Most movies and books end up with the foam ending and that is, and personally i never knew there was another ending ( Maybe both stories got printed, and you read the second one, not the original ). Here is an extract from wikipedia that explains your question:
Andersen originally ended the tale with the mermaid dissolving, but then later added the "daughters of air" coda, stating that it was his original intention and, in fact, the working title of the story. The daughters of air say they can earn souls simply by doing three hundred years' worth of good deeds, but Andersen later revised it to state that all this depends upon whether children are good or bad. Good behavior takes a year off the maidens' time of service while bad behavior makes them weep and a day is added for every tear they shed. This has come under much criticism from scholars and reviewers, stating that, "This final message is more frightening than any other presented in the tale. The story descends into the Victorian moral tales written for children to scare them into good behavior. P. L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins and noted folklore commentator, says, 'But a year taken off when a child behaves and a tear shed and a day added whenever a child is naughty? Andersen, this is blackmail. And the children know it and say nothing. There's magnanimity for you' (Travers 1979, 93).
I hope that helps, i believe is more of a love story because she died for what she believed on. Most children stories are used to scare or teach children about something ( Aesop Fables for example ), so is not uncommon to have sad endings on them.
I personally like the sad ending more, it was really sad, but more beautiful. And as i read the ending from my book, I felt like the daughters of air part was an addition to the story (since it is very short and feels kinda rushed), well now I know why then. When I read the story next time, I'll stop reading when she dissolving. Thanks!
For what i understood, the original story WAS the daughters of the air, and the ending you read is believed to be the real one. Still, i dont believe ¨daughters of the air¨ is such a catchy name like ¨the little mermaid¨.
Eitherway, is a fun story, i remember owning a lot of my little mermaid things when i was young. Besides, sometimes fans enjoy ¨disney endings ¨ better instead of real facts ( for example, pocahontas and pocahontas 2 ).
your right (english is not my mother tongue), I had to read the text again. Oh, but still, better without daughters of air. yea, I agree, the little mermaid is more catchy. I like the book ending better than disney's thou.
Omg, not Pocahontas 2 D: That movie ruined the whole first Pocahontas for me. And the saddest thing is, I actually own Pocahontas 2! I think the real story is fascinating about her, but I like the Disney version to (only first film, that is : P).