Q1. What does the swallow see when it flies over the city?
What did the swallow observe when he flew over the city?
- Flying over the city, the swallow saw the difference in the ways the rich and the poor lived. He saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at their gates.
- In the dark lanes, he saw the white faces of starving children looking out lifelessly. Two little boys were trying to keep each other warm by hugging close under the archway of a bridge and the watchman was telling them not to lie to them. Uncared for and unwanted, these boys wandered out into the rain. Thus, the swallow saw the same misery that made the Happy Prince weep.
Q2. Why do the courtiers call the prince ‘The Happy Prince’? Is he really happy? What does he see all around him?
Why was ‘Happy Prince’ not really happy?
- The courtiers call the prince the ‘Happy Prince’ because he lived a happy life during which no sorrow could enter his palace.
- However, the prince was not actually happy because he had never got the chance to witness the misery and plight of his people.
- By keeping him away from sorrow, his heart was never given a chance to feel the virtues of pity and compassion. So, when his statue was placed at a point from where he could see the city laid before him, he saw pain, hunger, want, and suffering all around. Even his lead heart could not help but weep at this site.
Q3. When and how did the Happy Prince realise the true meaning of life? What did this realisation prompt him to do?
- The Happy Prince had lived a very comfortable life and had not known any sorrow when he was alive. In fact, sorrow was not allowed to enter the palace where he lived. Thus, he was called the ‘Happy Prince’ by his ministers.
- However, after his death, his gold and jewel-studded statue were put up on a high column in the city.
- From here, the Happy Prince, like a statue, got to see the pain and miseries of the people. He then realised that ugliness and sufferings are the true faces of life. He felt that the misery suffered by humans was the greatest mystery and the plight of – men and women was more marvellous than the grandeurs of riches.
- He then started giving away his riches to the needy and tried to relieve them of the pain of poverty.
Q4. How did the swallow exhibit the values of unconditional love and devotion? ,
The swallow was to fly away to Egypt. Why did he decide to stay on with the Happy Prince? What does this act of his show about his character?
- The swallow happened to stop by at the city where the statue of the Happy Prince was placed.
- It was the sheer chance that he took shelter between the feet of the statue for just one night on way to Egypt, but stayed back till his last breath because he was moved by the Prince’s selfless love, kindness, and spirit of self-sacrifice.
- This act of the swallow shows the qualities of compassion, understanding, and helpfulness in his character. He helped the Prince by becoming his messenger and carrying the jewels from the statue to the seamstress, the playwright, and the match girl. He became a constant companion to the Prince after both the sapphires had been plucked out from his eye sockets.
- The swallow loved the Prince unconditionally and became his eyes by flying over the city and reporting the hardships and miseries of the people. He would faithfully follow all the orders of the Prince and carry the gold leaves from the statue and give them to the needy. Thus, the good values of the swallow helped him to remain a loving companion to the Prince till cold and hunger snatched away his life.
Q5. How did the Happy Prince discover true happiness? How did he spread it?
What the Happy Prince does as a statue should have been done by him when he was alive? Discuss.
- The Happy Prince had lived a very comfortable life as long as he lived. He had never seen sorrow as it was not allowed to enter his palace. Hence his courtiers called him the ‘Happy Prince’.
- However, after his death, his statue was put up on a high column and he got to see the miseries, sorrows, and sufferings of the people in his city and decided to do his bit to lessen them. That is when he discovered true happiness and from thereon he spread it by sacrificing all that he had.
- Example: He had the ruby in his sword hilt sent to a poor seamstress to help her get over poverty and buy food and medicines for her ailing son. Again, the Happy Prince sent one of his sapphire eyes to a poor playwright in need of warmth and food so that he could complete his play for a show. The other sapphire was sent to a matchgirl who was crying because her matches had fallen in a gutter and she feared her father would beat her for not bringing home any money. And whatever leaves of the fine gold the Prince had were distributed among the poor to bring them success.
- Thus, the Prince donated all that he had to end misery and poverty in the city. This is what he, and for that matter, any prince on the earth, should have done, for the true purpose of life is to be happy by spreading happiness.
Q6. Imagine you are the playwright who received the mystery gift of a sapphire. While passing by the statue you get to unravel the mystery when you overhear the general public and councillors discussing the dull statue of the Happy Prince. Write a diary entry expressing your gratitude to the Happy Prince and expressing your dismay at the council’s decision of pulling down the statue.
For days I have been trying to unravel the mystery of a precious sapphire I found at my desk a few days ago. I wondered who this admirer and saviour were. I wanted to personally thank him for his generous and timely help in saving my life and my career as a playwright.
