The story “The Happy Prince” is an exciting children’s folktale written by Oscar Wilde. The story opens with the narrator describing a beautiful statue. The statue was known as “Happy Prince” because he always remained cheerful when he was alive. After his death, his subjects erected a beautiful statue on a high platform overlooking the city. The statue was placed there in the memory of the Happy Prince. The statue was also covered with tiny layers of gold, and instead of eyeballs, two beautiful, gleaming sapphire stones were used. A gorgeous ruby stone was also embedded in the handle of his sword.
shutterstock_1492996355 (1).jpg

The narrator then introduced another character to his readers: swallow (a tiny bird). He said that one night a swallow flew over the city. The bird was alone because all of his friends had gone to Egypt six weeks before. Although the swallow is not a human being, the narrator addresses it as “he” and “his”. The swallow did not go with his friends because he fell in love with a lovely river Reed (a tall, slender-leaved plant of the grass family that lives in water or on marshy terrain). When his friends found out about his interest in river Reed, they advised him to quit his relationship with Reed and accompany them to Egypt. Their warning was based on the fact that the Reed would disappear once autumn arrived.
A swallow flying over the city
However, the swallow did not listen to his friends. Unfortunately, what his friends said had happened. After being rejected by the “Reed,” he considered leaving the city and returning to Egypt. Later, the swallow started flying to Egypt. At night, he reached the city of the Happy Prince, and he wanted to stay somewhere in the city. The bird said that hopefully, the town had made some arrangements for him to stay. The statement is humorous because the swallow believed he would get a better place in the big city.
River reed
While thinking about where to sleep, the swallow saw the huge statue of the Happy Prince standing on the high platform. Then he thought that it was a good place for spending the night. The place was covered with plenty of fresh air. So, the bird came near the feet of the statue of the Happy Prince. When he sat between the happy prince's feet and glanced about, he noticed that he was surrounded by gold. It denotes that the statue is gold-plated. Later he said to himself that he had a bedroom made of gold. He tucked his head under his wing as he was about to fall asleep. At that moment, a huge drop of water fell on his body.
Cattleya2017 Shutterstock (1).jpg
A statue was erected on a high platform
While seeing the drop of water fell on his body, the swallow said, "What a curious thing!" He made the statement since there were no clouds in the sky. Also, the stars in the sky appeared bright and clear. Generally, while raining, the sky would be covered with dark clouds, and as well it was impossible to see the stars in the sky. While the bird was thinking about the first raindrop, another drop fell on him.
Later, the bird said that if the statue couldn't stop the rain from falling, what was the use of it. It means that the bird considered resting between the statue's feet to keep him warm and help him survive the cold. Even though the swallow remained beneath the statue, two droplets fell on him. It made him think that the statue was useless because it couldn't keep the rain off. As a result, he believed he would be unable to sleep beneath the statue. So he thought that it would be best if he found shelter in a chimney pot. Then he decided to fly away from the place.
Chimney pot
Before the bird started to open his wings to fly, the third drop of water fell on him. Then the narrator exclaimed and said, "Ah! What did he see". When the swallow raised his head, he noticed the statue's eyes were filled with tears. These drips of water were the teardrops dropping from the prince's golden cheeks. When the swallow glanced at it, the face of Happy Prince seemed lovely in the moonlight. On seeing the weeping face of the statue, the little bird's heart filled with empathy. Later, the swallow questioned him about who he was. After hearing the swallow's question, the statue replied that he was 'Happy Prince'.
After knowing the statue was "Happy Prince," the swallow asked him why he shed tears. The reason behind the statement was that the statue introduced him as "Happy Prince, so the swallow thought he would be a cheerful prince. In addition, the swallow said that the Happy Prince had wet him thoroughly with his tears.
Later, the Happy Prince narrated his story to the swallow. The Happy Prince stated that while he was alive and had a human heart, he had no idea what tears and sorrow were because he lived in a palace where bliss was all around him. His courtiers used to call him Happy Prince since he was always cheerful and had never known grief. Furthermore, he said that he only lived and died in happiness.
After the death of the Happy Prince, people erected his statue at a point where he could see the entire city and its ugliness. He could see many people suffering from lack of food, hunger, money, and homelessness. The Happy Prince then confessed that his heart was made of lead and that all he could do was cry. It indicates that he was unable to help the people after witnessing their difficulties.
When the swallow learned that the statue's heart was made of lead, he said to himself, "What!" Isn't he pure gold?' The sentence implies that the bird initially thought that the statue was entirely made of gold. When he came to know that the statue's heart was made of lead, the swallow realised that only the outer portion of the statue was wholly covered with gold. After learning the truth, the bird made no personal remarks. He didn’t say anything about the statue because the swallow valued the feelings of the statue.

