amphibious! Ha!... I mean, sea bug! Right!" says Mushuy, rapidly changing subjects.

"A sea gull, huh? Cool! Well, according to the map… Hey! Where's my bag of human things from my collection I thought we might need? I put the map in there!" wonders Arielle.

"This heavy thing?" asks Mushuy who drags over a heavy carpet bag full of human things, which floated up to the surface and landed in between some rocks which Mushuy had to pull the bag out from underneath.

"That's it! That's my bag! Thanks, Mushuy! Let's see, according to this map, it says the castle should be… Well, it says we should be standing right by it!" She looks up, at the castle gate behind her, just next to the beach, "WOA! And, there it is!"

"That was easy!" exclaimed Mushuy, "Where's that bug gone off to, anyway?"

"Here!" chirped Krikee, who had his friend Skuftle the sea gull with him!

"Hello, I'm Skuftle. And, I can tell you all anything you need to know about this here, ENCHANTED castle!"

"You can? Well, what's it like? Is there a prince inside who desperately needs me?" asks Arielle, more hopeful than before, although still having trouble adjusting to her land legs. It's a good thing she brought some human clothes to change into in her bag, though! Phew!

"Well, for one thing, it's ENCHANTED!" says Skuftle, reiterating himself.

"You already said that," Mushuy corrects.

"I know, but it's important you know it's ENCHANTED! Not all human castles are like this. There is a prince, but he's guarded by talking human things and, worst of all, he's a beast!"

"Oh, I'm sure he's not that bad. Maybe a little grumpy, that's all. A little rough around the edges. Nothing a good make-over can't fix, I'm sure," says Mushuy, sort of distracted.

"Talking human things?! What kinds of things? Like pets?" asks Arielle in earnest.

"Well, let's see… There's a clock, a candelabra, a footstool who's really a dog, a teapot, and a small teacup with a piece missing named Chippy. Oh, and the candelabra is in love with a feather duster; don't ask. DRAMA!... Ha!" elaborates Skuftle.

"I see," says Arielle, a little DISENCHANTED herself, actually, "And the prince, you said he's really a beast? What kind of beast? Like, a wolf or something?" asks Arielle, hoping there's still a chance she could fall in love with him, and vice-versa.

"No, he's more like a cross between a minotaur, a bull, and a goat… Or, something to that effect. I'm not really sure, you see, the beast rarely ever leaves his library. He's always reading, that beast," described Skuftle of the prince.

"Hmmm… Does he have a name?" asks Arielle, still curious, only not quite as eager as earlier.

"His name is Don Aldo, Prince of the Iberian Peninsula. And, the castle is enchanted BECAUSE he never leaves his library. You see, the prince does nothing except read all the time. He never hunts. He never fishes. He never even sings and dances. He just reads all the time. He's been reading for so long now, I'll bet he's even read most of the same books, twice! Well, at any rate, the evil fairy sea witch Malefincenta turned him into a beast and enchanted his castle when she realized he was too busy reading to fall in love with anybody, let alone her!" explicated Skuftle, the VERY knowledgeable sea gull.

"Hmmm… Sounds too complicated," says Arielle, now wondering what she was going to do for a whole month of being human, especially since, if she doesn't fall in love with a prince of some sort, she'll be forced to live at home with Daddy, permanently. The evil sea witch Malefincenta doesn't really care either way about power, just likes to collect pearls from patrons and customers of her magic to add to her own growing treasure. She also has a couple of trusts, bonds, and CD's.

"Well," continues Skuftle, "There's always the prince's stable boy. He's sorta cute, and all human! As it turns out, he was away in a far, far, far away land called Agrabada learning how to ride and take care of camels and such for the stable here, when the castle was ENCHANTED by the evil sea witch Malefincenta. So, he was never put under the spell, and thus is eligible for marriage. If you want, I could try to hook-up you two love birds!"

Arielle considers her options, "A beastly prince with an ENCHANTED castle full of talking human things, or the human stable boy who may or may not have any ties to royalty. Hmmm… I mean, I know I'm one to talk, since I'm actually a mermaid talking to sea creatures and other animals, myself. Only, well… I only have one moon cycle (a month) here on land, and I don't have the foggiest notion of how I can get this prince to fall in love with me. I mean, really… I love adventure, and he loves reading. He sounds sort of boring. I mean, I know you can find 'adventure' in reading, but I love the real thing! Otherwise, I wouldn't be here contemplating my options and actually standing on human legs! Talk about adventure! I can't make myself fall in love with the guy if we obviously have NOTHING in common. Boy, now I know how Malefincenta must have felt when he wouldn't even have given her the time of day! And, I haven't even met the prince yet!... Ha!"

"Ya, go with the stable boy! He's already been to a far, far, far away land! He must love adventure, same as you! Besides, if he marries you, that will just make him a prince!" Mushuy finally chimes back in the conversation.

"You've got a point there, little sea dragon," agrees Skuftle, "Plus, did I mention he's cute? Waaaay cuter than that beastly prince. Oh, sure, he's gotta fall in a love with somebody at some point, or else he'll stay a beast, only I believe your right, Sugar. I don't think that somebody is you. The stable boy is way more your type."

