Wood nymphs are playing in the moonlight. They call out to the water goblin Vodník, who is the water nymph Rusalka’s father. He emerges from the water and attempts to lure them to the bottom. The wood nymphs elude his grasp and tease him before running off. Rusalka emerges from the water and begs Vodník to listen to her. It shocks him that she is unhappy beneath the water, and that she longs to become human. She reminds him that he has told her of humans’ souls, and of how those souls rise to heaven after death. Rusalka has felt irresistibly drawn to a prince who has come to the lake to swim; she was invisible to him when she held him in her arms. Now she is desperate to be a woman, so that she can experience his love.