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DETAILED SUMMARY OF THE STORY
A beautiful statue had been set up on a tall column high above the city. It was the statue of the Happy Prince. It was covered with gold. It had sapphires in its eyes and ruby on its sword-hilt.
The Happy Prince was always happy when he was alive. He lived in the palace of happiness. He did not know what tears were. So his courtiers called him the Happy Prince. After his death, his statue was set up so high that he saw the misery of his city all around and wept. He wanted to help his people but was helpless. His feet were tied to the pedestal. Still, he helped the needy people through a little bird.
One day, the Prince saw a swallow resting between his feet. He told the swallow that there was a poorhouse far away in a street. A poor woman lived there. Her little boy was lying ill. He had a fever and was asking for oranges. But the poor woman had no money to buy oranges. The Prince asked the swallow to pick out the ruby from his sword and take it to her. The swallow did as it was told and laid the ruby beside the poor woman. It also fanned the sick boy’s forehead with its wings.
Then the Prince saw a young man who lived in a garret. The young man was writing a play. But it was so cold that he couldn’t write any more. He had no firewood to keep himself warm. The Happy Prince asked the swallow to pick out the sapphire from his one eye and give it to the young man. The swallow began to weep. It did not want to make the Happy Prince blind of one eye. But the Prince commanded the swallow to do so. He gave away his sapphire so that the man could buy firewood and finish his play.
The next day, the Prince saw a match girl who had let her matches fall into a gutter. She was crying because her father would beat her if she did not take home some money. The Happy Prince asked the swallow to take the sapphire from his other eye and give it to the poor little girl. The swallow was not ready to do so because that would make the Prince completely blind. But the Prince forced the swallow to do as he desired. And when the little girl got the sapphire, she was very happy.
The Prince became blind now. So the swallow decided to stay with the Prince always. The Prince asked the swallow to fly over his city and tell him what he saw there. The swallow informed the Prince that the poor were leading a miserable life.
The Prince said to the swallow, “I am covered with fine gold. Take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to the poor.” The swallow picked leaf after leaf and took them to the poor people of the city. The poor children had now bread to eat. They laughed and played games in the street. Their faces grew rosier. But when all the gold was removed, the Prince looked very ugly. That winter, the poor swallow died of cold at the Prince’s feet. The Prince’s leaden heart broke when his beloved swallow died.
The next morning, the city Mayor passed that way and saw the statue that was looking very ugly. He ordered it to be pulled down. The statue was melted in a furnace but the broken lead heart would not melt. So it was thrown on a dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also lying.
God sent one of His Angels to the city. He asked the Angel to bring Him two most precious things from the city. The Angel took the leaden heart and the dead swallow to God.
God was very happy with the Angel. He said that the Angel had chosen rightly. He kept the swallow in His garden of Paradise. The Happy Prince was admitted in God ’s city of gold where he sang forever in praise of God.
The happy prince was a statue that stood above a tall column, high above the city. He was decorated with gold and jewels. One night, a swallow stopped by this city on his way to Egypt and decided to rest for a night at the feet of the statue. However, when he was preparing to go to sleep, drops of water fell on him, although the sky was clear. When the curious bird looked up, he was astonished to see the prince’s statue weeping. The swallow asked the statue the reason behind his tears and the statue told him his story how he used to be a Happy Prince and he knew no sorrow or tears. But now as a statue set up high he could see the ugliness and the misery of his city. This made him weep. The swallow was amazed to hear that the statue’s heart was made of lead but was too polite to make any personal remark. Meanwhile, the statue told the swallow that he could see a poor seamstress seated at a table from the open window of her house far away in a little street embroidering flowers on a satin gown for the Queen’s loveliest maid of honour. In the same room, her little boy was lying in a corner.