"Skuftle, what did you say the stable boy's name was, again?" asks Arielle, who's once again excited about her princely prospects!

"Uhhh… Hmmm… I believe it's Alfonzo. Alfonzo the official stable boy of the Iberian Penninsula. And he's single! And, looking!..." Skuftle winks at her.

"Great! Now, that I've gotten used to these land legs. Where do we find Alfonzo?" asks Arielle, standing on her own two human feet, without holding onto a rock, Mushuy, or the castle gate.

"You can listen to the wind," chirps the wise and all-knowing Krikee.

"What?" asks Arielle, Skuftle, and Mushuy in unison.

"You can listen to the wind, it'll tell you where to go," repeats Krikee.

"Ok, I'll try," says Arielle, hoping Krikee is right.

And with that, Arielle closes her eyes, and softly begins to hum her signature song, when all of the sudden she is hit in the head by something hard! She opens her eyes, and low-and-behold, it was a coconut which had fallen from the nearby palm tree.

"Oh, it's only a coconut!" exclaims Arielle, somewhat relieved, somewhat disappointed.

"Not just any coconut! That's a magic coconut, Miss! Anybody who can open it will be granted one wish!" exclaims a voice new to Arielle's ears.

"Hello? Who's there?... Tell me more about this magical coconut! You've got me curious!" says Arielle, with a wink, hoping and figuring it must be the stable boy.

"I'm sorry, I can't come down from this tree until I find my shadow," says the boy.

"Your shadow?!" questions Mushuy, who's stood by silently for way too long, "What kind of crazy person looses his shadow? Arielle, if he's the stable boy, stay away!"

"Oh, he's harmless, Mushuy; he's just playing, I hope," says Arielle, who continues, "Your shadow, Boy? What does it look like? Let me see you, so I can know."

"It looks like a monkey," says the Boy, sincerely.

"A monkey?! How can a… Oh, I see! Alright then, a monkey it is! Would it be the same monkey who hit me over the head with a coconut?" asks Arielle, trying to get this new person to talk to her.

"Yes. He's a very silly monkey. And, a very mischievous monkey, at that! I'm sorry he threw the coconut at you, Miss. He was only trying to open it, but it fell on your head instead," explains the boy.

"I see. It's ok. Is it really a magical coconut, like you said?" asks Arielle, who's always up for magic.

"Yes. It will grant anybody who opens it one wish. Sorta like the genie I knew back home in Agrabada, before I set him free. We're still friends, only he's going on some of his own adventures now. So, he sent me this magical coconut, from the equally magical Hawaii Islands in the Pacific Ocean, as sorta a 'Sorry I can't be there with you, Alfonzo. Have one wish, on me! Thanks for the freedom! Loving it!' sorta thing. The directions are just simply to open it, and I'll have my one wish. Only, Bubba my monkey and I can't quite seem to get it opened, as you can see. And, now Bubba, who I like to call 'my shadow' since he follows me around everywhere I go, is missing! And, I can't get down from this tree without his helpful guidance!"

"So, Alfonzo, why were you up in the tree in the first place?" inquires Arielle.

"Uhhh… Well, looking out at the ocean, trying to open the coconut, you know? That sorta thing…" answers Alfonzo, shyly, "By the way, what did you say your name was, Miss?"

"I didn't say my name was anything, actually, but it's Arielle. Princess Arielle, from the mermaidien kingdom down below the surface of the sea, actually. My father, the King, doesn't know I'm here on land, to uhhh… Uhhhh…. Follow this treasure map, which apparently leads me to this ENCHANTED castle, and the beastly prince who lives inside here."

"Ya, he's not so bad. Once you get to know him. Just sorta boring, and a little rough around the edges, I guess," describes Alfonzo of the prince.

"See, I told you!" interrupts Mushuy, with Krikee chirping behind him.

"Ok, Mushuy. I believe you!... Hey, Alfonzo, is that your shadow over there?" points Arielle to the chimpanzee sitting on the edge of the jetty of rocks out by the ocean.

"Yes, that's him!," Alfonzo yells for the monkey, "Bubba! BUBBA! Help me down, will ya?" And, the monkey comes running over, and sits under the tree with his arms wide open, waiting to catch Alfonzo if he falls.

"Thanks, Bubba!" says Alfonzo, as he slowly climbs down the tree.

"It looks like I found your shadow for you, Alfonzo. Does that mean I get the wish inside the coconut, now? Please!" asks Arielle, innocently.

"Uhhhh… Well… I guess…" stammers Alfonzo, stunned.

"Yay! Good! Mushuy, hand me my carpet bag full of human things," asks Arielle of her travel companion.

"Human things? Oh, right! Princess Arielle of the MERMAIDIEN kingdom! Sorry, I forgot!" Alfonzo muses to himself, "Arielle is a really pretty name."

"Thanks, it's not so bad, except when the rest of your sisters all have 'A' names, too, then it sometimes gets annoying," muses Arielle.

"Ha! Wow! And, my name starts with an 'A,' too, I'll fit right in!" realizes Alfonzo, excitedly!

