Ursula was born to King Poseidon and his unnamed wife, Ursula is named after a sea goddess of the same name. As a child, she is taught to sing from her mother, who used to sing at Glowerhaven. After her mother is killed by a pirate, Poseidon holds a grudge against humans, and he makes his daughter lure sailors at sea to their doom with her singing voice. Ursula complies, nearly killing the crew aboard the Jolly Roger, but she lets them go at the last moment. While Poseidon is disappointed in her actions, she argues that her singing is the only memento of her mother, and doesn't wish to use her gift to harm others. At her insistence that not all humans are bad, he orders her to obey his wishes as long as she lives in his kingdom. She rebels, stealing a magic bracelet from his vault, which gives her human legs. With plans of going to Glowerhaven, she begins singing at a pub to earn gold for the trip. After Ursula captivates an audience with her voice, Hook, captain of the Jolly Roger, befriends her and offers to take her to Glowerhaven. However, she later learns from Hook that her father asked him to trap her singing voice within an enchanted shell in exchange for squid ink, which he desires for vengeance against an evil man. Instead, Ursula steals the ink from Poseidon's vault for him just as her father arrives to take the procured item away. Angered that his only hope of revenge has been crushed, Hook removes Ursula's singing voice so Poseidon can never use his daughter to sink another ship again. Shattered at this betrayal, Ursula decides she no longer wants to be a mermaid and uses her father's trident to transform her tail into tentacles.