He had a fever and was asking his mother to give him oranges. Sadly, his mother was so poor that she could not give him anything but river water. The statue urged the swallow to take out the ruby from his sword hilt and give it to the poor seamstress. At first, the swallow refused but when the prince requested him to stay only for one night, the bird agreed on seeing his sad face. He picked out the great ruby from the Prince’s sword and flew to the seamstress as the messenger of the Happy Prince. On the way, he overheard a beautiful girl complaining to her lover about the delay by the seamstress in completing her ball-dance dress. Finally, he reached the poor woman’s house and laid the great ruby on the table beside the woman’s thimble and flew around the bed, fanning the boy’s forehead with his wings. This brought relief to the boy and he went off to a peaceful sleep. The swallow returned to the statue and reported all that he had done. He also remarked that he was feeling warm although it was actually quite cold. The prince told him that it was so because he had done a good deed. Next day the swallow flew to the river, had a bath and decided to leave for Egypt that night. He visited all the monuments and sat on top of the church steeple for a long time. When the moon came up, he flew back to the statue and told him that he was starting for Egypt. The Happy Prince urged him to stay for one more night. He wanted to help a young playwright who was trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre. It was too cold and he was unable to write further. There was no fire in the grate and he did not have any food either. The swallow asked if he should take another ruby to this writer. The prince sighed that he did not have any other ruby and so he urged the swallow to pluck out a sapphire from one of his eyes. He said that the writer would sell it and buy firewood and finish his play. The swallow began to weep and told the prince he could not tear away his eye. But the prince told the swallow to follow his command. Hence, the swallow plucked the prince’s eye and flew to the young writer and left the sapphire on the dried flowers on his table. The playwright was filled with joy and thought that the sapphire was a gift from one of his admirers. The next day, the swallow flew to the harbour and sat on the mast of a large ship watching the sailors at work. He cried loudly that he was going to Egypt but no one paid attention. He returned to the prince at night and said that he had come to say goodbye but the prince managed to convince the swallow to stay back. The Prince told the swallow that a little match girl was standing and crying in the square below. Her matches had fallen in the gutter and were all spoiled. Her father would beat her if she failed to take home some money. So the prince asked the swallow to pluck out his other eye and give it to that girl. On the prince’s insistence, the swallow plucked the second eye and flew swiftly to the matchgirl slipping the sapphire in the palm of her hand. The little girl exclaimed with joy on seeing the jewel and ran home laughing. The swallow returned and told the blind prince that now he would never leave him. The next day, the swallow sat on the prince’s shoulder all day and told him of what he had seen in other strange places. The prince listened to those marvellous things and then told the swallow that he wanted him to fly over his city and tell him about the misery and suffering of his people, too. So, the swallow flew over the great city and saw the rich enjoying their big houses while the poor were hungry and suffered. He flew back to the prince and told him all that he had seen. The prince suggested that the swallow should pluck the fine gold with which his statue had been covered and distribute it among the poor and hungry. Gradually, the leaves of gold that covered the prince were all gone and the statue looked dull and weathered. However, the poor children who had been given that gold was laughing and playing as they now had food.
Then came the cold winter and it started to snow. Each day, the swallow grew colder but did not leave the prince. He tried to survive by picking some crumbs outside the baker’s door and flap his wings to keep himself warm. But this could not go for long and one day the swallow realized that he was going to die. He gathered his strength and flew to the prince’s shoulder to bid him goodbye. The prince thought that the swallow was going to leave for Egypt and he said that it was a good decision. But the swallow told him that he was going to die and saying so he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips and fell down to death at his feet. At that moment a strange cracking sound was heard inside the statue – the lead heart of the statue had broken. The next morning, the Mayor of the city passed the statue while walking with the other Town Councillors. He noticed that the gold, ruby and sapphires were gone from the statue. He was even more shocked to find a dead bird at its feet. The statue looked shabby and useless, so the Mayor ordered to remove and melt it down. However, it proved impossible to melt the Happy Prince’s lead heart, which had to be thrown on to a garbage heap where the dead swallow lay. One day God sent one of His Angels to the city and asked him to bring two most precious things from there. The Angel chose the broken heart and the dead swallow. God was pleased with Angel’s choice and announced a place in His Paradise for the little bird and the Happy Prince.
The story is about the statue of a prince and a little swallow who sacrificed their lives in order to help the poor. There was a statue of a prince called the Happy Prince covered with gold, having sapphires for eyes and ruby in his sword. The Happy Prince could see the sufferings of the people in the city but was unable to move and help them. One day, a little swallow which was on his way to Egypt landed on the statue. The swallow found the statue weeping. He was very kind and full of pity. He asked the Happy Prince why he was crying. The Happy Prince told him that he could see the people in the city who were hungry. He wanted to help them and asked favour of the swallow. The Happy Prince helped a seamstress by sending his great ruby through the swallow. Then he requested the swallow to take out a sapphire from his eye and give it to a playwright who was about to faint because of hunger and cold. Another sapphire was sent to the match girl. Now the Happy Prince became blind. The swallow decided to stay with him forever and helped the poor by taking the gold off his body and give it to the poor. The weather had become extremely cold. The snow and the frost fell. The poor little swallow could not survive and die. At that moment, the leaden heart of the statue broke into two. Next morning, on the order of Mayor, the statue was pulled down and melted in a furnace at a factory but the (broken) leaden heart could not be melted. It was thrown in a dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also lying.
On the order of God, the angel carried two precious things from the city, leaden heart of the Happy Prince and dead swallow. God praised the angel for the right choice. God said that the little bird would sing forever in his garden of Paradise and the Happy Prince would praise him in his city of gold.