Later the statue continued to narrate the story of a poor woman in a low melodic voice. The statue said that far away in a small street, there was a poor woman’s house. One of the windows was open, and through that, the statue could see her sitting near a table. The woman looked exhausted and had a lean face because she was working hard. Her work was to sew clothes. While she was sewing the clothes, the needle had pierced her finger. As a result, her hands looked red.
Then the statue said that the woman was embroidering flowers on a gown of the Queen’s maid who would walk along with the Queen during the next Court ball. The statue said that the poor lady, who was embroidering the gown, had a little child who was not feeling well. The little boy was suffering from fever, and he asked his mother to give him oranges. His mother was a poor woman, and she didn’t have any money. The small boy was crying since she could only feed him with water. They didn’t have good water to drink, and so she was giving her son river water. It shows the poverty of the family. As a result, the statue of the Happy Prince asked the swallow to remove the ruby stone from the handle of its sword and hand it over to the lady. Later, the statue went on to say that he couldn’t move from the pedestal because his feet were fixed on the platform.
A poor woman embroidering the dress

After hearing the statue’s concern, the swallow replied that he had to go to Egypt because his friends were waiting for him. In addition, he said that his friends were flying along the Nile River, conversing with the enormous lotus flowers that had flourished there. Also, he said that they were about to fall asleep. It means that the birds tend to sleep much longer during the winter. Therefore, the swallow needed to go to Egypt as soon as possible.
The statue asked the swallow to stay with him for one night. He urged him to act as his messenger and help him. The statue made the statement because the poor mother was sad, and her son felt very thirsty. She had no money to feed her son. So the statue asked the swallow to give the ruby to the poor woman.
On the other hand, the swallow did not want to help the poor woman. He had two reasons for not helping them. One was that he did not like boys, and the other was he had to go to Egypt. The bird hated the boys because one day, two boys had thrown stones at him while he was sitting near a river.
After hearing the swallow's statement, the statue became worried. When the swallow saw the dull face of the statue, he felt sorry. Later, the swallow said that the place was very cold, but he agreed to stay with him for one night and complete the task given by the Happy Prince. Then he thanked the swallow for its gentleness. Finally, the swallow took the ruby from the Happy Prince's sword, carried it in his beak and flew away over the roofs of the town.
Then the swallow flew over the cathedral tower. Cathedral is a church, and white marble angels were sculpted on the church's tower. After crossing the church, he arrived at the palace. While he was flying over the palace, the swallow heard the sound of people dancing in the palace. Later, he saw a beautiful girl who had come with her lover to the palace balcony. The girl said to his lover that she hoped that the gown she had handed to the seamstress would be ready on time for wearing it in the State ball. Also, she said that she had ordered the seamstress to embroider the dress with flowers. After conveying everything to her lover, she added that seamstresses are so lazy.
From the above statement, one can understand the differentiation between the rich and poor. Even though the seamstresses were working hard, the girl said that those people were lazy. The girl failed to notice the goodness in the poor people and made a rough statement about the poor people.
When the bird flew over the river, ships came along the way. The bird saw lanterns hanging on their sails. Finally, the bird reached the woman’s house and looked at the boy. The boy was suffering from fever, and so he was unable to have a pleasant sleep. As a result of it, he moved about from side to side on his bed. On the other hand, his mother had fallen asleep because she was very tired due to working for a long time.
shutterstock_1196486560 (1).jpg
A lantern in a ship
Later, the swallow put the ruby stone on the table near the thimble (a small cover, usually made of metal or plastic, worn to protect the finger that pushes the needle when sewing). After keeping the ruby stone on the table, the swallow went near the boy as his mother was sleeping and no one cared for him. Then the swallow shook its wings near his head, because of which the boy felt the cool air and felt better. Soon, the boy fell asleep. Even though the bird thought that he didn’t like boys, while seeing the condition of the poor boy, the swallow helped him. With this incident, we can understand that the swallow was a kind-hearted bird.
Poor boy has fallen asleep

The swallow flew back and went to the statue of Happy Prince and told him what he had done. Later, the swallow said that he felt warm though the place was cold. Then the prince said that the swallow was feeling warm because he had done a good deed. It means the swallow had helped the people in need. After listening to the Happy Prince, the swallow started thinking, and when he started thinking, he felt sleepy. The following day, the bird went to the river, took a bath, and thought he would go to Egypt that night. He was delighted because he hoped that very soon he was going to meet his friends. Later, the swallow visited all the monuments of the city, and finally, he went and sat on the high tower of the church.
