At last Sara reached her fifteenth year. "Well, now, you are old enough to make your visit to the surface," said her father a little sadly; "please be careful for I love you very much."
Sara hugged her father and said, "Farewell," then swam as lightly as a bubble to the surface of the water. The sun had just set as she raised her head above the waves; but the clouds were tinted with crimson and gold, and through the glimmering twilight beamed the evening star in all its beauty. A large ship floated calmly in the distance, with only one sail set; for not a breeze blew, and the sailors sat idle on deck or amongst the rigging. There was music and song on board; and, as darkness came on, a hundred colored lanterns were lighted to glow prettily in the night.
The little mermaid swam close to the cabin windows; now and then, as the waves lifted her up, she could look in through clear glass window-panes, and see a number of well-dressed people within. Among them was a young prince, the most handsome of all, with large brown eyes; he was sixteen years of age, and his birthday was the reason for all the celebration.