The Happy Prince – Summary

The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde.

Summary

The happy prince was a beautiful statue on a tall column in the city. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold. He had sapphires for eyes and a ruby on his sword hilt.

One night there flew over the city a little swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt. All day long he flew, and at night time he arrived in the city. He alighted just between the feet of the statue of the Happy Prince. When he was trying to sleep, a few drops of water fell on him. But to his surprise he didn’t find a single cloud in the sky. Then he noticed that the statue of Happy Prince was weeping.

Happy Prince told the swallow that in a house there was a poor seamstress having needle marks on her hands. Her little son was lying ill and she had no money to buy food or other thing for her son. So the Prince requested the swallow to bring out the ruby of his sword hilt so that the poor woman could bring oranges for her son. After putting the ruby on the table and fanning its wings on boy’s forehead, it came back to the Prince.

The next day, the swallow wanted to go to his friends but prince requested it to stay with him that night. In the night the Prince told the swallow that there was a young man in a garret. He was trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he was too cold to write any more as there was no fire in the grate and hunger had made him faint. Now the Prince ordered the swallow to pluck out one sapphire from his eye and give it him. The swallow did the same.

The next night, the Prince told him to take away the second sapphire to help a poor match girl. Thus the prince had become blind so the swallow decided to stay with the Prince for ever. Now the Prince ordered the swallow to fly over the city and tell him what it found there. Then Prince told the swallow to take off the golden leaves one by one for the poor. Now after taking off all golden leaves the Prince looked very dull and grey but the children’s faces grew rosier as they were happy.

Because of too much cold the swallow died after kissing the Prince. The leaden heart of Prince broke into two pieces. After some days the mayor of the city ordered the statue to be pulled down and melted it in a furnace. But the leaden heart of the prince didn’t melt so it was thrown in a dust heap where the dead swallow was also lying.

God sent his angel to bring him the two most precious things from the city and he took the dead swallow and the leaden heart of the Happy Prince. God appreciated the choice and told him that these two things were fit for the paradise.

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