She can play this for hours: she dives deep into the water, floating gracefully all the way to the bottom, then heading up again to the surface to breathe.
There’s a little goldfish, Otto. Back then, Hannah helped the little fellow escape from a bigger one, that wanted to eat him.
Otto is very grateful to Hannah for saving his life.
Since then, he has been following her everywhere (he was such a faithful companion) even when she's swimming for hours.
But there is someone else in Hannah’s life who is at least as important as Otto.
Greta, a 4-year-old girl with whom Hanna has become friends.
Greta often comes to the lake and waits for the little mermaid to show up.
Usually, Hannah swims out to her, settles down on the edge of the lake — carefully, making sure her fins aren’t visible — and they talk for a long time.
Hannah knows everything about Greta: what kind of kindergarten she goes to, she knows about the naughty and nice boys and little girls who go there, what lunch is like there and what the games they like, or whether Greta managed to fall asleep on that afternoon or not.
However, Greta does not know that Hannah is a mermaid.
Somehow it wasn’t mentioned at the time when they got to know each other, and the longer they’ve been friends, the more Hannah wanted to hide it from Greta.
Actually, she doesn't know why either, but she was afraid Greta wouldn't love her anymore if she knew she doesn't have legs but fins.
Hannah wanted to talk to her several times, but each time, she just ran out of courage, so the mermaid kept quiet and didn't tell her she wasn't an ordinary little girl.
The only thing Greta noticed from this, was the fact that her friend doesn't want to get out of the water for some reason.
Yet all she ever wanted was to have big walks with Hannah, sit on the swing together on the playground, or just to stand in line for a scoop of ice cream at the patisserie.
No matter how much she insists, Hannah always says, "I can't, maybe next time..."
And Greta loves her friend so much, she doesn't bother her anymore.
Otto, as Hanna's true and faithful companion, noticed that she becomes very sad at these occasions.
Therefore, one time the little mermaid said no to her friend again and they returned to the water, he asked her.
Hannah, why don’t you tell Greta, that you’re a mermaid?
Because… I’m afraid she would no longer love me the way she did before.
Don’t you want to have a big walk with her? Or to sit on the swing together on the playground, standing in line with her, waiting patiently for your scoop of ice cream?
Of course I do! But what should I do? I don’t have legs…
Just ask me to turn your fins into legs!
But how? asked Hannah, surprised.
What kind of fish am I?
And what do goldfish know?
What do they know… I have no idea - murmured Hannah.
Well, we do make wishes come true! Basically, only three for a stranger, but since you’re a very, very, very good friend of mine, no matter how much you want! I'll do it.
Indeed? YAAAY! And what do I do if I want you to conjure legs for me? Can you turn me back into a mermaid again? When? Is it constant or only after 7 AM? Hannah flooded her friend excitedly with questions.
Okay-okay, wait a minute! Let us have a secret sign so I will know if you want to change. From a mermaid to a little girl, or from a little girl to a mermaid, it doesn't matter actually. At any time, if I see the sign. But promise me one thing, please. Take me with you, hidden in your pocket! I will conjure a pair of trousers for you, that will have a pocket I can fit in, along with some water.
So they agreed that whenever Hannah straightens the wreath in her hair, Otto looks at her, and if she nods, it's time for a little magic.
The little mermaid could hardly wait for the “next time,” a next time when Greta will ask her to go somewhere together and she could finally say yes.
She didn't have to wait long, because the next day Greta visited her friend by the lake again. She was very enthusiastic because she got a new bed from her parents.
That one, with a double mattress that allowed her friend to even sleep at their house if she wanted to.
Greta no longer hoped Hannah would say yes to her request, yet she invited her to a sleepover to celebrate the new bed together.
The mermaid was just waiting for this: she excitedly straightened the wreath in her hair, and in a blink of an eye, Otto appeared on the surface of the water. Hanna looked at him and nodded, and she could already feel the strange, tingling, yet wonderful feeling of her mermaid tails becoming human feet. It was only a few seconds and Hanna stood there with Greta on the shore and hold her hand.
Then they started to run, run as fast as they could to the little girl's room.
Hannah happily sat down on the bed, where the double mattress was waiting for her new owner and the precious guest. The little mermaid (more precisely, the newly transformed little girl) lay down and was overwhelmed with fatigue.
Maybe it was the transformation, maybe the excitement of the visit, but she became so exhausted, that in a few minutes she was sleeping like a baby.
Greta didn't mind that at all. She was glad her friend finally joined her.
She put a blanket on Hannah and in the meantime, she didn't even notice that they weren't just having a sleepover for two, as a tiny tail peeked out of the pocket of Hanna's pants...