When the night arrived, the moon rose in the sky. It was time for the swallow to leave the city. So he went to Happy Prince and asked him whether he had to do any work while going to Egypt. Also, he said that he was going to start his journey. At that time, Happy Prince requested swallow to stay with him for one more night. Later, the swallow replied that he needed to go to Egypt because his friends waited for him.
Then the Happy Prince repeated, “Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow”. He told the swallow about a man who was staying far away, across the city. The man was living in a small room at the top of a house. He was lying over a desk on which the papers were spread all over. And there was a glass nearby him in which the withered flowers were lying. Then Happy Prince described the young man to the swallow. He said that his hair was brown and crisp, which meant that he had not taken a bath for a long time. His lips were red like a pomegranate, and he had big dreamy eyes. It means that the man was very ambitious and hardworking.
Papers spread all over the place

Furthermore, the Happy Prince said that the man was trying to write a play. And he had to give the play to the director after writing it. But he did not have the strength to write anymore because he was feeling very chill. The man had no money to put fire in his fireplace and also felt very hungry. Due to it, the man became very fragile.
Later, the swallow understood what Happy Prince was trying to tell him. He knew that Happy Prince wanted to help the young man. So he agreed to stay back for one more night. The swallow had a good heart, and so he thought of helping the prince. And further, the swallow asked Happy Prince whether he wanted to take another ruby and handover it to the young man.
Then the Happy Prince exclaimed that he had no ruby with him. He had already given it to the poor woman. Then he told the swallow that what he had was only the two eyes. Those two eyes were made of precious and rare sapphires. The sapphires were brought from outside India thousands of years ago. He ordered the swallow to pluck one of the eyes and give it to the young man. Then he said that the man would sell the sapphire to the jeweller and buy firewood woods, and he would finish the play. As a result, Happy Prince instructed the swallow to take the sapphire from one of his eyes and present it to the young man. When the swallow learned that the Happy Prince wished to donate one of his eyes to the young man, he began to mourn. He informed Happy Prince that he was unable to do so.
On the other hand, the Happy Prince told the swallow to do what he had told him to do. Finally, the swallow plucked out one of the eyes of the Happy Prince and flew to the young man's garret. The roof of the room had a hole in it. As a result, the swallow swooped into the room via that gap. The youngster was sitting with his head buried in his hands, and so he didn't hear the bird's wing flutter. Later, when the man looked up, he saw the beautiful sapphire lying on the dried petals.

When the young man saw the beautiful stone, he thought that some admirer, or some person who praised him, had sent him a gift. So, he thought that with this, he could finish his play. It means that the sapphire would help him to get rid of his hunger. The following day, the swallow flew down to the harbour and sat on a mast of a ship. He spoke loudly that he was going to Egypt. But nobody minded the swallow because the human beings did not know the good deeds done by the sorrow. And when it was night, he flew back to Happy Prince.
shutterstock_1197190672 (1).jpg
A swallow in the harbour
Swallow informed Happy Prince that it was time to bid goodbye. After hearing the swallow’s farewell, Happy Prince requested him to stay with him for one more night. The swallow informed the Happy Prince that the winter season had begun and would snow after some time. The weather in Egypt was hot, and even the crocodiles were lounging in the dirt. As a result, he advised him to allow the Happy Prince to travel to Egypt.
After hearing that, the Happy Prince claimed that there lived a small girl whose matchsticks had fallen into the gutter (sewage) and gotten wet. So she couldn’t sell her match sticks since they were all spoiled, and she wouldn’t be able to make any money. If she returns home without money, her father would become enraged and beat her. While thinking about the situation, the girl started crying.
shutterstock_1492996355 (1).jpg
A crying poor girl
Furthermore, Happy Prince said that the little girl was not wearing shoes or stockings and had not covered her head. She was very poor. So he told the swallow to take out his other eye. In addition, he asked the swallow to give it to her so that her father doesn't beat her. The bird agreed to stay with him for one more night, but he refused to take out another sapphire because if he did that, then Happy Prince would be blind. Later, the Happy Prince told the swallow to do what he had ordered him.
At last, the swallow obeyed the Happy Prince’s order. The bird took another stone from the Prince’s eyes and flew near the little girl. When the bird saw the little girl, he bent very low and put the sapphire stone on the little girl’s hand. On seeing the sapphire, the little girl felt delighted and ran home happily.