"That's what I'm hoping!" laughs Arielle, who takes out a twirl-a-magig and hits the coconut with it, opening it up to reveal the glowing wishing star inside of it! She grabs the wishing star, takes it in her hands, holds it against her chest, and closes her eyes. She then begins to hum her signature song, once more, until the wishing star slowly turns back into a regular old starfish shell, as if nothing happened.

"Well, what did you wish for?! And, your welcome for the bag, P.S.!" says Mushuy, not so much annoyed as just letting Arielle know she's welcome, and curious about her wish!

All ears are on Arielle as she says, "Well, If I tell you my wish, then it won't come true!"

"C'mon, Sugar, let us in on the fun!" say Skuftle, who can already guess what Arielle's wish is.

"Please!" chirps Krikee, also!

"Ok, well, I want Alfonzo to come home to my mermaidien kingdom, and be my prince down below the surface of the sea with me! And, even his shadow can come along! We DO have sea monkeys, ya know?... Because I believe in love at first sight, and I believe I'm falling in love with him, as we speak!" says Arielle, looking longingly into HER prince's eyes.

"Well, then, Arielle… I accept!... Only, you didn't need to use the wish on that!... I would have come along with you anyway!... The beastly prince has other stable… Uhhh… ENCHANTED stable boys to help him… We're just here for the free food and lodging, basically! Any adventure, even below the sea, would be better than staying here with the beastly prince who does nothing but read all the time!... Right, Bubba?"

Bubba claps his hands in agreement, "Right!"

"Besides," Alfonzo continues, "I believe I'm falling in love with you at first sight, too, as we speak!" And, he takes Arielle in his arms, and gives her a squeeze, and a kiss!

"Wooohooo! Yippeee! There's going to be a mermaidien wedding, after all!" exclaims Skuftle, who's loves a good sea wedding any day, "See! I knew you'd two would make a perfect couple! Poor beastly prince, maybe next time! Ha!"

"Good! Now, I won't loose my job as the royal advisor! Nor my best friend!" exclaims Mushuy, who's actually VERY happy Arielle found true love, at last!

"Awesome!" exclaims Krikee, joyfully, also!

"Arielle," Alfonzo begins…

"Yes, my darling Alfonzo?" Arielle continues…

"We all saw the light in the wishing star go out, which means you must have wished for something. What was it?" asks Alfonzo, still holding Arielle in his arms.

"Oh, I did make a wish!… I guess it just takes a while… Before…. Before…"

And before Arielle could even finish her sentence, she began to twirl and spin and float and sparkle in mid-air right before their VERY eyes! It was as if she was transforming, but not yet back into a mermaid… No!... It was her HAIR!... Her hair was growing!… Longer, longer, and longer!... What seemed to be thirty feet of long, red, curly hair!... It wasn't thirty feet, of course! It just seemed like hair you could climb down a tower with, but it wasn't! It was just as long as she had her hair before, if not longer!

With a toss of her now longer, healthier, more fuller hair, Arielle said, "I wished for my hair to grow back! That messy bob thing was just killing me! I hated seeing my hair like that! Plus, I missed my fashionable, NOT out of date, side-parted so-called '80's" bang! It's my signature, and my trademark!... And, I just wanted it all back!"

"Oh, I see," says Alfonzo, laughing, "Why did you cut it all off in the first place? Not that it looked bad or anything. Actually, I thought you had long hair, I don't know why? I guess I didn't really take notice of its then length!"

"Well, it's a long story! Which we'll all, Mushuy, Krikee, Skuftle and myself will hafta explain to Daddy and you when we tell him about our engagement! Now, to turn you mermaid… Well, I have a whole moon cycle (a month) on land, why not make the best of it? We can worry about the details later… In the meantime, I'll stay here with you, Bubba, and Skuftle, while Mushuy and Krikee go tell Daddy we need him to find some magic and/or some pearls to pay the evil fairy sea witch Malefincenta to turn us both back into mermaids!... Without exactly explaining why!... Ha!... Maybe by the time Daddy gets here, he won't be so mad with us!... I hope!"

"Awww, Arielle, your father is going to kill me and eat me! And, I don't taste very good, unless you know how to make just the right type of sauce… And… WHAT AM I SAYING?!... Ok, fine! We'll go! Before you go putting on those puppy-dog eyes, again!... You know I can't resist those puppy-dog eyes!... C'mon Krikee, let's leave these two turtle doves in love to themselves!... Who knows what types of dates and things this Alfonzo's already got planned for the two of them… Let's go…" he trails off talking whilst Krikee follows suite!

So, Skuftle, Bubba, Arielle, and Alfonzo all lived happily ever after on land for a full "engaged" moon cycle (a month), and under the sea after her father cooled down and realized she needed to become human in order to find her true love, along with Mushuy and Krikee who were neither eaten, for as long as they all shall live! Well, Skuftle went between the sea and land, checking on the beastly prince, the ENCHANTED castle, the ball in which the narcoleptic maiden who eventually saves him attends and looses her glass mitten, and the magical apple which cured her of her narcolepsy… But, of course!... That's totally another tale to tell!… Entirely another story for altogether another day!... ;)