Tuesday 8 August 2023

The Happy Prince

The Happy Prince

                  By Oscar Wilde


·       The story ‘The Happy Prince’ written by Oscar Wilde is a beautiful message of kindness, compassion and charity to the humanity.

·       It is the story of a prince who was happy throughout his life but when his statue was raised after his death, he could see all the misery, poverty and ugliness around him. Now, Happy Prince was no longer happy.

·       Happy Prince and swallow true examples of true friendship, selfless love, kindness and noble spirit of sacrifice.

·       The story highlights that the worth of such kind, helpful and self sacrificing people is only understood by God and they are appreciated and valued in the kingdom of God only.

Summary /  Synopsis

This story is about a prince who was called the Happy Prince because he was always happy throughout his life and didn't know what the sorrow was. But, the things changed after his death. His happiness disappeared with his last breath.
After his death, his courtiers erected statue in the middle of the town. His statue was covered with gold leaves. Two precious sapphire stones were placed in place of eyes. A ruby stone was guilded in the handle of his sword.
The statue looked so beautiful that it enhanced the charm and magnificence of the town. But, sadly the soul of the prince captivated in the magnificent statue was not happy.
The statue was placed so high that from there, he could see misery of poverty of his people living in the town. These sights made the prince feel helpless and suffer. He used to weep to see the pitiable condition of his people.
One day a swallow bird was on its way to Egypt to meet its friends. Feeling tired it decided to rest and sat at the feet of the statue was on its way. Suddenly, the bird realised that the statue wasn't able to protect it from rain. Later, it got to know that the statue was weeping. The prince told the reason of his misery and requested the bird to help his people by becoming its messenger. The bird agreed to help and took the ruby stone out of the sword hilt and delivered it to a poor seamstress was tired and hungry and her son was sick and hungry. Poor seamstress didn't have anything for his food and medicine, except for river water. The gift of ruby was a great help.

The next morning, swallow wanted to continue his journey and went to seek the permission of the prince, he requested him to stay for one more day and help a playwright by giving him one of the sapphires from the statue’s eyes. The playwright was required to write a play but he didn't have coal to keep himself warm. Next day the bird was requested by the prince to remove the second sapphire for a poor match girl who had dropped all her matches in the gutter and couldn't earn anything. Her father would beat her for the mistake. 

The bird was too sad to see the prince blind and helpless. He couldn't see anything and swallow decided to help the prince by being with him. The weather gradually was becoming severely cold and the bird also had developed an emotion of love for the prince who now asked the bird to go around the city and tell him the condition of his people in the town. The bird told him that the rich were making merry while the poor were starving. The happy prince ordered the bird to remove the gold covering from his statue and distribute them among the needy and the destitute.

After some time the poor kids grew rosier and the people became joyous as they had enough to eat whereas the prince lost all the covering of gold and became dull and grey. The swallow was now unable to bear the extreme cold weather and realised that his death was approaching. It bid the statue final goodbye by kissing him on his lips. As the bird died and fell at the statue’s feet, a painful sound was heard; it was the sound of his broken heart.

When the Mayor was taking round of the city, he saw the ugly statue and ordered his councillors to pull down the statue. When the statue was being melted in the furnace, the heart did not melt and was thrown in the garbage. It happened to fall near the swallow’s dead body.

In the garden of Eden God asked the Angels to bring him two most precious things from the earth. The angels took the dead swallow and the broken heart and presented to God as the most precious things from earth.

Message from the story

The story imparts us a beautiful message that kindness, compassion and charity are the finest virtues. The write also emphasises that the worth of such kind, helpful and self-sacrificing people is only understood by God and they are appreciated and valued in the kingdom of God only. The people like Mayor and his councillors discard such kind people as worthless.

The story also gives a beautiful message of selfless love and friendship. Happy Prince and swallow true examples of true friendship, selfless love and noble spirit of sacrifice.

Irony in the title

The title of the story ‘The Happy Prince’ is ironical. The Prince was happy only in his lifetime just because he was kept away from all the miseries of life and ugliness of this world. The statue of Happy Prince was never happy, rather it was the saddest soul in the city.