When swallow came to the Happy Prince, he said he would stay with the Prince forever because he became blind. But Happy Prince asked the swallow to go to Egypt. Swallow refused and said he would stay with him, and he slept between the Prince’s feet. The swallow stayed along with Happy Prince and narrated the stories of the different places he had visited. The Happy Prince told the swallow to tell him wonderful things but added that nothing was more remarkable than people’s suffering. He wanted to know who was sad in his kingdom, and so he asked the bird to go and let him know what he saw while flying over his city. Later, the swallow flew over the city and saw that the rich lived happily in their beautiful houses and were partying.
On the other hand, the poor people were sitting outside the gates and begging. The bird went to the dark lanes with no light where the poor people lived. Then the swallow saw that the children were hungry, due to which their faces had turned white and pale.
Furthermore, the bird saw two little boys lying in each other’s arms under the bridge's archway. The two boys were lying close to each other to keep themselves warm. It suggests that the children were unable to bear the chillness.
Later, the two boys said that “How hungry we are!". Just then, a watchman came and scolded them for being there. The watchman shouted and made them go away from there. The poor children kept wandering in the rain as they were homeless. After noticing everything, the swallow went back to Happy Prince and told him what he had seen in the city. After hearing that, the Happy Prince told swallow that his whole body was covered with fine leaves of gold. So he could take tiny pieces of gold from his body and give them to the poor people. All living beings require money, and when they get gold, they will feel happy.
Slowly, the bird took out the thin gold layers from the statue of Happy Prince, and as he removed the layers of the gold, the Happy Prince’s statue started looking dull and grey. As the statue of Happy Prince started becoming dull and grey, the children grew happier because they were getting food to eat through it.
Later, the place started snowing, and when a lot of snow fell, everything began to freeze. As it was a colder season, everyone was wearing clothes made of fur. In addition, small children were wearing red coloured caps and were roaming here and there. They were skating on the ice. Then the bird felt very cold, but he kept on sitting near the Happy Prince’s statue.
The swallow did not like to leave the Happy Prince because he loved the Prince. The swallow goes to the bakery (as a daily routine), where the baker bakes the bread. He picked up the bread crumbs from outside the shop when the baker was not noticing him. Then he tried to keep himself warm by flapping his wings. Later, the swallow realised that he was going to die because of the cold weather. Also, he thought that he had only enough strength to fly back to the statue of Happy Prince.
Then the swallow came near to the Happy Prince to say Goodbye. Meanwhile, the swallow asked the Prince, “Will you let me kiss your hand?" After hearing that, the Prince said that he was happy that the swallow was going to Egypt. Then Happy Prince said to the swallow that it had stayed with him for a very long time, and now, it was his time to go to Egypt. Happy Prince wanted the bird to kiss its lips instead of the hands because the statue loved the bird. The swallow said to the Happy Prince that he was not going to Egypt; instead, he was going to the house of death. Here the bird meant “House of Death”, which means he was going to die. Also, he said that he was going to meet the "brother of Sleep". At last, the swallow kissed the Happy Prince on his lips and fell at the feet of Happy Prince and died.
When the swallow died at the Prince's feet, an unusual sound came out from the big statue. It was the sound of the breaking of the statue's heart made of lead. It is said that the heart was so frigid that it split in two. Also, the reason for the cracking of the statue was because of the heavy frost.
The following day, the Mayor of the city and his councillors were taking a round of the area where the statue of Happy Prince was erected, and when he crossed the statue and looked up at it, he said that the statue of Happy Prince seemed untidy. The councillors generally agreed with whatever the Mayor said, so they asserted that the statue looked untidy. After looking at the statue, the Mayor said that the ruby placed in the sword's handle was missing, the sapphires from the statue's eyes were also missing, and the layer of the gold from its body was also missing.
The Mayor said that it seemed like it was a beggar statue, and the town councillors agreed with him. The Mayor found that a dead bird was lying near the feet of the statue. Then he told the town councillors to pass an order that birds were not allowed to die at the statue's feet, and the town clerk noted the suggestion given by him. The Art Professor of the University said that the Happy Prince's statue did not look beautiful and was not valid anymore, so they should demolish it. So they decided to melt it. At last, they melted the statue, which was made of lead, in a furnace. The supervisor of the foundry noticed a strange thing.
The heart of the Happy Prince's statue, broken into two pieces, was not melting in the furnace. So, they threw it in the dust heap. Coincidentally, people threw the heart of the Happy Prince where the dead bird was already lying. Later, in heaven, God asked one of his Angels to bring him the two most precious things in the city. Then the Angel brought the heart of the statue and the dead swallow bird. After seeing the heart of the two, God said that the Angel had brought the right thing. The Angel had chosen the right things, which were indeed the most precious things of the city. At last, God said that the bird would always sing in his Paradise garden, and the Happy Prince would stay in his city of gold and admire him.