This is a fairytale about fairytales, with characters borrowed from Disney cartoons, and so on.
Once a upon a time, in a land ruled by lions and lionesses, there was a prince. His parents wanted to give him a simple name, as they believed that a common name would help make their child easier to raise - like a commoner's child, so he was named Simba.
Simba had a spoilt childhood, with mothers who spoilt him, and a chauvinistic father, who believed in giving him a Confucian upbringing. He was rather stout and cumbersome as a cub, but grew up with a strong manly chest (did a lot of push ups in his teen) and a proud brownish-golden mane. Simba was so handsome that the flies, that typically hung around lion's snouts to feed on the leftovers from their mouths not wiped clean after every meal, did not dare to go near his unclean snout, for fear of being poisoned by his majestic, royal beauty.
One warm evening, Simba decided to take a stroll by a river he seldom visited. It was then when he heard an attractive song of a low seductive growling that he had never before heard of. Like that of a siren, the song drew Simba to followed it to the source - at a river bend, there was a group of giant arapaima fish - all almost as long as himself or longer still - surrounding a female arapaima, who glowed with a pearly, green-and-reddish gleam in the moonlight, who was singing the seductive song. The group of arapaimas were so enchanted with the performance that they did not notice Simba's approach.
Simba had heard of other lions speaking of the giant arapaimas living in the river, but had seldom seen them for himself, let alone to witness such a large gathering of these giant fishes. Seeing the way, their gigantic bodies float near the surface with the ebbing water calmed Simba, and the scene accompanied the soothing song of the female arapaima well. The more he listened to the song, the more he was convinced that it was the most beautiful music in his father's kingdom.
Simba crouched down and remained silent, not wanting to disrupt the performance; only when the song was complete, he let out a gentle roar of appreciation for the mystical arapaima's song.
Startled, the gathered arapaimas submerged and scattered quickly, except for the singer, however, who was scared stiff and simply remained where she was.
Simba got up and apologise for disrupting the party; at the same time, when his eyes met o those of the singing arapaima, he realised he was glad to have the time alone.
"Lord Simba," the arapaima said humbly, paying her respects.
"Good evening, fish. I was intending to introduce myself, but I suppose you already know who I am," said Simba with a smile, turning on his charm.
"That is but of course, you are our Lord. Your parents' picture hangs in our classrooms and school hall where we recite the national pledge in school every Monday," said the arapaima in a flurry before stopping with embarrassment by her seeming incoherence. "I mean... and you look like your father."
"Relax. Don't worry. I'm not uptight like him. Please introduce yourself?" urged Simba. He approached the water.
"I am Ariel, Daughter of Arapaima III of the Eastern River," she said as she swam backwards away from him.
"Show me your face, come closer to the bank."
"Are you intending to eat me, Sire?" Ariel said, apprehensively.
Simba laughed at her innocence before reassuring her that he was not, and he did not like to eat bony fish.
Ariel hesitated and realised that she should not defy the will of the prince. She propelled herself towards him, and swam at a shallower part of the river, where her shimmering scales caught more of the moonlight, and revealed a tiny lunar rainbow on almost every scale.
This was the moment when Simba fell in love with Ariel.
"I like your song, Ariel. Would you sing for me every night?" Not wishing to be rejected, he added, "I command it?"
"If you so wish, my lord, it would be my pleasure. But wouldn't you be bored with the same song? I would be bored singing it every night. How about I teach the song to your royal performers and perhaps they could sing it to you in the comforts of your palace."
"Excuse me," blushed Simba, "I meant, I like your singing, Ariel. You could sing any song you wish."
This made Ariel blushed too.
Simba returned to the river bend every night to the river to listen to Ariel sing. Sometimes she sang lively songs that were typically sang to araipaman children to teach them some lessons about being araipama; sometimes she sang slow songs, telling the stories to the ancestors. Simba listened with relish as the songs taught Simba much about Ariel's life.