The mystery got solved today when I was passing by the statue of the Happy Prince. A crowd of people, among them the Mayor and Town Councillors, were discussing how shabby and dull the statue looked without its ruby, sapphires and gold leaves. That is when I realized that the sapphire I had got was actually one of the eyes of the statue of the Happy Prince. That also explained how the poor and needy people in the city were mysteriously getting jewels and gold so that they could end their poverty and miseries. The Happy Prince with the help of the swallow – his noble companion – had brought so much happiness to the poor and downtrodden by sacrificing all he had.
It utterly dismayed me to hear of the council’s decision to pull down the statue because it looked nothing better than a dull, shabby beggar! How callous and ignorant the Mayor and the Councillors are!
However, I shall remain eternally grateful to the Happy Prince and the swallow, his faithful companion, and as a token of my gratitude to them, I am going to write and stage a play to highlight their exemplary sacrifices in bringing joy and happiness to the poor and needy people of the city.
May the soul of the Happy Prince and the swallow rest in eternal peace in the abode of God.
Q7. Why did the Happy Prince send a ruby to the seamstress?
- The Happy Prince was very kind. He saw the ugliness and misery of his city. He saw a small house.
- In this house there lived a poor woman. She was a seamstress. Her face was thin. She looked tired. Her hands were rough. There were needle marks on them. She was embroidering flowers on a satin gown.
- Her son was ill. He wanted to eat oranges. But the woman was very poor. She could not give him anything except the river water. She could not leave the town.
- The Queen’s maid had to wear it at the next court ball. The Happy Prince felt pity for the poor woman and his son. He wanted to help them. So he sent a ruby to her.
Q8. Why did the Happy Prince request the swallow to stay for another day?
- The Happy Prince was on a tall column. From there he could see the miseries of people. He wanted to help the poor. But he could not move.
- The Prince wanted to help a poor seamstress. He sent a ruby to her through the swallow, then the Prince saw a playwright. He was leaning on his desk. He was very handsome. His hair was brown and crisp. He was trying to finish a play.
- But he was feeling very cold. He had no firewood to keep himself warm. The Prince wanted to help him. He wanted to send one of the sapphires of his eyes to the young man. So he requested the swallow to stay for another day.
Q9. Describe the sufferings of poor people in the city. How did The Happy Prince help them?
- The poor people in the city were miserable. The Happy Prince saw their sorrows and sufferings.
- There was a poor seamstress. She was sad and tired. But she had nothing to give him except the river water.
- In another house, there lived a poor playwright. He had no wood to keep himself warm.
- There was a little match girl. She had no shoes or stockings.
- The Prince also saw the homeless and children. They were hungry and were shivering with cold. The Prince felt pity for them.
- He sent the ruby to the poor woman. He sent one sapphire each to the young man and the match girl. He sent all the gold of his body to these children. Now they could buy bread and be happy. Thus the Happy Prince helped the poor and sad people of his city.
Q10. What happened to the statue of the Prince and the swallow in the end?
- The swallow and the Happy Prince became friends. The swallow loved the Prince for his kindness. He decided not to go away.
- The Prince sent his ruby and the sapphires of his eyes to the poor people. He sent the gold of his body to the poor children.
- Now he was blind and ugly. Then winter came. The little swallow felt very cold. But he did not leave the Prince. One day, the swallow died. The leaden heart of the Prince broke in two.
- The next day, the statue was pulled down. It was melted in a furnace. But the leaden heart did not melt. It was thrown into a heap. The dead body of the swallow was also lying there. God sent his angel to bring the two most precious things from the city. The angel brought him the leaden heart of the Prince and the dead body of the swallow.
Q11. Draw a brief character sketch of the Happy Prince
- The Happy Prince was a statue. He stood on a tall pillar. He had two sapphires for his eyes. His body was covered with leaves of gold. There was a ruby in his sword hilt.
- When he was alive he was very happy. He did not know any sorrow or misery. People called him the Happy Prince.
- After his death, he was set on a high pillar. Now he could see poverty and misery all around him. His heart was filled with pity. He tried to help poor people.
- He sent the ruby to the poor seamstress. He sent the sapphires of his eyes to the playwright and the match girl. He sent the gold of his body to the poor and hungry children. He loved the swallow. When the swallow died his heart broke. Thus the Happy Prince was a kind and loving man.
Q12. Give a brief character sketch of the swallow.
- The little swallow plays an important role in this story. He was going to Egypt. His friends were waiting for him. But the Prince requested him to stay for one day more. He agreed.
- At the request of the Prince, he took the ruby to the seamstress. He took the sapphires of the Prince’s eyes to the young man and the poor girl. Now the Prince was blind. So he decided to stay with the Prince. The swallow had a kind heart. He fanned the son of the poor woman and gave him comfort.