He learned the different colours on her scales that changed with the phase of the moon. By looking at the scales, he learnt to tell which day of the month it was. Sometimes, he was so enchanted by Ariel that he would approach the river, and stand in the river, so much as being knee deep in the water. Whenever he wet his mane, he would rather regret it as he would have to comb his hair back, and that would worry him about looking like an ah-beng.
Over time, Ariel too began to take a liking to Simba and saw past his attempts to act cool and was moved by his pathetic and sincere attempts to impress her by bringing her rare game meat - like lamb chops and hot dogs. She was more practical, knowing that they would never be able to be together. Slowly, she began to sing love songs about star-crossed lovers or unrequited relationships. Simba, delighted to know that his love was finally being reciprocated by Ariel, yet at the same time, he was sad that she would keep reminding him of how they would not be together.
This went on for some time and the air was filled with sentiments of love and sadness that permeated the kingdom. After being taken aback by their beloved son's weird fetish for a fish, and getting over it, the royal lion family tried to source for solutions to bring the lovers together. Through some recommendations, they got to know a powerful witch, also known as Ponyo from the cliff, who came from the land of the rising sun.
Ponyo was touched by the love story between the Simba the lion prince and Ariel the giant arapaima fish, and it reminded her of when she was young and foolish in love. She asked the couple to choose whether she should turn Simba into an arapaima - an offer to which Ariel and the royal family strongly objected, or to turn Ariel into a lioness - an offer to which Simba strongly objected and Ariel quietly objected. They loved each other in their present forms, and while their love and beauty was beyond skin deep, it was also hard to deny how their appearances were an integral part of who they were and loved.
Ponyo teasingly offered to give Simba a tail and Arial, feet. The couple rejected this idea arguing that this would only unite them with both being freaks of nature as they would still be unable to consummate their love, which was really the crux of the issue.
Eventually, Ponyo, the benevolent, allowed them to have the magic to be lions one day and arapaimas the next, whatever was their choices. She warned them, however, that they should never make experimental love when one was a lion and the other a fish, no matter how kinky they might feel, and made them promise her with their favourite swear words. They shrugged and agreed quickly; at that point, they were not yet able to imagine why they would ever want to do that, since they were precisely begging for the ability to transform themselves to become a matching couple.
Thus, they lived happily ever after... until they gave birth to a son, who was a merlion, and who also had bad problems with his bowel movements and motion sickness and had to swim around but would vomit for hours on end when he came to land.
Simba and Ariel tried to approach Ponyo for help, instead they were reprimanded by Ponyo sternly, "I warned you! And you promised that you would not have done that! No, I shall not reverse it, you both should know better to love him for who he is." Simba tried to turn on his charm, but Ponyo slammed the door in his aged majestic face, almost trapping his drooping whiskers.
It was ironic that while the baby was still in his mother's womb, his parents had already announced that he was to be named him "Sireneo" - a combination of the word "Leo" that represented his paternal heritage and "Siren" that represented his mother. They felt doubly guilty that their son's name was mawkishly apt.
Sireneo was sensible and didn't blame his parents for his freakish looks, poor health, and complicated name that he had to almost always repeat twice whenever he was asked for it. He was okay with being a merlion really. He had a few good friends from school and work (he was the second son and not in line to inherit the throne) and generally lived meaningfully - going about his businesses and doing the things he wanted to do despite his poor health condition.
A few arapaimas and lionesses had crushes on him, but he expressed that he would rather be alone. His parents would secretly hope that he would one day fall in love so true that the love would too, move Ponyo to grant him the magic of transformation, but he never fell in love. When asked by them, he would shrug and reply, "some beings are like that" or "not everyone is like you two, always going on about love, blah, blah". Truthfully, he did not see the big deal about relationships, and was sick of being told of his parents' love stories; he usually thought to remain as a bachelor except for the rare occasions when he wondered if he just hadn't met the right person yet.