- Then winter came. The swallow lived in the snow. He had only crumbs to eat. But he did not leave the Prince. One day the swallow died. But even death could not separate hint from the prince. The angel of God took the swallow and the Prince’s heart to paradise.
Q13. The little swallow was as noble as the Happy Prince. Describe how the swallow played an important role in helping the Happy Prince to carry out his noble deeds?
- Undoubtedly, the swallow was a kind bird. He wanted to go to Egypt with his friends. At first, when he rested between the feet of the Happy Prince, he had no feeling of helping others.
- His quality becomes obvious when we noticed tears in his eyes on seeing the Happy Prince’s heart aching. He discharged his duty with full loyalty and obedience.
- When he started living with the Prince, he became more sympathetic towards others. He had a deep sense of service. He helped the seamstress by bringing her a ruby and fanned the sick boy with his wings. He helped the playwright and the match girl too.
- He rejected his idea to go to Egypt when the Happy Prince became blind. In the end, he died and fell down at his feet.
Q14. The two most precious things in the city were the Happy Prince and the swallow. Do you agree? Explain.
- The two most precious things in the city were the leaden heart of the Happy Prince and the dead swallow. The Happy Prince had sacrificed his precious and beautiful things to serve humanity and helped the poor.
- The swallow fulfilled the wishes of the happy prince. He sacrificed his self-interest in going to Egypt. He carried gold and jewels to the suffering people. He remained with the prince in the bad weather also. He died at the prince’s feet. So, the angel was right when it took the leaden heart of the prince and the dead swallow to Heaven.
Q15. How did the Swallow show obedience as the greatest virtue of living things?
- The Swallow was a bird but he was very obedient. Whenever the Happy Prince requested the swallow to help the people who were in miserable condition, he obeyed the prince’s order.
- Gradually, he became affectionate with the prince and decided to stay with him. The Swallow became weak during the course of helping others. As long as he was alive, he was obedient to the Happy Prince. In fact, obedience was his greatest quality.
Q16. ‘Goodness can never be destroyed’. Do you agree? Illustrate with reference to the story “The Happy Prince”.
- Goodness is forever. The happy prince had goodness for all. He was moved by widespread poverty and misery. He gave his eyes, his gold, and jewels to the poor.
- When the swallow died at his feet, his heart was broken into two. The statue of the happy prince was no longer useful and beautiful. It was pulled down.
- When the statue was melted in a furnace, the leaden heart did not melt because goodness can never be destroyed. The prince and the swallow both were rewarded by God by providing them with a place in heaven.
Q17. ‘Good deeds always pay’. Do you agree? How were the Happy Prince and the swallow paid for their good deeds?
- Yes, good deeds are ever rewarding. In other words, good deeds always pay in one’s life. It is true that mortal life is meant to decay and death and good deeds make one immortal. In life, we get the utmost contentment and inner pleasure by doing some charitable act or by helping others.
- In the story, ‘The Happy Prince’, both the happy prince and the swallow were rewarded for their good deeds by God. They found a permanent place in heaven. The swallow will sing forever in the garden of paradise and the happy prince will live in the city of gold. Thus, the story teaches us to live a meaningful life by helping those who are in need.
Q18. The town mayor ordered the statue of the Happy Prince to be pulled down. How does this show the bad side of human nature and behaviour?
- This is a strange world. It presents shocking contrasts. Nothing succeeds like success here. So long you are powerful and strong you are respected and obeyed.
- In this dazzling world of wealth and riches, human feelings have no relevance. The statue of the Happy Prince was installed at the highest column in the most important square of the city. It was gilded all over with fine gold. His eyes had two bright sapphires and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.
- He was a symbol of power, beauty, and grandeur. The moment he lost his gold, sapphires, and the grand ruby, he became very ordinary, ugly, and useless. He was to be pulled down and melted in a furnace. The Mayor and the Town Counsellors are cruel and selfish.
Q19. True happiness is found only in making others happy. Comment with reference to the story ‘The Happy Prince’.
- There is fun, happiness, and the thrill of buying things for ourselves and enjoying life on your own but the real happiness gets from making others happy is far greater and deeper than any happiness.
- We can get them by doing things for others. There is a Chinese proverb, “Fragrance clings to the hand that gives roses”. The fragrance of happiness clings to the heart that spread happiness to others.
- In the story, the happy prince could not see the misery of people. He lived a comfortable life inside the palace and never saw the misery and ugliness of the people around him but in the form of the statue when he witnessed the pathetic condition of the poor he sacrificed all his precious things to serve the suffering humanity and got everlasting happiness in heaven.